Microsoft and Cbeyond partner for new e-mail service

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Microsoft to acquire Rapt

Microsoft has teamed up with e-mail services firm Cbeyond for a new e-mail service that targets small and midsize businesses.

The new e-mail service will come as part of Microsoft's communications package that already includes hardware and air time for mobile phone service, local and long-distance phone service, and T-1 broadband Internet access. Now it will include e-mail hosted on Microsoft Exchange.

"We chose Microsoft because of the brand and the Outlook product is quite strong in the business market and we felt that they would be a strong partner for e-mail and for other services in the future," said Brooks Robinson, CMO of Cbeyond.

The service is available in Atlanta with future service planned for Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco.

The new product will compete with other small to midsize business e-mail products including Exact Target and Vertical Response.

The Hosted Microsoft Exchange includes appointment scheduling, shared contact information, task management and over-the-air syncing this information with mobile devices, accessible via Microsoft Office Outlook, a Web browser or a smartphone.

"We see this as a great opportunity to offer an integrated hosted Microsoft Exchange service into the mobile phone, a service that small businesses don't usually have access to," Robinson added.

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