Microsoft and 3 Group have signed an agreement which will see Microsofts MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail services delivered to 3 customers through the 3 portal and through installed software clients on 3G handsets.
The agreement enables 3 to offer access to MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger from a browser, or via a downloaded and pre-installed software client. As part of the agreement, all services offered will bring the familiar look and feel of MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail on a PC, to a 3 handset. The two companies say that by connecting MSN and 3 customers, they expect more frequent interaction between mobile-to-mobile, and PC-to-mobile customers.
The agreement brings together a community of millions of MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger users and 3 customers worldwide. MSN Hotmail is one of the world's largest web-based e-mail services, with 230 million active e-mail accounts, while the MSN Messenger instant messaging service has 205 million customers worldwide.
Initially, the services will be available to over 5 million 3 customers in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Australia, with plans to expand the service to other 3 markets.
MSN Messenger will enable 3s customers to see the presence of their Messenger contacts and exchange messages when these contacts are on their PC or on the move with a 3 handset. The client version provides a rich feature set that provides the user with an always-available Messenger experience.
In addition, the 3 group of companies will allow access to MSN Hotmail through the 3 portal, allowing 3s customers to use their existing MSN username and password on their 3 handset. The MSN Hotmail experience on a 3 mobile will enable customers to read, send and delete e-mails, and get a snapshot view of their inbox.
This is an exciting time for Microsoft and (3 parent company) Hutchison says MSN EMEA Regional General Manager, Geoff Sutton. Together we are offering, for the first time, mobile software clients on a broad range of handsets to a vast customer base in Europe. By way of this agreement, we are expanding our customers ability to make smart communication choices to connect instantly to the people they care about most.
For 3, Christian Salbaing, Managing Director at Hutchison Europe Telecommunications adds:
"3 is committed to providing its customers with the widest choice of communications access platforms. Communications environments and platforms are converging and it is our job to give customers more choice to communicate with each other. 3 is delighted to be working with Microsoft to make this happen."