Microsoft had announced that the existing VOIP partnership with Verizon would terminate in 2008. Verizon Web Calling has powered the VOIP integration in Windows Live Messengerm and allows Windows Live Messenger users to call friends and family using regular landlines and mobile phones.
According to a Microsoft spokesperson, this service will terminate on the following dates:
- EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) - July 15th 2008,
- USA - August 31st 2008.
They confirmed that so far, no replacement service has been identified.
“Microsoft is actively investigating a successor to Verizon Web Calling in Windows Live Messenger in EMEA and the U.S. and hopes to offer the service again in the coming months. We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers.”
Last month, Mary Jo Foley posted about a service codenamed Echoes, which throw light on Microsoft’s own VOIP platform plans:
Step 1: “Echoes will assign a local mobile number to each Windows Live contact”
Step 5: “Voice calls can be connected through Echoes directly from the mobile to the Windows Live Messenger user’s PC”
Mary Jo also mentioned this new functionality shipping with Windows Live Messenger v9 betas, following on from the TAP trials being undertaken in Europe and Asia over this summer, expected v9 ship date of Q4 2008.
Echoes seems to be perhaps a more realistic aim for Windows Live Wave 4, which would mean Microsoft needs a stop-gap VOIP provider for the next 18 months.