Microsoft Buys VoIP Vendor

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Content Copyright © 2005 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

There are some indicators that, upon their arrival, show things are maturing and progressing towards full acceptance. The announcement last week by Microsoft Corporation of the acquisition of an organisation well regarded in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) space clearly signals that VoIP is now well set on its way to maturity.

Microsoft has been quietly adding to its VoIP capabilities for some time now, especially in its MSN Messenger Internet service. MSN already offers the ability for its users to communicate verbally with others that are making use of Messenger or to send 30-second voice messages. Indeed, the last release of Messenger in May this year also witnessed the introduction of Video capabilities. However, all of these facilities were confined to PC-to-PC communications. The addition of Teleo brings the ability to link these VoIP calls to non-PC based systems.

Teleo has its head office in San Francisco and was founded as recently as 2003. The company was set up to provide PC users with a service allowing them to make telephone calls not just to other PCs but to cell (mobile) phones and regular land line telephones. Such services are experiencing a boom in popularity with both individuals and, increasingly, businesses making use of the extension of VoIP into the mainstream.

Given the surge in VoIP popularity it was certain that Microsoft would look to expand its capabilities in the area. The attractiveness of Teleo to Microsoft lay not simply in its pure connectivity technology but in the fact that its software already enjoys strong integration with Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer. Indeed, a central ability of the Teleo service is the facility to utilise “click-to-call dialling” of any telephone number that appears on a PC’s screen. For example, if a telephone number is located on a Web page, in an Outlook contact or e-mail message, Teleo allows the number to be clicked with the mouse and the call to be connected automatically.

Whilst no details have been released concerning the price of the acquisition, Microsoft has announced that members of the Teleo executive team will continue to work closely with MSN following the acquisition. It is also expected that a number of Teleo product developers will move over to MSN thereby adding to Microsoft’s skill base in this fast moving area.

As Will Collins, global messenger product manager at Microsoft MSN stated, “VoIP is now becoming a normal way for people to communicate. The acquisition of Teleo fits some very useful capabilities into MSN and our 170 million users will quickly make use of them.

This move really does show that VoIP is becoming not just accepted but something that really is ready for the masses. It will not be long before VoIP becomes so common that it will fade into invisibility.