Microsoft to offer VoIP

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 02/20/2006 - 09:41

Microsoft has announced that the company will start bundling a voice telephony application into mobile versions of Windows Mobile that runs on smartphones and PDAs. It is apparently bundled with mobile versions of Office, meaning the initial marketing is aimed at business users rather than casual consumers, who are not likely to spend the money for a copy of Office for their phone.

It is likely to have broad appeal to corporate IT staffs, who love making everyone use exactly the same set of software. But it also makes sense from a business perspective--if you want to save money on your phone bill, you can maximize savings by getting everyone to use the same VoIP software.

My guess is that Microsoft will do well with this. Think about having a buddy list right up on the Word or Excel toolbar, and being able to place a business call with a mouse click if you want to ask a question of a business associate. Or even set up a VoIP conference call while sharing a copy of the spreadsheet.

VoIP is going to change the way we do business as it becomes tightly integrated into other applications. Apple and AOL have been doing this for a while, but being late to the game sometimes allows you the opportunity to do things better.

It will be interesting to see how this actually works in practice. If Microsoft provides some interoperability with other VoIP protocols like SIP, it could be a big win for the firm.

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