Aether, Critical Path Team on Wireless Messaging

BOSTON (06/14/2000) - Aether Systems Inc. and Critical Path Inc. Wednesday will announce a plan to jointly develop and market wireless messaging services to enterprise customers. A beta test of the new services is planned later this year, and commercial offerings are expected in the first quarter of 2001.

The two companies have not finalized the details of their new wireless messaging services or how much they will cost. But company officials say the new services will:

-- Support all wireless devices, including cellular phones, pagers and handheld computers.

-- Support any standards-based corporate messaging environment, including Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and Eudora.

-- Enable all of the hosted messaging services currently offered by Critical Path - including calendaring, fax, document management and directory services - to be accessed via a wireless device.

Under the terms of the deal, Aether and Critical Path will develop a technology roadmap together and roll out a suite of wireless messaging services over the next 18 months. The two companies will call on enterprise customers together and share information about sales prospects.

"The intention here is to build one comprehensive solution and to bring one face to the customer to sell that integrated solution," says Lee Llevano, vice president of wireless solutions at Critical Path. "Enterprise customers want best-of-breed services, but they prefer not to have to deal with a lot of vendors."

Initially, no dollars or stock will change hands as part of this product development and marketing arrangement. Instead, each company will bear its own costs.

"This is a very significant deal for us," adds Evan Deoul, vice president of wireless Web services at Aether. "This gives us the opportunity to offer a complete messaging solution with a partner that is just as aggressive as we are. This deal is really just the beginning."

Aether, in Owings Mills, Maryland, provides wireless data services. Aether has dozen enterprise customers, including Merrill Lynch, Office Depot and Staples.

Critical Path, in San Francisco, provides outsourced messaging services.

Critical Path has more than 3,000 enterprise customers and 100 million end users.

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