Vodafone and Microsoft have announced they are working together to deliver an enhanced co-branded and seamless Instant Messaging (IM) service that can be accessed from both the PC and mobile phone. The world’s biggest IM community and biggest Mobile Messaging community will together provide a next generation messaging service based on the Windows Live Messenger platform.
The new IM service will provide millions of customers with enhanced IM communication opportunities and will be launched in select European markets later this year.
The new service means that customers will be able to use the address book functionality and see the “presence” of their Messenger contacts and exchange messages when these contacts are either on their PC or mobile devices.
The co-branded Instant Messenger experience will be available on a wide range of Vodafone consumer handsets, including those on the Windows Mobile platform, bringing together customers of other Mobile Network Operator IM networks, consistent with last year’s 3GSM announcement (June 2006) on Personal IM.
“Microsoft – through our Windows Live communication platform – and Vodafone are working together to enhance messaging between mobile phones and PCs, ultimately delivering a richer experience to customers,” said Brian Arbogast, corporate vice president of the Windows Live Developer and Communications Platform group at Microsoft Corp. “By way of this launch, we are expanding our customers’ ability to make smart communication choices and connect instantly via IM to the people they care about most whether they are on their phone or on their PC.”
“We have brought together two of the world’s largest messaging communities with a co-branded seamless PC-to-mobile instant messaging service. Vodafone customers will be able to communicate whenever and wherever they want, using IM and its additional service benefits, make the most of their time with mobile and PC, and friends and family,” said Frank H Rövekamp, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Vodafone Group.
He continued: “IM is a growing part of the increasingly important mobile messaging market. By bringing our collective customers together, we’ll deliver more options about how to stay in touch when messaging.”
In June 2005, Vodafone and Microsoft announced the signing of a strategic alliance agreement involving the interconnection of existing instant messaging services from both companies. Today’s announcement is of a new, co-branded and converged instant messaging offering and underscores Vodafone and Microsoft’s commitment to collaborating to provide services that are even more innovative by accelerating the convergence of telecommunications services, information technology and multimedia.