Microsoft, MCI plan PC-to-phone service

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 7:36 am

Microsoft Corp. and MCI Inc. said Monday they’ll soon offer a service that lets customers place calls from their personal computers to regular phones.

But the service will permit only outbound calls at first, even as rivals Yahoo Inc. and America Online Inc. allow instant messaging users to receive calls from conventional phones as well as to call out.

Microsoft and MCI said they will begin a test run of the service in the United States this week. Broader availability is set for the first half of next year.

The service will use technology from Teleo Inc., a small startup Microsoft acquired in August. Teleo’s Internet telephony software lets people make voice calls by clicking on phone numbers appearing on a Web pages.

Rates will start at 2.3 cents a minute during the test period. Pricing for the final version will be set when the service launches next year.

Customers will sign up for the computer-to-phone calling service through its new Windows Live Messenger software, which will eventually replace MSN Messenger, and buy prepaid calling time from MCI in $5, $10 and $25 blocks. MCI will handle account management, customer service and billing.

Source: AP


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