Verizon Wireless, Microsoft sign 5-year mobile search and advertising agreement

As we briefly mentioned in Steve Ballmer’s keynote recap, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft signed a five-year agreement that will see the Redmond giant providing portal, local and Internet search as well as mobile advertising services to customers on Verizon’s devices. The deal will go into effect in the first half of 2009 when Microsoft Live Search is set to hit new Verizon Wireless feature phones and smartphones.

From the official release:

The rapid adoption of a wide variety of data services and the substantial change in the way wireless customers use their devices is driving the need for new ways to organize and deliver the content customers want on their mobile devices. With Live Search integrated capabilities, Verizon Wireless customers will now have easier access to context-relevant search results to help improve the mobile experience. Depending on which device they use, customers will be able to use voice commands and typed queries and even select to use location-aware searches to receive highly relevant search results, including maps, directions, traffic information, information on local businesses, movie theatres and show times, gas prices and weather. In addition, customers will also get search results that include news and entertainment content such as downloadable full-track songs, videos and games. Verizon Wireless customers will be able to access Microsoft Live Search from a device’s home screen, by downloading an application or through Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Web service.

In a nutshell, if you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, expect to see Microsoft-powered search all over the place, as well as Microsoft-served ads on Verizon’s Mobile Web service. On the other hand, advertisers and ad agencies will have a one-stop integrated way to reach Verizon’s mobile customers…

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