Microsoft's strategy of investing in the networks it ultimately hopes will deliver its software and services direct to customers continued today with a stake in US wireless operator Nextel.
As part of a deal that gives Nextel customers access to Microsoft's MSN Internet services via their mobile phones, the Redmond giant will invest $600 million in the operator.
Last week, Microsoft took a $5 billion stake in US long distance operator AT&T, and a 29.9 per cent stake in UK cable operator Telewest, to add to its rapidly expanding portfolio of stakes in communications operators.
Nextel customers will eventually be able to use email, calendaring, address books and Web based services using wireless devices. Microsoft's chief executive Bill Gates is hoping the majority of these devices will be using the Windows CE operating system.
"The combination of Microsoft platforms, including Windows CE based devices, with MSN services and Nextel's highly functional network and services infrastructure will enable these powerful new services to be delivered efficiently and effectively to benefit the widest range of customers," Gates said in a statement.
Today's deal comes just days after merger talks between Nextel and US long distance carrier MCI Worldcom collapsed. The deal was estimated to be worth up to $13 billion.
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