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Yahoo! has bought Dialpad, a VoIP net telephony provider, for an undisclosed sum. Launched in 1999, Dialpad offers either prepaid or monthly subscriptions for US customers to make budget calls to the POTS network. Its expertise is billing, something that isn't a strong point for runaway leader Skype, which uses a cobbled together Heath Robinson billing system based on, er, PayPal.

Nevertheless it's a slightly surprising move considering Yahoo!'s on-off VoIP strategy. Last month the company began beta testing PC to PC calling, a service it first introduced in 1999. But portal rival AOL already offers a full telephony service.

Yahoo! said time to market was the reason it moved in for Dialpad. ®

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