Mobile

Microsoft, broadband services firm plan portal

The software giant takes a $40 million stake in CAIS Internet and agrees to create a co-branded portal with the broadband services company.

Microsoft today took a $40 million stake in CAIS Internet and agreed to create a co-branded portal with the broadband services company.

The co-branded version of the software maker's MSN portal will specifically focus on the hospitality industry, bringing customers Web-based email over Hotmail, travel services with Expedia.com, and its other Internet properties. CAIS also agreed to use Microsoft's BackOffice as the operating platform for its services.

Washington, D.C.-based CAIS says it specializes in broadband services for the mobile work force, including high-speed access to the Net from airports, cruise ships, hotels and other travel-related places.

The company said it has signed several deals with hotel chains, agreeing to supply broadband Internet services and content in more than 1.3 million hotel rooms. Major hotels preparing to use CAIS include Hilton Hotels, Bass Hotels and Cendant.

The investment is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the next six weeks, the companies said.