Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Microsoft and MCI Beta Testing VoIP 

I always wondered why Microsoft was missing in the count of horsemen riding over Telco land. Now finally the battleship, after picking up some boats floating in the Internet seas, starts slowly to change course by teaming up with MCI (Verizon?) finally to provide me-too VoIP services to consumers.

Since VoIP is a very new and innovative technology (at least for one (or both?) of these two companies ;-), they start it like hedgehogs are mating (very carefully), basically by doing a beta test with the Windows Live Messenger.

MCI and Microsoft are testing the service as part of a Windows Live Messenger limited beta with subscriptions initially available in the United States, and expect to jointly deliver the PC-to-phone calling capabilities to France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. Once subscribed to the service, customers can place calls to and from more than 220 countries with rates starting at $.023 per minute to the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Western Europe during the beta testing period. Upon sign-up, MCI Web Calling customers will receive up to one hour of free calls. Final pricing will be determined when the product officially launches in 2006.

2,3 cents/minute for a crippled beta test, when I get half the price by Skype et. al.? Ok, you get a bonus of $2,5 to start with - great, thanx.

Is this now a Microsoft Service using the MCI connections to the world, or a MCI/Verizon service using MS Live Messenger as a client? If it is the latter, why does a company like MCI needs a beta testing of a year to test a simple VoIP client? There are enough perfectly working VoIP clients around.

If it a Microsoft Service using MCIs connection to interface with the PSTN, I am missing any new and innovative services annoinced here. Or will these be launched and beta tested in 2007ff?

I really do not understand what is going on here.

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