Yahoo Buys Into VoIP

UPDATED: Yahoo acquired VoIP provider Dialpad Communications on Tuesday to bolster its computer-to-computer telephony service.

At its Web site, Dialpad Communications officials stated its software will be used as a core component for Yahoo’s voice communications products across its portal network, as well as in its instant messaging (IM) application.

According to Dialpad officials, Dialpad’s PSTN calling features will be added to Yahoo Messenger, allowing users of the IM service to make calls directly to landline or mobile phones.

It’s added capability for Yahoo, which last month launched a beta version of its PC-to-PC VoIP Messenger service. The service was an update to the IM platform’s existing voice chat service.

Terrell Karlsten, a Yahoo spokeswoman, wouldn’t comment on the acquisition’s price tag or provide details over the use of the technology, though she said officials are looking at ways to incorporate Dialpad within Messenger and across its network.

“Anytime we acquire new technology or new expertise, we look at ways to take advantage of it across all our different services,” she said. “We’re not talking about the details, but it is something we are evaluating.”

She did say Yahoo expects to have the integrated technology public in the next few months.

Yahoo Messenger is based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard, a standard supported within Dialpad’s software.

Vincent Paquet, Dialpad vice president of business development and marketing, would not comment on the price tag for the acquisition or when the company expects its product to be integrated into the Yahoo Messenger voice service. He did say the company’s 40 employees would be relocating to Yahoo’s facility in Sunnyvale, Calif.

“We’re very excited that we’ll be scaling our IP-based technology for the benefit of millions of Yahoo users,” he said. “It will bring the ability to bring IP-to-PSTN connectivity for current and future Yahoo services.”

Rather than use the traditional switch-based telephone network to route calls, Dialpad is routed through VoIP gateways in more than 200 countries using its dialpadchameleon client, cutting out much of the cost to a phone call. Some traditional phone features, like 911 and collect calls, are not available with the service.

The company will continue to accept new subscribers under its calling plans, dialpadmonthly, dialpadUSA, Europe discount plans and dialpadprepaid, but has suspended new subscribers to its dialpadcallingcard service.

VoIP is garnering a lot of attention among Internet portal companies, as more and more users subscribe to broadband service, the preferred medium for Internet telephony.

Rumors have Google looking to provide a VoIP service to tap into its huge following, while Microsoft has added Internet telephony to MSN Messenger 7.0.

AOL launched a VoIP service for its subscribers in March.

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