Aether Puts Some Wireless into MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy Inc. Friday got a boost from Aether Systems Inc., which agreed
to lead an investment round in, and forge an alliance with, the e-business
software provider.


Wireless product specialist Aether paved the way with $25 million of a
$52.75 investment round in Strategy.com, a subsidiary of MicroStrategy that
helps companies connect with their customers by delivering personalized
information via Web, wireless and voice applications.


Aether will take a 15 percent stake in Strategy.com. The firm has already
invested $14.99 million, and will invest an additional $10 million subject
to the satisfaction of certain conditions.


At the heart of the deal lies an agreement by the two firms to develop
MicroStrategy 7M®, or MicroStrategy 7 Mobile, a product created to
incorporate Aether’s wireless technology with the MicroStrategy 7 platform.


MicroStrategy 7M will be designed to combine the wireless data, security and
transmission features of Aether Intelligent Messaging (AIM) with the
personalized eCRM and business intelligence capabilities of the
MicroStrategy 7 platform.


Now global 2000 firms will be able to access the MicroStrategy 7 suite with
such devices as Palm’s handhelds and cell phones. In turn, employees for
these firms can carry out secure transactions with their customers.


One example the companies list is that of airline flights. If a flight was
cancelled, the airline could scan its database for the would-be passenger
and notify them via their wireless device of preference. That convenience
will save clients from extra frustration.


Aether, whose Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dave Oros will join the
board of Strategy.com, should benefit quite nicely from the deal as well.
The wireless outfit will offer Strategy.com Network services to its
customers, including finance, weather and news.


“Aether’s alliance with MicroStrategy provides an outstanding opportunity to
extend our wireless technology and services to the leading global
corporations that have turned to MicroStrategy to benefit from the company’s
Intelligent E-Business Software,” Oros said.


The remaining investors include Nevis Capital Partners of Baltimore and
several private investors whose names MicroStrategy spokesperson Michael
Quint would not disclose Friday.


Quint did say that the deal with Aether was its greatest wireless play to
date. Quint said Strategy.com has powered some of Verizon Wireless’ mobile
initiatives, as well as providing wireless e-maile updates for Ameritrade
customers.


MicroStrategy’s news comes after the firm earlier this month said it was
overhauling its e-business strategy to do better business with clients. The
centerpiece of this strategy is a Web store where new and existing customers
will be able to demo, configure, upgrade and order software directly online
via a standard pricing model — something already available from rivals such
as Dell, Oracle and Cisco.

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