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Yahoo! tests! VoIP!

Guns for Skype with full duplex voice chat

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Yahoo! has begun beta-testing its latest Messenger client, rewritten to support VoIP-quality, full duplex, voice chat over broadband. The software works around firewalls using NAT but doesn't, as yet, reach to the POTS phone network - it's PC to PC only, for now. Leader Skype offers this capability, albeit thanks to a hokey billing system based on PayPal.

Yahoo! is lagging someway behind rival portal AOL. The latter introduced a VoIP client six weeks ago. AOL's VoIP client isn't quite integrated with its IM client, but it is fully featured phone service, available in 40 cities for $18.99 a month up, with plans at $29.99 and $39.99 monthly.

As Sun Microsystems' VP for broadband and media Glenn Edens pointed out in a recent interview, that's considerably more than the $20 cost of adding a long range plan to your old POTS phone bill. But that's the price of staying at the bleeding edge of emergent technology, we guess.

Windows users can download the bootstrap executable from here. ®

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