MCI, Microsoft Collaborate On Convergence Solutions

Windows Messenger's realtime communications capability, or instant messaging, will be integrated with MCI's Advantage converged communications solution.

By using the two services together, customers will have one communications tool handling voice, data and Internet information realtime via MCI's IP network.

The deal follows MCI's disclosure of plans Tuesday to focus its investment and services strategy on converged networking solutions.

MCI executives cited many reasons for the strategy, topmost of which was the melding of the computing and telecommunications worlds.

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"We're not only talking about traditional voice and data convergence, but also referring to the fact that the computing world and telecommunications world is coming together and we see MCI with its IP networking experience as being well-suited to be a success in this convergence," said Jim DeMerlis, vice president of product management at MCI.

MCI is already recruiting VARs to go after the midmarket's need for convergence, said Ron McMurtrie, vice president of global marketing at MCI. VARs will have access to the convergence solutions and be able to combine their own solutions with MCI's network and services to "attack the midmarket in partnership," he said.