Microsoft has launched a public beta of Windows Live Messenger, an instant-messaging program that features international PC-to-telephone calls with video capability.
As part of the beta, Uniden and Royal Philips Electronics will sell cordless phones that work with the service, allowing people to make both Messenger-based and landline phone calls from the handset.
The current telecoms partner is Verizon and the service is available across the US and Europe. This is another key step in Windows Live! and Microsoft's response to Google. By the end of this year most Windows Live services will be pretty much fully operational.