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Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and MCI Connect on Internet Phone Service

Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and MCI Connect on Internet Phone Service

Microsoft and MCI announced Monday that they will work together to develop a network to allow people to place phone calls from personal computers to virtually any landline phone by using Windows Live software with its Voice over Internet Protocol capabilities combined with MCI`s global phone network reports M&C.

The deal will allow consumers to place calls for as little as 2.3 cents a minute -- undercutting rates MCI offers existing customers . For Microsoft, the partnership puts it in competition with a growing field of major Internet companies offering free or low-cost Web-based calling services -- from international Web-calling company Skype, a unit of eBay Inc., to Time Warner Inc.'s America Online and Yahoo Messenger reports Reuters. "The intent is to be very price competitive with who is out there," Patty Proferes, senior vice president of Mass Markets and Corporate Advertising for MCI, said in a phone interview.

The two companies said the new service, to be known as MCI Web Calling for Windows Live Call, will be available through Windows Live Messenger -- Microsoft's recent name change for its MSN Messenger, which counts 185 million active users worldwide.

The companies are presently testing the service as part of a Windows Live Messenger limited beta available only in the US. They plan to deliver the beta to France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. With the beta version, customers can place calls to some 220 countries.

Further details can be found at http://ideas.live.com/.













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