MCI Adds Microsoft IM to Business Bundle

MCI has added Microsoft’s instant messaging (IM) product to its bundled business offering, further proof that the IM technology has evolved from teen chat sensation to corporate communications staple.

Windows Messenger includes instant messaging (IM), real-time voice and video, application sharing, whiteboard sharing and file transfer.

It will be part of MCI’s Advantage package which provides small and medium-sized businesses with local, long distance, and Internet access on a single connection to an Internet protocol network.

“Customers can now maximize their voice, video and multimedia applications anywhere, anytime,” said Ron McMurtrie, an MCI vice president at MCI.

Terms of the deal between Ashburn, Va.-based MCI (formerly WorldCom) and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft were not disclosed.

For Microsoft and its IM rivals, AOL and Yahoo!, allying with carriers who can get their service in front of users is important. Much of the recent activity has been in the wireless field.

Last year, Microsoft signed a slew of international messaging deals including: KPN Mobile, Rogers AT&T Wireless, Canadian carriers Bell Mobility and TELUS, Swisscom, Belgium’s Proximus, Denmark’s TDC Mobile, Austria-based ONE/Connect, Norway’s Telenor, and Turkey’s Turkcell.

In the U.S., Microsoft has agreements with Verizon Wireless to provide its WAP-based IM client on the carrier’s phones, and SMS-based IM deals with Sprint and Nextel.

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