So Microsoft has announced its “Echoes” project, a unified communications platform for telcos that, via the windows live service, seeks to;

  • Sync Address book contacts over the air
  • Ensure that IM messages work seamlessly with SMS
  • Windows Live Messenger contacts get local numbers
  • Voice calls from Messenger on PC to mobiles
  • Give some sort of presence verification

Mary Jo got down with some hyperbole, saying that this was an attempt by Microsoft to eliminate phone numbers (in her defence she was direct quoting Bill Gates). Zoli returned with a well reasoned retort saying that Echoes, rather than eliminating phone numbers, simply makes it more convenient for people to use them. He also touched on the fact that these services are already offered (in part or in full) by a number of other players.

And therein lies the rub – for unified communications to be, well unified, it needs to be all inclusive – MS Echoes lock-in plus Skype lock-in plus Grandcentral lock-in does not equal unification by any measure I’m comfortable with.

No what is really needed is for a third party to offer the unification service, achieve buy in from all the various players and look, act and feel neutral.

So, whereto for Echoes? Well it is an MS product, MS have some serious relationships with the telcos so there is every chance that it will work. Whether or not it should of course is another discussion. In any case, and for the current and ex-pat antipodeans out there, I leave you with another Echo – one firmly emanating from the eighties.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Ms’s Telco strategy is wider than this and tbh double edged. 1) least they have a telco strategy, Google on the other hand isn’t making too many friends there (and there is strong rumour that they are paying considerable amounts to Telco’s to get ‘net neutrality’).
    but back to MS, 2) they are also launching hosted business communications services with telcos.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.