Alright, so the average consumer probably has little need for yet another
competitor in the VoIP
handset market, but it looks like Microsoft
is delving into a slightly different arena as it hopes to create new marketshare to snag. Presumably branching from the firm's unified communications platform
, Gates & Co. are looking to try their luck in the "global business telecoms market" by developing and manufacturing several telephony devices. For cube-dwellers, the firm is concocting its own software / hardware kit which connects users via a "discreet wireless earpiece," a USB stick, and call management software that should hit "public trials" soon. Additionally, the $3,000 RoundTable video conferencing
machine touts four webcams for a 360-degree view of the room, as well as VoIP connectivity to save on long distance costs. Interestingly, Microsoft is being "forced" to manufacturer said products on its own, as it couldn't seem to find a willing supplier to construct such a "disruptive" product. No word on when these units will hit the corporate pipeline, but if all goes as planned, you could be chatting on a Microsoft-branded handset before too long.