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Summary:

Yahoo, which has already released a new version of its Communicator (Instant Messaging) product overseas, plans to launch a similar client next week, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The new release of the IM client has a brand new voice core, and it […]

Yahoo, which has already released a new version of its Communicator (Instant Messaging) product overseas, plans to launch a similar client next week, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The new release of the IM client has a brand new voice core, and it allows users to make phone calls to PSTN phones as well, in addition to PC-to-PC calls.

The pricing for the callout numbers is not certain as yet, though the current generation communicator allows unlimited incoming calls for $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year. The new offering, according to those in the know is likely to put Yahoo on an equal footing with Skype. Yahoo, clearly has designs on stealing market share from Skype.

As part of this new release, Yahoo is also going to incorporate banner ads in the Communicator client and will use some of the inventory to educate folks about how to use the built in phone/conference type features. The thinking within Yahoo is that by since they serve a more mainstream audience, a little handholding is not such a bad thing. Of course, the advertising revenues could help defray the “everyday low prices” on voice minutes.

While walking down the VoN showfloor, I discovered a wifi phone which will be sold by AT&T and has a link-up with Yahoo IM client. It looked pretty slick. Seems like Yahoo is getting serious about VoIP and Voice opportunities. It took them long enough, it seems.

  1. I love this. I’m a skype user who has had endless technical issues with skype. Lots of malfunctions of the software. I’ve been looking for a replacement and this may be it. Yahoo! have shown that their IM client can handle itself.

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  2. hopefully this won’t turn your computer into a toaster oven like skype does :-)

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  3. In some parts of the USA Verizon DSL only supports Yahoo on MAC systems. How do you think VZ will respond to Yahoo’s offering low cost
    voip services competing againist VZ Voicewing? Seems I read somewhere recently that VZ was going to turn up the sales and marketing of Voicewing in 2006.

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  4. It’s getting complicated isn’t it. The end-user client is coming from all directions. I believe the IM’s will be the next phones.

    Yahoo will definitely have better customer service and problem resolution than Skype.

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  5. what if they had a meebo voip client?

    where you can call/(voip IM) other people, from one platform, on logon, thro a browser

    confusing? I dont even know if im making sense

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  6. Where is the rumored beta of the new Yahoo Messenger w/VOIP for Mac OS X ?

    Last I read, it was supposed to come out by now.

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  7. the os-x communicator is still under construction. i think the UI is what they are working on right now, according to my sources. will keep you guys posted.

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  8. CyKiller here once again to provide a little input, moreover to something I saw from “foodswami” with the comment about meebo and VoIP. It is going to happen, and a lot of all-in-one IM clients are soon to be the AOI VoIP client which tells us something about the future of communication and pricing on minutes. As voice gets cheaper VoIP companies will have to find a way to actually make money around charging for voice and the optional features they are providing.

    Yahoo is following the trend which is the answer to the question, advertisement. With something like meebo with VoIP all calls would be theoretically free to and from any IM client. I am sure these VoIP companies know this which is why we see a lot of main search engine companies (big advertising) riding the bandwagon of VoIP. They are taking a community and presenting them with a communication structure which was missing from the IM clients. As VoIP matures and the devices that carries it we will see more advertising which will make or break the company depending on the output to the consumer.

    foodswami you don’t sound confusing at all, you just told the future ;)

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  9. OM, whose network do you think YAHOO will use??? given the YAHOO/SBC relationship of ole DSL, I am betting ATT myself!!!!
    Skibare
    given VZ going after the “””TUGBOAT”” qwest, wonder who else will consolidate?????? I need a scorecard to ”score” who is sleeping with whom and who wants to Shag whom!

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  10. “Yahoo, which has already released a new version of its Communicator (Instant Messaging) product overseas, plans to launch a similar client next week…”

    I’m skeptical about this story, from unspecified “sources”.
    Firstly, I’ve never heard the term “Communicator” in relation to Yahoo (Netscape maybe, Yahoo never!) – the product is called Yahoo Messenger With Voice, and has been available worldwide for months.

    However, in most countries it still allows PC-to-PC only (free), but 8 “test” countries have – since January – access to PC-to-Phone service (“PhoneOut”, similar to but much cheaper than “SkypeOut”).
    I’ve used this regularly from New Zealand here to call friends’ phones worldwide – ease of use is unbelievable!

    Details are at http://voice.yahoo.com – but this site displays quite differently depending on which group of countries you’re in. (See earlier story, and screenshots, at http://www.bigblueball.com/forums/yahoo-messenger-news/33206-yahoo-undercut-skype-phone-rates.html#post188139&referrerid=62526 )

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