Microsoft Finds The First Client for Its Tellme Technology

Beginning today, U.S. wireless carrier Sprint-Nextel is offering customers a new Microsoft Web and local business search application on its phones using GPS technology that pinpoints a caller's location, thereby eliminating the need to input locations or zip codes.

Sprint-Nextel also will offer users of five high-end phones a free download of a voice-recognition search product from Microsoft that will allow them to use voice commands to conduct their searches. It is the first offering from a wireless carrier to use the speech technology and voice database that Microsoft acquired when it bought Tellme Networks earlier this year for about $800 million.

The voice search offering will allow users to press the talk button on their mobile phones to speak a search term into the handset. Once the information is gathered, the results presented will include directions, the ability to press a button to call the business, and the option to send directions to the location to a friend as a text message. The voice application will be available to Sprint-Nextel users of the Samsung a900, Samsung a920, Motorola Razr, Sanyo 840, and LG 550 phones.

Also as part of the strategic alliance that Sprint and Microsoft formed in November, Sprint-Nextel customers also will have access to the Internet to conduct their searches. With the enhanced mobile search service launching today, Sprint customers can now search the entire Web, local listings and maps, and Sprint's mobile content catalogues using the same familiar search box powered by Windows Live Search, on the Sprint mobile Web home page.

The services will be free to Sprint-Nextel's data customers. Both Sprint and Microsoft hope to pay for the service through revenue that will be generated by incoprporating advertising into the search platform.

"The location based and voice technologies we're delivering today with Sprint are a first in the U.S. mobile industry bringing customers a smart and easy search experience on the phone," Brian Arbogast, vice president of the Mobile Services organization at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We are focused on working with industry leaders like Sprint to bring new and innovative services to market for customers, and creating new business and revenue opportunities for our partners."

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