Intel, Microsoft setting Internet phone standards Companies to improve voice communication, allow video conferencing

March 12, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

REDMOND, Wash. -- Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. said yesterday that they are setting technical standards that will let computer users place phone calls and do video conferencing through the Internet.

Intel, the world's biggest computer chip maker, and Microsoft, the world's biggest personal computer software company, said they have the backing of 100 technology companies including No. 1 PC maker Compaq Computer Corp.

Computer users with special software, a high-speed modem and a connection to the Internet can talk with other computer users linked to the global computer network for the price of a local phone call. Companies such as VocalTec Ltd., Quarterdeck Corp. and Camelot Corp. sell the software that turns PCs into phones that operate over the Internet.

Intel and Microsoft said they will work together to improve the quality of that voice communication and devise standards to allow video conferencing via PCs.

Because of their dominance of the PC industry, Microsoft and Intel can dictate technical standards to other PC-related companies.

The International Telecommunications Union, a standards-setting body, and the Internet Engineering Task Force, which sets Internet software standards, also are backing Intel and Microsoft. Other companies that have agreed to work with the pair include computer network equipment makers Cisco Systems Inc. and 3Com Corp.

Microsoft said it will include the technology in future versions of its Windows 95 operating system, the computer program that controls the basic functions of 75 percent of the world's personal computers.

Intel plans to use the technology in its ProShare products, a line of equipment that lets computer users in different offices see and hear each other through their PCs.

Pub Date: 3/12/96

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