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Microsoft Targets RIM Blackberry With Price

Microsoft Corp. on Monday unveiled carrier and device support for its mobile messaging technology that the company hopes will attract customers through lower prices and more features than rival Research In Motion Inc.'s popular Blackberry

The Redmond, Wash., software maker announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that its "direct push" technology is available in Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2. The technology also has been integrated into Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, and is offered as a hosted service by mobile operators U.K.-based Orange, Vodafone Group PLC, T-Mobile International AG & Co. and Cingular Wireless, jointly owned by BellSouth Corp and AT&T Inc.

In addition, Microsoft said four devices are currently outfitted with direct push, including Hewlett-Packard Co.'s iPAQ hw6900 Mobile Messenger, Gigabyte Communications's G-Smart, offered by Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. in Taiwan; the ASUS P305 3G-enabled smart phone, and the Fujitsu Siemens FS Pocket Loox. HTC Corp. plans to have direct push-enabled devices available globally through T-Mobile and other operators in the second quarter of this year.

RIM's Blackberry email device remains the market leader with a loyal customer base. Microsoft, however, is looking to undermine the Canadian company's position through lower prices, Peter Pawlak, analyst for Directions on Microsoft said.

"They would like to get these devices in the hands of people beyond those RIM has been able to reach," Pawlak said. Europe, for example, could be a strong market, since RIM has been primarily successful in the United States.

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