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"Microsoft prepping its move into Voice over IP"
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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 20 March 2007 08:31
The Microsoft-TellMe hook-up: it's about beating Google
ARS Technica
By Ken Fisher | Published: March 18, 2007 - 07:21PM CT

Last week Microsoft announced the acquisition of TellMe Networks, a deal believed to be in the $900 million to $1 billion range. It's easy to overlook this acquisition as "yet another Microsoft buy," but given that this is the biggest purchase Microsoft has made since 2002, a closer look is merited.

. TellMe is a leader in voice-related technologies, and the company already massages a cool $100+ million in profit annually as a provider of call-center technologies. Chances are high that if you've talked to a computer on the other end of a phone call, you've talked to a TellMe system. Tellme powers more than 40 percent all of directory assistance calls in the US and also offers sports scores, movie times, and stock quotes in response to voice requests

Microsoft believes that VoIP is a Next Big Thing™, so to speak, and the company will be using TellMe's intellectual property in more than just mobile search, although mobile search is precisely where Microsoft hopes to deal a serious blow to Google. How so? Although Internet and traditional telecommunications networks are converging, the market for both mobile search and computer-aided services are expected to explode. Keep in mind that the lion's share of Google's revenues stem directly from search-based advertising. Microsoft hopes to upstage that by becoming the leader in mobile search, and there's reason to believe that mobile search could be just as profitable.

Take something as simple as 411 directory assistance. Telcos charge between 50 cents and $2.00 for directory assistance, and each year there are more than 6 billion such requests made in the US alone. As mobile phones continue their march towards being true extensions of the desktop computer, this is only going to get bigger as customers start using phones as navigational devices and shopping aids (among many other uses).... More

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