Software giant Microsoft and number-three U.S. mobile phone operator Sprint have entered into an agreement which will put Microsoft’s Windows Live Search onto Sprint mobile phones. The move marks the Redmond giant’s first major push into the mobile search arena, which to this point has been dominated by rivals Google and Yahoo.
“In recent years the search box has fundamentally changed the way people interact with the Internet, but we have only just begun to scratch the surface for what search and live Internet services can do in the mobile space,” said Steve Berkowitz, senior VP of Microsoft’s Online Services Group. “Today’s announcement is a positive step forward in enhancing the mobile search experience for consumers and advertisers alike, by putting locally relevant information in the hands of consumers. And with Sprint’s strong history of enabling Internet services on phones and Microsoft’s expertise in delivering software plus services, we are excited about the opportunities this alliance can bring to further promote live services across devices that help people get the information they want, when they want it, where they are.”
The new search offering offers keyword- and phrase-based searching across all of Sprint’s content offerings (wallpapers, ringtones, applications, etc.) as well information about businesses near the user’s location plus news and sports information.
The service will also proffer up “relevant” advertisements in response to user searches. Microsoft and Sprint will split revenue generated from the advertising.
Microsoft Live Search for Mobiles combines Windows Live Local Search features (like maps and directions) with information on local businesses and restaurants, as well as other location-based content. Location-based offerings require users to enter their ZIP code, address, or city and state; future versions of the service may ask users for permission to automatically determine the user’s location and find businesses that match their search.
The new search functionality is immediately available at no cost to existing Spring PCS Vision and Sprint Power Vision subscribers with data-capable phones.
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