Yahoo Sings Praises Of Messenger With Voice

    March 22, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The portal company launched version 7.5 of its Yahoo Messenger with Voice client along with pricing aimed at undercutting eBay-owned rival Skype.

The global telecom industry and rival PC-to-phone services just received an unpleasant wake-up call from Yahoo. A new version of Yahoo Messenger with Voice offers VoIP phone calling at rates even lower than those from Skype.

Yahoo’s service combines voice and instant messaging, and extends the calling capabilities beyond the PC-to-PC calls that are free with its service. An annual fee of $29.90 purchases a Phone In number that regular phones can call to reach one’s computer. Currently Yahoo offers this service to US users only.

Using Phone Out to call regular phones incurs a rate per minute of under 2 cents for calls made in the US and to over 30 countries. Yahoo requires users to purchase prepaid credits in $10 or $25 blocks

A Reuters report noted how Yahoo has switched to a new type of software to handle its voice traffic:

In response to consumer complaints, Yahoo has dropped X10, the previous provider of software used to control sound quality and has signed up Global IP Sound as a supplier instead. The move brings Yahoo’s audio quality exactly in line with rivals AOL, Google and Skype who rely on Global IP Sound themselves.

Messenger for Voice has free voice mail, and a Contact Search Bar that retrieves contacts quickly from the user’s Yahoo Address Book, either by name or number. It also displays a small advertisement at the bottom of the screen, offering Yahoo another slice of screen real estate to sell to its ad clients.

Most importantly, the debut of Messenger for Voice gives Yahoo a head start over Microsoft and AOL on PC to phone calls. Both rivals have the software and the plans to make these capabilities available at undetermined points in the future.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.