RealTime IT News

Microsoft Hangs Up on Vo-IP in Messenger

That clicking sound you hear is Microsoft hanging up on third-party Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers in a coming upgrade of Windows Messenger for XP.

Back in 2001, when Windows XP was being positioned as a clearinghouse for Internet-based services, VoIP firms jostled for placement on the platform, but, with Microsoft pushing its own .NET Voice Services, the ability to make phone calls from the instant messaging application will be removed.

VoIP pioneers Net2Phone and Deltathree confirmed Microsoft would be deleting the phone service in Windows Messenger. Both companies sent advisories to registered users notifying them of the change, which means VoIP minutes can only be purchased on the public MSN Messenger platform.

"[Microsoft's] .NET Voice Services is going to be removed from Windows Messenger when it is next released. If you choose to upgrade to the new Windows Messenger, the ability to "Make a Phone Call" will be removed," Net2Phone said, noting that the .NET service would still be available through MSN Messenger.

Deltathree's iConnectHere subsidiary also sent a similar notice to its subscribers, urging uses to stick with MSN Messenger instead of upgrading to the new Windows Messenger, which is the default IM client in the XP operating system.

The move also affects Korea's KT, Primus, CallServe and British Telecom which all had placement to hawk phone minutes in the platform.

Microsoft's decision to use in-house voice technology exclusively in the coming upgrade comes as no surprise. The company has already announced plans to bring speech to Web Services with the release of the .NET Speech SDK.

With the speech technologies fully incorporated in the new Windows Messenger for XP, the overall plan is to incorporate much of the functionality provided by IM (chat, Web conferencing, VoIP) on the operating system level.

Windows Messenger comes installed with XP and remains available even if a user installs the MSN Messenger application. However, only Windows Messenger can connect to the Communications Service and Exchange Instant Messaging, which are available mostly for enterprise clients.

For XP users still interested in VoIP services from the third-party providers, they can keep MSN Messenger running at the same time as Windows Messenger. A users can be signed in to both MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger at the same time, but not with the same .NET Passport account.