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Microsoft, Sprint Enter "Holistic Relationship"

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-11-16

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Strategic alliances seem to be all the rage these days. Yahoo and Vodafone (a telecommunications company that owns a big chunk of Verizon) formed one earlier this week, and now Microsoft has reached a similar agreement with Sprint. The companies plan to "drive new services" together, the first of which will be Windows Live search for mobile phones.

Mark Schweitzer, the chief marketing officer at Sprint, made a statement about the Microsoft-Sprint deal. "Microsoft and Sprint share a vision that mobility is about helping customers access the information they need while on the go. The new alliance will deliver on that vision for consumers and businesses," he said.

"By adding Windows Live Search for mobile to Sprint devices," Schweitzer continued, "customers now carry with them a depth of relevant local search information, in addition to quick and easy access to their favorite Sprint content. Microsoft's innovation in search and advertising makes them a logical choice for us to work with to realize this vision."

As Greg Stirling indicates, the details of the strategic alliance aren't well understood - how Microsoft's relationships with Superpages.com and Ingenio might affect the deal remains unclear, for example. But Stirling, and other spectators, seems to feel that Microsoft has made an important step forward.

A StartupSquad article states that "having the Windows Live search application pre-installed on Sprint phones does give Microsoft an advantage." The Redmond-based company may want to hold off on the celebrations, though, because "user acceptance will be highly dependent on the results provided by Windows Live search."

Susan Nelson, Sprint's vice president of strategic alliances, described what else might come as a result of Microsoft's and Sprint's relationship. "Besides mobile search for the consumer, our business customers are benefiting significantly from the ease and enhanced functionality of Windows Mobile 5.0 as well as robust managed security solutions based on Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services," she said.

Nelson added, "This holistic relationship aligns our companies in joint development, marketing and sales efforts, which allows us to move quickly to combine our expertise and deliver innovative solutions to our customers."

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