I just got this email at 10pm EST:
I wanted to touch base with you on some news Yahoo! is announcing around our voice efforts, and see if you are interested in receiving the details under embargo today. We are extending our VoIP platform beyond the PC and have a new relationship with a strong global consumer electronics brand.
Let me know if you are interested in receiving the details under embargo, which lifts at 2:00 a.m. Pacific Time tonight.
Now let me put on my speculation cap. I'm guessing it's Sony. They are probably the first strong global consumer electronics brand that comes to mind. Maybe the Sony Playstation 3 will have Yahoo Messenger included? Who knows?
Or it could be a deal with a mobile phone company like Nokia or Ericsson to ofer Yahoo Messenger on their mobile phones, but I don't really classify them as as "consumer electronics companies".
Any other speculation?
Well, I wasn't too far off. I said it could be a mobile phone company and indeed it is. Almost mentioned Siemens in my original post too. But enough slapping myself on the back - besides it isn't a Siemens mobile phone, it's a USB phone device. Here's the press release:
Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Siemens Communications, Inc., today announced an agreement with Yahoo! to extend VoIP calling capabilities to Siemens' Gigaset Cordless Telephones.The relationship between Siemens and Yahoo! Messenger with Voice will enable consumers to enjoy voice-enhanced services not only at a PC, but from anywhere within the home.
Siemens and Yahoo! will offer the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB adapter, which IP-enables Gigaset telephones with the VoIP calling capabilities of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.The adapter will allow users to make and receive calls through the free PC-to-PC calling feature of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, and make cost-effective calls to fixed line phones through the Phone In and Phone Out features.Using their Gigaset handsets, customers will be able to easily access their Yahoo! Messenger friends' lists, view contacts and their presence status and change their personal presence status.The adapter is compatible with Gigaset cordless phones introduced after the fall of 2004 and that belong to the C-Class and above.The adapter will be available by the third quarter of 2006.
"It is rare that a business alliance is as seamless and complementary as the one we have just entered into with Yahoo!," said Martin Kinne, CEO of Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices."While Siemens provides the plug-and-play cordless phone devices, Yahoo! delivers the ‘killer-app' communication features that make in-home IP attractive to consumers."
The relationship reinforces the strategies of both players. Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices continues to expand Smart Home Connectivity by enabling a plug-and-play, in-home VoIP network and the associated feature enhancements and cost benefits. Specifically, users will be able to place free PC-to-PC voice calls, cost-effective calls to fixed line and mobile networks over the Internet and have access to their personal Yahoo! Messenger with Voice contact lists and corresponding presence information on their Gigaset.
"Yahoo! seeks to provide online products and services essential to people's lives. Our collaboration with Siemens enables us to offer our Yahoo! Messenger with Voice services beyond the PC, on additional devices. Working with Siemens will greatly increase the potential for new and existing users to take advantage of our rich communications suite," said Brad Garlinghouse, VP of Yahoo! Communications Products. "Today's announcement is a first step in a relationship that will expand and continue to benefit both Yahoo! and Siemens customers for a long time to come."
The global agreement gives users of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice the opportunity to order the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB adapter from a variety of retailers that can be found through the Yahoo! Web site.
About the Gigaset M34 USB
The Gigaset M34 USB makes it possible to take advantage of the economical calling and messaging service features of Internet telephony from anywhere at home using a cordless Gigaset phone. The Gigaset M34 USB is easily set up. It is simply inserted into an available USB slot on a PC, and the wireless DECT connection to the Internet is established via the Gigaset docking station to the handset. The Gigaset M34 USB not only offers the possibility of saving money with Internet telephony, but to keep track of recent voice messages from a list on the cordless phone display and to listen to Internet radio via the phones speakers.