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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Microsoft, Motorola launch messenger

 •  PC makers welcome wireless inroads

By Allison Linn
AP Business Writer

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. has struck a deal with Motorola to give users of its Hotmail and MSN Messenger instant-messaging system a way to access the services on a two-way pager.

The deal announced yesterday will cost users about $100 for the device, called Talkabout T900, plus about $20 a month for unlimited service, said Bob Visse, group product manager for Microsoft's MSN services. The service is expected to be available in the second half of this year.

It will use Westborough, Mass.-based Arch Wireless' nationwide network.

The Motorola Talkabout T900 already provides paging and e-mailing capabilities and retails for between $99 and $170, Motorola spokeswoman Josephine Posti said. The advantage with this service will be that users can access their Hotmail and instant messaging accounts on the Talkabout, instead of sending from a numbered e-mail account linked to a pager, she said.

The MSN/Talkabout device is similar to America Online's Mobile Communicator, which was launched late last year for AOL members. That service costs about $329.95 for the device plus a flat fee of $19.95 a month.

Hotmail and Microsoft Messenger are both free, Internet-based services. With this product, Microsoft will have to persuade users to pay for premium access.

"It's sort of more analogous to when you buy a PC today and want to go on the Internet," Visse said. "You don't expect to get those things completely for free ... and I don't think people are expecting to get handheld (access) entirely for free, either."

Microsoft and Motorola are aiming to sell to teen-agers by touting the affordability and the benefits of instant communication with friends.