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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 15:14 GMT
Microsoft starts Blackberry rival
Three people using Blackberry mobile device
The new service aims to rival Blackberry
Microsoft and Vodafone have joined forces to launch a portable email service that intends to rival market leader Blackberry.

In addition to sending and receiving e-mails, Windows Mobile E-mail will enable users to edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

The service will be available in the UK, France and Germany next month.

It comes as Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) fights the possibility of a forced shutdown in the US.

The Canadian firm is embroiled in a legal row with US software business NTP, which is demanding Blackberry be turned off, arguing the device has breached its patents.

'Exciting time'

RIM said last week that it had developed a software patch that would enable it to maintain its service in the US even if it loses a forthcoming court patent ruling.

Microsoft said users of its Windows Mobile E-mail service would be able to forward messages sent to Microsoft Outlook accounts on their PCs to suitably enabled handsets.

"It's an exciting time for companies who are now realising the true business potential of mobile solutions for both the business and for their employees," said Microsoft's Pieter Knook.

Microsoft and Vodafone launched Windows Mobile E-mail at the mobile phone industry's annual 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

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