Microsoft (MSFT) has released software in China that enables users to send short messages to a group of people's mobile phones immediately or at a fixed schedule after the relevant message is typed into a computer.

For this service, Microsoft is cooperating with China Mobile and Sina.com (SINA) who will both provide oversight of the short message service. The software is downloaded as an add-on to Microsoft Office's Outlook 2003 package.

Local media analysts say that Microsoft wishes to enter the SMS, online translation and Internet search fields in China and this is its first step towards this end.

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