Microsoft to offer VOIP services with Japanese partners

Microsoft will work with Softbank and Japan Telecom to provide hosted communications services to SMBs next year.

Microsoft Corp. has struck a deal with Softbank BB Corp. and Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. to deliver more secure, integrated voice, e-mail, instant messaging and groupware services for the companies' customers in Japan, the three announced Wednesday.

The companies will begin trials of the services in the second quarter of 2006. The services are intended primarily for customers in small and medium-size businesses, the companies said. Microsoft will work through its Japanese subsidiary, Microsoft Co. Ltd.

The companies will draw on Softbank's expertise in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services, and Microsoft's Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services technology, a collection of hosted applications including Exchange Server 2003, Office Live Communications Server 2005, and Windows SharePoint Services, the companies said. Japan Telecom's role in the partnership will be to provide a managed IP network to deliver the services.

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