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Microsoft, SINA Send SMS Message to China

With more than 12 billion text messages being sent out each month, two giant companies are combining forces to focus on the fastest emerging marketplace -- China.

Microsoft and Chinese-language network SINA Friday announced a joint SMS service with Microsoft for MS Office XP in China.

Hong Kong-based SINA, with U.S. offices in San Mateo, said the SMS services would be built into Office XP and Outlook 2002 as part of Microsoft's Office Suite's mobile communication functions.

The partnership has the capacity to be a virtual cash cow. According to the latest industry news conducted by a well-known UK wireless research firm, SMS has shown to be more than twice as effective as direct mail. An average SMS campaign generates a 15 percent response rate, compared with less than half that amount for direct mail. The survey also found that 94 percent of all advertising text messages are read.

Furthermore, 23 percent are forwarded or shown to other users. As a result an average of 8 percent reply to the text message and 6 percent visit a web site mentioned in the text.

"Short Messaging has become a common and convenient way of everyday communication," Mr. Tang observed, "and the Business SMS not only makes the sending of short messages much easier, but has expanded SMS applications to the existing mobile business infrastructure for smoother coordination and better communication between enterprises, employees, partners and clients."

SINA and Microsoft's version will be based on Outlook 2002 Short Messaging Support Program developed on the Office XP platform and the SMS Web Service Program of SINA. The service allows users of Microsoft Office XP to send and forward e-mails, contacts, tasks, notes and calendar events as short messages to cell phones and other mobile devices.

Microsoft said it may have an advantage building the service based on a recent survey, which claims more than 90 percent of knowledge workers voted Microsoft Office "the best tool for improving productivity and work efficiency."

Editor's note: Jupitermedia Corp. , the parent company of internet.com and this site is hosting the Instant Messaging Planet Conference & Expo in Boston later this month.