Mobile e-mail by end of year

Ericsson and Microsoft have launched Ericsson Microsoft Mobile Venture AB, a joint company that will develop and market mobile e-mail solutions for operators. The first solutions will be on the market by the end of the year. The company is part of a broader strategic alliance between Ericsson and Microsoft.

Preparations for the joint company have been ongoing for the past months. A management team is now in place, recruitment has begun, and operations are running. Further, the EU Commission has reported that the formation of the joint company will not be subject to EC merger review filing, which means that the legal entity can be formed.

Ericsson Microsoft Mobile Venture AB is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and will have regional centres around the world. Ulf Avrin from Ericsson is president of the company. Ericsson and Microsoft will hold 70 and 30 percent share in the company respectively.

The company will develop solutions, based on Ericsson’s and Microsoft’s products that enable mobile operators to offer secure mobile e-mail to both corporate and consumer customers. The solutions will also include calendar, to-do lists and other personal information management tools, and will provide professional users with full mobile access to corporate data.

The first solutions are expected to be commercially available for mobile operators by the end of 2000. The solutions will integrate Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft Exchange platforms with Ericsson’s infrastructure and mobile Internet technologies. The company will provide solutions for mobile operators’ existing networks. Ericsson and Microsoft will sell the solutions to operators worldwide, which gives the Mobile Venture a strong global customer reach. Ericsson and Microsoft are already co-operating with some of the largest mobile operators in Europe.

Ericsson estimates that mobile phones and other mobile devices will surpass consumer PCs as the main Internet tool by 2003, and that the number of Internet subscribers will reach 1 billion by 2005. Today, e-mail is one of the most important Internet applications, with more than 435 million e-mail boxes in use.

The alliance between the two also includes co-operation on the use of the Microsoft Mobile Explorer browser for Ericsson’s feature phones, licensing of Ericsson’s WAP technology for use in Microsoft’s solutions, and distribution of Microsoft Outlook together with applicable Ericsson phones.

As part of the co-operation, the two companies also work jointly to support open standards and new technologies such as Bluetooth, WAP and UpnP (Universal Plug & Play).