MCI's web conferencing offering with Microsoft will allow users to make PCs into phones, said MCI president and chief executive officer Michael Capellas at the Networld+Interop conference in Las Vegas.
"This is where it starts. We will completely embed telephony into the desktop with full streaming audio and video capabilities," Capellas said.
The companies will jointly develop and market systems for communication and collaboration using Microsoft Office Live Meeting which will let Windows users easily share documents with other users live over a network, starting from any point in an application.
For example, by clicking a button, a user who gets a Microsoft Word document in an Outlook e-mail message can start sharing that document live with the group that was copied on the e-mail.
The partnership reflects a larger vision of convergence of all types of content and communications on a single IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure. The complexity of making this happen can be hidden from end users and content and application developers, he said.
The service, called MCI Net Conferencing powered by Microsoft Office Live Meeting, is available now and is aimed at small businesses as well as large enterprises.
It will cut costs for small businesses and reduce the major IT support requirement that many collaboration systems carry today. For most users, the only required step will be a software download to their PCs.
MCI will lead with the joint Microsoft offering when selling web conferencing to new accounts but will continue to offer and support its existing WebEx service for the foreseeable future.
Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service