Vodafone to offer Microsoft online services

A woman talks on a mobile telephone as she passes a Vodafone store in central London in this November 8, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone network operator by revenue, is to offer Microsoft online services to small and medium-sized businesses through the computer, phone and browser, it said on Thursday.

The group said it would sell and manage Microsoft products such as e-mail, calendars, portals, instant messaging and web conferencing tools.

Vodafone said Microsoft Online Services are now available in the United States and would be available in other markets in the first half of 2009.

“The demands on our customers are changing dramatically in today’s complex business and economic environment,” said Tom Craig, Global Business Services Director of Vodafone Group.

“By combining Vodafone’s fixed and mobile communication services with Microsoft Online Services we can provide all the elements of a fully hosted communications solution.”

The two companies said they also intended to continue growing the partnership through future collaboration and development.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Greg Mahlich