The software giant today announced its plans to acquire Jump Networks, maker of a technology that lets users access their email, address books, and calendars from any Internet-connected computer.
Rumors of the acquisition have been swirling for months. Financial details were not disclosed. Microsoft said employees of Jump Networks will join Microsoft's Consumer and Commerce Group and will move from offices in Mountain View, California, to MSN Hotmail offices in San Jose, California.
The acquisition strengthens Microsoft's Internet services entity, the MSN network. When integrated with MSN, Jump's technology will complement MSN communication services, including the MSN Hotmail Web-based email service and MSN Web Communities, the company said.
MSN customers will be offered an "all-in-one" communications package combining email, calendaring capabilities, and online communities, allowing Microsoft to tap into a market now dominated by Yahoo, Netscape's Netcenter, and AOL.
Jump's technology also will advance commerce on MSN by allowing customers to automatically purchase goods and services through sale notices that have been sent to their calendars, the company said
"Consumers want constant access to their personal calendars and shared event information so they can make the Web a more personal and productive tool," Marty Taucher, director of MSN network communications, said in a statement. "Integrating Jump's premier technology with the award-winning Internet services on MSN will further empower consumers, no matter where they are."
Jump is recognized as a feature-rich Web-based calendar service, combining calendars, email, address books, to-do lists, and task reminders into a single service that resides on a central server. Groups can collaborate and share calendars and event information for free.
Jump also offers synchronization with several popular desktop personal information managers (PIMs), including the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client and handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs).