Microsoft plans to drastically expand its VoIP offerings as part of its Live initiative, it revealed at the Spring 2006 VON Conference & Expo in San Jose yesterday.
The forthcoming Live Mail application, Live Search and Live Messenger products all promise integrated voice capabilities. The respective products are designed to replace Outlook, Windows Desktop Search and MSN Messenger.
The three applications will be tightly integrated, the company said. Users for instance will be able to call a search result found through Live Search, or initiate a PC-to-phone conversation through Live Messenger directly from the Live Mail client.
The services, however, will not be available in all markets. The PC-to-phone calling feature for instance is currently being tested and in the UK and US only through a partnership with telecommunications provider MCI.
Microsoft also touted special telephones that integrate both traditional telephone as well as VoIP capabilities that tie into the Live Messenger service. The devices will be made by Uniden for North America and Philips for Europe. Bill Gates showed off the Philips device during a keynote in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Live service aims to create a central starting point for communications, allowing users to reach their contacts without having to worry about which medium or network they are using.
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