Microsoft Outlines Windows Live Voice-and-Video Communications Strategy
Posted on 16-Mar-2006 18:55
Filed under: News
Microsoft Corp. plans to outline its vision for extending IP communications capabilities throughout Windows Live services to support relationship-centric communication via voice and video for consumers worldwide. The announcement will be made during the Spring 2006 VON Conference & Expo.
Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN Communication Services and Member Platform group, will detail the company’s voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) strategy and vision for Windows Live in his keynote speech Thursday afternoon. Spring VON Expo is the largest VoIP exhibition in the world, with more than 300 companies showcasing their voice-data communications technology and products.
Microsoft currently offers customers free video conversation (integrated audio and video) powered by Logitech and free PC-to-PC voice capabilities powered by Microsoft technology via MSN Messenger. In addition, Windows Live Messenger includes one-way PC-to-phone calling capabilities in several markets that are part of a pay-for-use service provided by Verizon.
MSN Messenger hosted voice sessions totaling more than 800 million minutes in January 2006. Video usage on the service is currently growing even faster than voice usage alone, with video conversation connecting customers for almost 1.1 billion minutes in January. In addition, stand-alone webcam usage totaled an additional 7 billion minutes in January.
Microsoft plans to improve the ease of use of these services by incorporating some user interface features to its Microsoft Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta. The service is a new, free e-mail client built to work seamlessly with the new Windows Live Mail service. Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta with other Windows Live services will enable customers to right click on their contacts’ names to start a PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone voice or video conversation with them directly from e-mail.
Microsoft is also planning to test voice functionality with Windows Live Search, enabling some customers to place a call to a search result directly from their PC.
To make using voice capabilities more natural with Windows Live, Microsoft is working with partners including Royal Philips Electronics NV (in select countries in Europe, and in Australia, New Zealand and Latin America) and Uniden America Corporation (for North America) to introduce new phones that connect to a PC and will allow consumers to make PC-to-PC and one-way PC-to-phone calls using Windows Live Messenger or traditional telephone calls using their existing service provider.