Microsoft forms mobility advisory council

Microsoft has launched an invitation-only arm of its Mobility Solutions Partner Program (MSPP).

Microsoft has launched an invitation-only arm of its Mobility Solutions Partner Program (MSPP).

The Mobility Partner Advisory Council (MPAC) has been created for companies to provide feedback on product development and as a support network for companies making "significant investments" in the mobility space, Microsoft said.

The MPAC is made up of more than 100 companies, including giants such as Hewlett-Packard and Compaq as well as smaller players said Mary Rose Becker, a group marketing manager with Microsoft.

The first companies invited to join were those that Microsoft already has a "good working relationship" with, Becker said. "We've had great support and joint marketing in the past, and those are great points of reference to predict future behaviour."

Microsoft will hold its first Mobility Developers Conference in April, where it will discuss the details of the new program with the invited members. The first council meeting will be free, but companies that decide to attend more meetings will be charged a $15,000 (£10,583) fee, Becker said.

The fee will allow companies access to joint marketing, public relations and sales support and dedicated technical support from Microsoft Consulting Services.

Companies in the program will have a quarterly review with Microsoft, where the two parties will decide on continuing membership in the MPAC, Becker said.

The MSPP, which itself is an offshoot of Microsoft's Certified Partner Program, currently has more than 5,000 members and is growing by more than 200 members a month, Microsoft said.

Microsoft's mobility products include the Pocket PC and Handheld PC platforms, Windows Powered Smartphone 2002, and Mobile Information Server.

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