Microsoft Drops VoIP from Windows Live Messenger

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Microsoft Drops VoIP from Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft Live Messenger 8.5
Just saw this article that reiterates Microsoft's decision last year that the existing VoIP partnership with Verizon would be terminating in 2008. (See 2006 launch of Windows Live Messenger w/ Verizon deal) As of today you can use Windows Live Messenger users to make regular landline and mobile phone calls, but this functionality is set to expire on July 15th 2008 in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the USA on August 31st 2008.

Once again, Microsoft's consumer-play VoIP offerings seems very incoherent with many stops & starts. They're on again off again... First, they added SIP to Windows Messenger and it worked with 3rd party SIP ITSPs such as Net2Phone. but then they launched MSN Messenger and pulled out the SIP functionality for this other version. Now it's called Windows Live Messenger, with the latest version 8.5 just launching yesterday and it doesn't have SIP-to-PSTN functionality either. It is SIP-based at the core of course, just no SIP-to-PSTN gateway/ITSP functionality.

Although Microsoft's consumer VoIP offerings seem to be fading - perhaps conceding to competitors like Skype, Gizmo Project, SightSpeed, and others, Microsoft does seem to be doing quite well in the VoIP business arena with their Office Communications Server 2007 unified communications platform.

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