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Monday, September 05, 2005

Microsoft Makes Own VOIP Move with Teleo Purchase and Skype finds it's first mobile carrier

Looks like every major player is on the VOIP bandwagon. Skype, the Internet telephony software firm, has signed its first agreement with a mobile telecoms operator, taking its low-cost services beyond the desktop and on the road. Skype will next month deliver flat-rate services to E-Plus, Germany's third largest mobile operator - E-Plus has 9.8 million subscribers. Skype said it is also working with handset manufacturers, including Motorola, to offer its services on devices. The landmark deal will give E-Plus users access to fixed rate mobile internet access for €39.95 per month and free Skype voice over IP (VoIP) calling. Skype's chief executive, Niklas Zennstorm, said the deal brings the "value and convenience" of Skype's global internet communications experience to millions of mobile phone subscribers. E-Plus said Skype enables its to deliver the advantages of mobile and stationary internet access. E-Plus will expand Skype's existing worldwide subscriber base of 52 million, and comes as Microsoft this week took its first steps to rein-in two-year old Skype. Microsoft announced Wednesday that it has acquired Teleo, a provider of voice-over-IP software and services. Microsoft said it expects to fold Teleo's technology and expertise into its own VOIP product and service developments.VOIP technology is in MSN Messenger as well as a number of other Microsoft Corp. products and services, the Redmond, Wash., company said. With the acquisition of Teleo Inc., it will be able to bring VOIP deeper into projects under development for consumer applications. Founded in 2003, San Francisco-based Teleo designs software that allows users to make phone calls via their PCs. The company's service is already integrated with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer, with click-to-call dialing that lets users see outgoing phone numbers on their computer screens or through a Web site. A key part of Teleo's technology lies in providing the ability to make calls from a PC to a standard telephone or cell phone. This feature will likely be integrated into MSN Messenger by the end of the year, the company said. "Teleo has great technology [that allows it] to deliver superior VOIP quality and an excellent overall customer experience," said Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN Communications Services and Member Platform group at Microsoft, in a release. "This acquisition opens up infinite opportunities for Microsoft to enable even more relationship-centric communications experiences for our customers in the future," Irving said. Microsoft and Teleo did not provide financial details on the acquisition, but did say that members of the Teleo executive team would continue to work with MSN following the acquisition, and product developers from the company are expected to now join the MSN team. More here

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