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Microsoft buys into mobile alerts

MSN division buys instant-alerts start-up MessageCast for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft's MSN division has bought instant-alerts start-up MessageCast for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will help Microsoft expand its free MSN Alerts service, which allows it to send e-mail, instant messages and text messages from MSNBC, Fox Sports, Xbox, Weather.com and MSN Money to subscribers' mobile phones, desktops and handheld computers, Microsoft said Wednesday.

MSN has used technology from MessageCast, based in Redwood City, Calif., since 2003. Microsoft promised to continue delivering service to other MessageCast customers.