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TMCNet:  Skype@Home Telephone Products Coming?

[April 20, 2012]

Skype@Home Telephone Products Coming?

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here:

Today, Rich Tehrani wrote about Microsoft "working on Skype Everywhere Initiative" based on another job listing. Just a few days ago I wrote about a Microsoft job listing was pointing toward Microsoft and Skype building a HTML5 Web version of Skype.

Rich believes there are some good synergies with Microsoft and Skype that can result in a whole like of Skype at home phone products (Skype@Home?) including DECT 6.0 phones. The problem with DECT wireless phones over WiFi phones is you need a base unit, which adds to the cost. Wi-Fi phones can just connect to the Wi-Fi access point with no additional hardware necessary.

However, what if the next XBox 360 has a built-in DECT transceiver? Or what if Microsoft designs a DECT transceiver on a USB stick that you can install in one of the Xbox 360's USB ports and then the XBox 360 is now your centralized gaming, video entertainment, and telephone system all-in-one. It can even act as your answering machine and record your voice messages, but even cooler you can be in the middle of a game and screen the inbound caller using your Xbox Live headset or your Xbox 360's default speakers. I'm sure you could have it set to "whisper mode" so the inbound caller's voice doesn't drown out the pleasure of explosions and other video game sound effects. smiley-laughing

This has serious potential and with the power of the Xbox 360 you could really build a powerful home PBX system. Heck, Microsoft could make it marketable as a SMB IP-PBX. But perhaps we don't want to go down that road considering what happened to Microsoft Response Point. We'll stick with the consumer-side... When you consider many people are killing their home landline in favor of using their cell phone, Google Voice, or Skype, Microsoft wouldn't even have to put a FXO port on the Xbox 360 for phone calls - everything would go over IP using Skype. The Xbox 360 would act as the "smart" gateway and could really enhance the phone experience - and let's not forget about the Kinect camera which could add Skype video conferencing to the mix. A mobile app could allow you to access your Xbox 360 system to retrieve voicemails or set your call forwarding rules. Perhaps Microsoft might even leverage their cloud for some of the storage.

Let's go over what the Xbox 360 would be capable of:

  • Video Games
  • Video streaming entertainment (Hulu, Netflix, ESPN, Sky TV, etc.)
  • Music
  • Skype Telephone phone system with advanced routing and voicemail capabilities.(hypothetical, but very possible)
  • Kinect integrated with Skype to enable video conferencing (hypotheical, but very likely)

The job listing says "Skype is seeking a motivated Software Engineer with an unrelenting drive for working on and solving customer-based issues. As a member of the Skype Xbox Engineering Team in London, you will have a strong technical background developing client and/or embedded software".

Wow, Microsoft is putting together a Skype Xbox Engineering team? That's like combining the Navy SEALS team with the Delta Force Team. Combined these teams can either kick ass and make some great products -- or their egos can get in the way, destroying team chemistry and resulting in classic trash talk such as, "I eat Green Berets for breakfast!" rofl

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