Feeds

MS bids for wireless generation with MSN Mobile

Trust us, even if it's free it's a plot. Especially if it's free...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft's launch yesterday of MSN Mobile was to some extent an exercise in reinventing wheels that have started to roll elsewhere, but it was also a classic Microsoft bid to grab itself another big pile of users. Say you're in the US, and you've got a pager or a cellular phone - how would you like to be able to get weather reports, stock quotes, date reminders and lottery info sent to you for free? Course you would, so fill in the form, and you're on the Microsoft database ready and waiting for the next big push. Actually we're not sure about the date reminder and lottery being exactly compelling information, but you can get them for free, so what the hell. Microsoft quite probably expects Hotmail-style volumes of users to show up for this service, and while it may have to add a little bit more in the way of free content to pull the numbers in, no doubt it's prepared to do that. At the moment the real content is being offered via the premium account, which you have to pay $9.95 a month for. That gets you an unlimited number of stock quotes (the free version is limited to ten), volume info, volume alerts and volume triggers. For your money you also get news from "respected sites" (no, not us folks) such as CNet and The Los Angeles Times, plus sports and bizarrely, horoscopes direct from the LA Times. This is of course all doable with existing technology, and there are plenty of other outfits doing it already, whatever Microsoft says. But the key point here is that it's Microsoft doing it, and Microsoft has the ability to leverage users from its other operations. It's bought wireless information outfit OmniBrowse to handle the delivery side so, good people, if any of you happen to know what servers OmniBrowse uses and they're not MS ones, just let us know. The real kicker is how the new MSN Mobile service will look when "fully developed." Says Microsoft, "MSN Mobile will include the most popular MSN services, such as email, address books and calendar features from the MSN Hotmail&trade, Web-based email service, news, sports and weather from MSNBC, stock updates from the MSN MoneyCentral&trade, personal finance online service, and other Web-based content such as door-to-door driving directions." Spot the leverage in that little lot - it's basically bringing a lot of the content stuff Microsoft has been assembling into one package, and taking it onto the road. Right now it's the sort of service that can be accessed by any phone that can receive text messages, but as "a component of the end-to-end wireless solution from Microsoft" it will be "widely accessible by devices employing microbrowser technology, such as Pocket Microsoft Internet Explorer." That of course helps leverage Windows CE into the mobile phone market, as does the interesting stuff above about "address books and calendar features." At the moment the service seems to be US-only, which is scarcely surprising, as Microsoft would need partners to take it to other countries, but that's not to say it isn't going to get them. Interestingly enough, although the service providers in Europe are all thinking in terms of expanded content delivery, they tend to think of it as something that can win them more revenue. But if Microsoft winds up trying to carve out market share by giving content away (we think it will), this could cause them considerable angst. Netscape, anyone? ® Gratuitous swipe We can't help noticing that if you try to access one of the few dial-up MSN systems left standing, msn.co.uk, with Navigator it makes a desperate bid to ship you to msn.co.uk/migrate.asp instead, then falls over. That's all...

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.