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Sales-force software service offers wireless perk

UpShot.com, which provides sales-force automation software over the Web, plans to provide free OmniSky wireless modems to companies that sign up new users.

Aiming to nab new customers, UpShot.com, a service that provides sales-force automation software over the Web, said it plans to announce later Thursday an offer to give away wireless modems.

UpShot said it will provide five free OmniSky wireless modems for every 10 new users a company signs up for a period of six months. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's online service gives salespeople tools for tracking leads and customer account information, building reports, and comparing their performance to that of others in a sales force.

A battle has been brewing in the young market for online sales-force automation (SFA) software. Like rival Salesforce.com, UpShot has been active, making a top priority of building mind share and increasing its customer base. p> The latest player to join the field is database software giant Oracle, with its OracleSalesOnline.com alternative to the offerings of UpShot and Salesforce. The company surprised the sector in August when it announced plans to give businesses its core SFA software free of charge. Oracle is charging fees for additional components such as sales compensation software based on a pay-per-use model.

Available until the end of the year, UpShot's latest offer will give salespeople, who often work from the road, access to their sales leads and other important data through Palm or Visor personal digital assistants (PDAs). In addition to Net-based, OmniSky-compatible wireless devices, UpShot subscribers will have access to information though a Web-enabled cell phone or Palm VII.

The company's core SFA service, which includes wireless capabilities, is available at a monthly charge of $55 per user. The free offer is open to both existing and new customers, the company said.