Strategic alliance aims to cut through wires

Microsoft and AT&T Wireless today announced the formation of a strategic alliance that aims to simplify the way companies provide integrated wireless data services to their employees.

AT&T Wireless and Microsoft have developed and will distribute end-to-end solutions for Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PCs, Smartphones and laptops. These solutions are designed to provide wireless access to e-mail, information and applications behind corporate firewalls.

In addition, AT&T Wireless plans to be the first wireless carrier to offer new enterprise-grade Microsoft .NET location-based services for mobile users on both laptops and Pocket PCs, using MapPoint .NET mapping and location services and the .NET Compact Framework.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft and AT&T Wireless will collaborate on solution development, joint sales and account planning, and marketing activities.

The two companies said they have been working together for several months, and they are in the late stages of product development.

Customer trials are currently under way, and the companies plan to launch their first set of services and devices powered by Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition software commercially in the fourth quarter of this year.