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Yahoo packs messaging, email on Palm handhelds

The portal's popular email and messaging software will come preinstalled on Palm devices as the company continues its expansion beyond the PC.

Yahoo today said it will begin offering instant messaging and email services on Palm Computing's popular handhelds, the latest move by the Web portal leader to expand onto non-PC devices.

Yahoo Instant Messenger and Yahoo Mail software will be bundled into the Palm III, Palm V and Palm VII handhelds, the first time the Web portal has packaged its software with a handheld device. Palm models containing Yahoo's software will be offered later this year.

The move is the latest in a series of efforts among Net heavyweights to spread their services onto gadgets beyond the PC. As more consumers begin using different tools to access the Net, companies want to keep their customers loyal to their services by offering access from multiple mechanisms.

Net giants such as America Online, Amazon.com and eBay are aggressively striking deals to push their services onto devices such as wireless phones and pagers. AOL recently established a separate wireless division headed by former Federal Communications Commission chairman Dennis Patrick. The company also offers access to its email on Palm devices.

Yahoo's own access initiatives stem from its acquisition last year of Online Anywhere, which develops technology for non-PC devices.

Today's deal is an extension of an existing arrangement between Palm and Yahoo. Palm users already can download Yahoo's address book, calendar and an array of content ranging from news to stock quotes on their devices, and Yahoo Mail is offered on the Palm VII via download. Now these services will come preinstalled.

Palm III and Palm V users will be able to access Yahoo's services online using PalmModem, and users of the Palm VII can connect through the device's wireless Net access.