Thursday, July 17, 2008

Microsoft Sells Phone Cards For Windows Live Messenger VoIP

Taipei, July 17, 2008 (CENS)--Microsoft Taiwan announced July 14 that users of its Windows Live Messenger voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) service now can buy value-stored cards to use the service at over 2,000 convenient stores throughout the island.

The Taiwan branch of Microsoft launched the service late June, but users have been limited to buy credits online by signing up as members. The service allows users to make local, long-distance and international calls on the Internet at much lower rates than offered by fixed-line network operators. For instance, making local calls on the service`s network costs only NT$0.66 per minute and NT$3.2 per minute for mobile calls.

Microsoft Taiwan cooperates with Chief Telecom Inc., a subsidiary of Taiwan`s No.1 telecom provider Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd., to offer the service.

The partnership is expected to threaten PChome Online of Taiwan, which is contracted to offer Skype-based VoIP service, in consideration of eight million MSN users in Taiwan. Worldwide, Skype has signed up 390 million users including seven million in Taiwan.

PChome Online`s executives pointed out that on top of the less expensive telephone service Skype had developed value-added services like voice mail messaging and call transit services, which they stressed are not offered elsewhere.

VoIP phone maker IPEVO, 30% owned by PChome Online, will offer phones dedicated to MSN format. IPEVO was formally a hardware business unit under PChome Online, but was spun off into an independent company last year and now can freely supply its products to service providers besides PChome Online.

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