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Microsoft will integrate VoIP into Vista

As Microsoft’s forthcoming flagship operating system, Windows Vista, was released to manufacturing on Wednesday, the company’s outspoken CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that VoIP would be an integral part of the platform.

Although Microsoft has offered various software packages with VoIP functionality in the past, the company will include internet telephony at the operating system level and will combine it with email, video and instant messaging.

Speaking to reporters at the Microsoft partner conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Ballmer said that VoIP would be included by early next year.

The Redmond Giant’s CEO was scant on details about how the technology would be included, but reports suggest it may be rolled out with the next version of Microsoft Office and Outlook.

Dustin Kehoe, senior analyst at Current Analysis which has just produced a report on Skype in the enterprise, says the threat from the Redmond software camp shouldn’t be a big worry for Skype. “Skype now has 120 million users worldwide” says Kehoe “of course Microsoft’s entry into the market is a threat but I just don’t see people leaving Skype for an alternative MS application.”

Despite repeated requests, Skype refused to comment.

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