Microsoft prepares entry into phone market

Microsoft Corporation is preparing to release--of all things--a 900 MHz cordless phone in November that will work with your PC and custom voice recognition software to provide advanced features unavailable in competing devices. The Microsoft Cordless Phone System extends the Caller ID capability now offered in many areas with the following abilities:

  • Create personalized greetings for different callers.

  • Block unwanted callers.

  • Allow high-priority callers to get through.
  • Hear who is calling through the headset using a feature called Caller ID Announce.

  • Place calls and check messages using voice commands ("Call Dad", "Return call," etc.).

  • Create individual voice mailboxes for family members or groups.

  • Log calls on a PC.

  • Integrate with Outlook address book.
"Never before has a cordless telephone tapped so much of the PC's power to expand the usefulness of existing caller services and add new functionality," said Rick Thompson, vice president of the hardware group at Microsoft. "The Microsoft Cordless Phone System will revolutionize the way busy families, professionals and home entrepreneurs manage their important phone calls and messages."

The Microsoft Cordless Phone System will be available in November for $200. It requires a Windows 95/98 PC with an available serial port (Microsoft decided against USB so that more customers could use it) and a sound card. The PC must be turned on for many of the features to work

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