Microsoft Wants Wireless

Looking to improve its stake in the wireless world, Microsoft Corp. Monday launched MSN Mobile, a site designed to offer customized services to Internet users with pagers and cellular phones.

The service comes on the heels of Microsoft’s acquisition of OmniBrowse Inc., a company that develops applications for wireless handheld devices. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The OmniBrowse service has been re-branded as MSN Mobile.

“We share the MSN vision of putting the most powerful Web-based tools in the hands of consumers and extending their computing experience far beyond the desktop PC,” said Troy Carroll, OmniBrowse president.

Interested users can sign up to receive customized information including stock quotes, sports scores, headlines, horoscopes and weather information. The company plans to add e-mail, address books and calendar features later in the year. MSN is offering both free basic service and fee-based premium option.

MSN Mobile is designed to allow consumers to control what they receive and when they receive it, as well as configure the content of each service to fit their needs or geographic location.

The move by Microsoft into the wireless sector follows the acquisition earlier this month of Online Anywhere by Yahoo!. Like Microsoft, Yahoo! acquired the company with plans to deliver content to handheld devices.

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