Microsoft Acquires VOIP Provider

Updated: The software giant plans to incorporate Media-Streams' technologies into its corporate IM platform, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, and its Office productivity tools.

Microsoft Corp. said today it has acquired AG, a 23-person company based in Zurich that develops business applications based on VOIP technology.

Microsoft plans to incorporate Media-Streams technologies into its corporate IM platform, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server (LCS), and its Office productivity tools. Media-Streams technology is already integrated with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.

The move will help Microsoft move toward its goal of uniting communications such as e-mail, IM, SMS, voice, and audio, video and Web conferencing, said Ed Wadbrook, director of VOIP strategies for Microsofts Real Time Collaboration group.

Microsofts unified messaging strategy is the reason Texas Tech University chose to implement Live Communications Server, said Sam Segran, CIO of Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas.

The university, which has so far rolled out the technology to almost 700 users, sees the tool as a way to help different groups within the student body, faculty and administration more quickly and efficiently communicate with each other, said Segran.

Segran said he would like to see voice communications more integrated into LCS, but that before VOIP is a fully reliable business tool, more industry cooperation, increased reliability in the VOIP service delivery, customer confidence, and legislative realignment are required.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes on the heels of Microsofts acquisition of VOIP startup Teleo Inc. this summer. Microsoft is incorporating Teleos technology into its consumer IM service, MSN Messenger.

Microsoft isnt the only company opening its wallet lately to acquire VOIP technologies.

In August, online auction house eBay acquired VOIP specialist Skype Technologies for $2.6 billion in cash and stock, and as much as an additional $1.5 billion in future performance-based payments. Earlier that summer, Yahoo picked up consumer Internet telephony provider Dialpad Communications Inc.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Texas Tech Universitys Sam Segran.

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