Microsoft, Vodafone To Do EU Wireless Email

At the 3GSM World Congress 2006, software titan Microsoft and cell phone giant Vodafone announced a foray into wireless email solutions for European business with the launch of Windows Mobile Email from Vodafone.

Beginning in March, 2006, Vodafone will begin marketing to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) a series of Windows Mobile 5.0 devices in France, Germany, and the U.K. with “Direct Push” technology. The devices and service are scheduled to become available in other countries throughout 2006.

Windows Mobile Email from Vodafone will enable users to synchronize email and tasks directly with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, as well as handle Microsoft Word and Excel documents using Windows Mobile versions of Microsoft’s flagship Office applications.

“We are delighted to be working with Vodafone to deliver a mobile messaging solution for a diverse range of business customers,” said Pieter Knook, senior VP of Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices Division and Communications Sector. “It’s an exciting time for companies that are now realizing the true business potential of mobile solutions for both the business and for their employees. Our combined teams are focused on delivering the most compelling and innovative mobile solutions to meet these customer demands.”

“Windows Mobile Email is a simple, security-enhanced and easy to set up service which enables customers to remain productive, responsive and organized when out of the office,” said Peter Bamford, Vodafone’s chief marketing officer. “Windows Mobile Email from Vodafone delivers a mobile e-mail service which seamlessly extends the Microsoft Office desktop environment and rapidly captures the benefits for business that mobile e-mail brings.”

The move marks a strong push into the mobile email market for businesses, a segment where Canada’s patent-plagued Research In Motion has been seeing considerable success with their much-loved BlackBerry devices and service. But Microsoft has a strong foothold: according to Gartner market research, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 lead the server software market last year with almost half of all global sales, so mobile solutions which work as seamlessly as possible with Exchange