RealTime IT News

Microsoft Buy Will Help Office Find a Voice

UPDATED: Microsoft has purchased privately held media-streams.com to add Voice over IP capabilities to Office applications and servers.

It's Microsoft's second recent acquisition in the space and comes as a slew of Internet, communications and software industry players buy or build VoIP offerings.

Zurich, Switzerland-based media-streams.com said its e-phone product turns e-mail into a phone by integrating corporate voice communication into Microsoft Outlook.

The five-year-old firm will be a Microsoft subsidiary, reporting to the Real-Time Collaboration Group under corporate vice president Anoop Gupta. All 23 media-streams.com employees will be offered jobs with Microsoft. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In a statement, Gupta said that adding voice to Office will "enable exciting new collaboration scenarios that will improve individual and team collaboration."

The pickup dovetails with Microsoft's overarching goal of melding e-mail, instant messaging, short message service, voice and conferencing to save users time. (Another move to boost productivity and availability was this week's announcement of Office Live.)

In a letter to employees, customers and partners posted on its Web site, media-streams.com executives said Microsoft will continue to deliver its products until they are integrated. Microsoft did not release a timeline however.

"Microsoft will work to incorporate the appropriate aspects of media-streams.com's technology into its Office Real-Time Collaboration platform -- Live Communications Server -- over time to fulfill customer and partner needs," a Microsoft spokeswoman told internetnews.com.

Microsoft was aware of media-streams.com before closing the deal. The small company is scheduled to be part of the Redmond, Wash., software giant's IT Forum 05 event this month in Barcelona.

In August, Microsoft bought Teleo, a developer of VoIP, PSTN termination and click-to-call functionality. That technology can be used to bring VoIP to the consumer.

Others are opening their corporate coffers as well. The deal is just the latest in a flurry of VoIP technology acquisitions this year, highlighted by eBay's $2.6 billion run at Skype.

In other Microsoft acquisition news, the company purchased the FolderShare service from Austin, Texas-based ByteTaxi for an undisclosed sum. FolderShare is a file synchronization and remote access technology to help users access information across multiple devices. The move supports Microsoft's Windows Live initiative.