The world's largest software maker said that it had joined with Openwave to jointly develop software to be featured on the smaller company's latest version of specialized software for cell phones.
Both companies declined to say how soon Hotmail and messaging would be available to users. They said the decision to offer such features was in the hands of wireless network operators. The new software platform, called Openwave Phone Suite V7 Platform, will be offered beginning in March.
"This really does introduce a much richer concept of messaging to the mobile user," said Don Listwin, chief executive of Openwave.
Microsoft has beenand devices for the past several years, pitting it against companies such as Symbian and Finland's , but has chiefly marketed its software to handset makers and operators as a high-end business tool.
Although access to Hotmail and other e-mail systems has long-been available to mobile phone users through software provided by companies such as Openwave, the deal extends such capabilities to a wider range of phone models.
Brian Arbogast, a vice president at Microsoft's MSN Internet division, said many current data-enabled cell phones would be able to access Hotmail and messenger.
Such phones would also be able to alert other users of MSN Messenger to detect whether a cell phone user was online and able to receive messages, a feature that is currently limited to higher-end cell phones and handheld computers.