MSN Enters 2-Way Messaging Market

The Microsoft Network, never one to shy from pricing wars as part of its
late entry into a new product market, announced Tuesday its two-way pager
product for teenagers and on-the-go users.

The pager comes courtesy of Motorola’s T900 series of two-way messengers
and runs $159 (with a mail-in rebate of $100) for the product and costs
anywhere between $14.95 to $24.95 for monthly service.

Lisa Gurry, MSN product manager, expects the Talkabout T900 2-Way with
Hotmail will be popular with teens and others who want to keep up with
their emails and information while on the move.

“We expect it to be quite popular,” she said. “The device has actually
been available by Motorola for some time without support for Hotmail from
MSN, and they’ve been able to sell more than one million devices
already. We know that the device itself is quite popular with the teen
market as well as people on the go adding support for MSN Hotmail at a
lower price point will make it even more compelling to a broader audience.”

The two-way pager sports the following features:

  • Lighted QWERTY keyboard
  • Address book that supports up to 250 entries
  • Delivered message confirmation
  • Different color schemes

The Motorola product is a popular choice with national Internet service
provider EarthLink Inc., the third-largest provider in the U.S. after
AOL and MSN. AOL, the
largest ISP, uses a two-way pager made by Research in Motion (RIM).

MSN’s entrance into the two-way messaging arena is a little late, but
officials hope to make up for lost time by undercutting the price plans of
it competitors. EarthLink Everywhere runs $24.95 a month for its service,
while AOL’s Anywhere initiative runs about $19.95 (unless you don’t have a
regular AOL account, in which case customers pay a little more than $40 a

Arch Wireless of Westborough, Mass., will provide the Internet connectivity for
the MSN service. A nationwide outfit, officials promise to deliver pager
connectivity throughout most of the U.S. and into Canada, the Caribbean,
Mexico and Puerto Rico, according to C. Edward Baker, Jr., Arch Wireless
chairman and chief executive officer.

“We are delighted to join with such a widely recognized and respected
service provider as MSN to launch this exciting new wireless communication
device,” Baker said. “With this simple and useful device, users of MSN
Hotmail can now stay in touch wirelessly with friends, family and other
important people in their life whenever they want. Arch’s two-way messaging
network, one of the most ubiquitous and reliable networks in the country
for data communications, gives users of MSN Hotmail the ability to
communicate wirelessly any time and from virtually anywhere.”

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