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Spring VON Show: Microsoft Underwhelms With VoIP Beta -- Analysis

The biggest name at the Spring 2006 VON show in San Jose made the smallest splash.

There had been a good deal of anticipation over Microsoft's development of video- and voice-over-IP capabilities for its Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Messenger platforms, which are still in beta. But when Microsoft finally showed off its work, the results were less than breathtaking.

Microsoft vice president Blake Irving showed a PC running the Live Mail client initiate a video call -- but unfortunately, the call traveled only to another spot in the San Jose Convention Center, and not out across the Internet.

During another part of the presentation, the product was unable to connect to a regular phone number. And the presentation was short on details about Microsoft's upcoming VoIP products, including costs, who will pay for calls, and how deeply the products will integrate with the PSTN.

More interesting news came from other companies at the conference. D-Link for example, introduced a Wi-Fi phone for making free calls anywhere in the world where there's Wi-Fi. The company claims it is the first pocket-sized Wi-Fi phone to ship with a full-featured softphone from Internet telephony services provider TelTel.

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