Intelligent wireless connection from mobile devices to the Internet and corporate intranets based on Microsoft's server middleware is expected to be available within the next year, writes Antony Adshead.
Microsoft's latest venture, code-named Airstream, will enable access to Windows-based applications, translating data for use on Wap-enabled mobile phones, personal digital assistants and laptop devices. Future plans include giving access to inventory information, e-mail and corporate intranets containing elements such as expense forms and travel information.
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The company plans to release initial code this autumn, with commercial products expected to follow within 12 months.
Recently, there has been massive growth of interest in lucrative wireless communications technologies among the major IT manufacturers. In addition to Microsoft, Cisco and Nortel have also recently been involved in buy-outs or strategic link-ups.
In April, Microsoft announced BT and AT&T will be among the first to host Airstream services on their networks and both companies are expected to be closely involved in the alpha and beta phases of testing.
In June, Nortel and Hewlett-Packard announced their plans to combine Nortel's wireless communications technology with HP's Internet networking expertise to provide mobile portal, wireless networking and e-commerce services. And last week, Cisco paid $425m for Texas-based IP Mobile, a company involved in developing IP-based software to enable service providers to build a third-generation IP-based wireless infrastructure for data and voice services.