Microsoft Corporation has agreed to invest $600 million in Nextel Communications, a provider of integrated wireless communications, in exchange for Nextel's use of a co-branded version of the MSN portal Web site. Nextel customers will be able to use the new MSN site as a way to keep in touch online while they're on the go: email, calendar, address book contacts, and Web-based content will all be made available.

"Microsoft and Nextel will deliver the next generation of wireless services to enable people everywhere to stay in touch with the information they need, regardless of location," said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. "The combination of Microsoft platforms, including Windows CE-based devices, with MSN services and Nextel's highly functional network and service infrastructure will enable these powerful new services to be delivered efficiently and effectively to benefit the widest range of customers."

Nextel and Microsoft expect to have these new services up and running later this year. Nextel customers will be able to choose between a range of devices, including digital assistants, Palm computers, PCs, and Windows CE-based set-top boxes. Nextel will also assist Microsoft in its development of a new version of Internet Explorer for wireless devices