December 8, 1999 1:35 PM PST

Wireless companies catch Wall Street's attention

The stock of many cellular firms is likely to continue to skyrocket as the deal between Microsoft and Swedish mobile firm Ericsson underscores the growing convergence of the Internet and wireless world.

The two companies today announced a joint venture to develop products that provide fast access to information anytime and anywhere from any device.

"While many cellular companies have been talking about the converging worlds, Microsoft's moves today further lends credibility to offering [Internet] services via wireless access," said J.C. Simbana, an analyst with American Frontier, a Denver-based brokerage firm.

Motorola, for a while a dormant wireless player, is among the wireless companies waking up to an exciting time for the sector.

"What is happening is that there is increasing awareness that wireless is the next big play to be incorporated into the Internet sphere," said Simbana.

Earlier this year, Motorola and networking giant Cisco said the two would team up and invest $1 billion over the next few years to build a wireless Internet.

Last month, Qualcomm unveiled its wireless Internet strategy and demonstrated new high-speed data technology. Still, the stock slid 2.23 percent, a decline of 8.88 points, to 390 today.

Analysts noted that today's deal between Ericsson and Microsoft punctuates the growing realization for people that they increasingly expect to be connected at all times to family, friends and co-workers by email and phones.

Shares of Ericsson surged 9.37 percent or 5.50 points to 64.19 in late trading.


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