Hey - I was poking around the MS site and came across this:
Original Microsoft Phone Press Release: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1996/jan96/phnvcepr.mspx
Microsoft Phone Now Available From Leading Manufacturers
Microsoft Corp. announced that leading manufacturers are now shipping voice modems and complete PC systems that provide innovative computer-telephony applications based on Microsoft Phone.
REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 30, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that leading manufacturers are now shipping voice modems and complete PC systems that provide innovative computer-telephony applications based on Microsoft® Phone.
Microsoft Phone is a powerful and easy-to-use software-only speakerphone and answering machine made possible by new communications technologies available only in the Microsoft Windows® 95 operating system and by new, voice-enabled modems. Manufacturers offering Microsoft Phone products and systems include Creative Labs Inc., Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc., Micron Electronics Inc. and Miro Computer Products.
"Computers are already essential in fax- and data-modem communications. Now, with Microsoft Phone, Microsoft is extending the PC into the world of voice-based telephone communications," said Brad Chase, general manager of the personal systems division at Microsoft. "The rich communications technologies in Windows 95 combined with the product offerings of our hardware and OEM partners result in a powerful and integrated computer-telephony experience for end users."
Microsoft Phone Turns PC Into Comprehensive Voice Communications Center
Microsoft Phone transforms a voice modem into a comprehensive voice communications center, helping both individuals and small businesses to be more productive.
Users can create centralized message centers that turn PCs into speakerphones; store all e-mail, voice and fax messages in a single inbox; let callers hear announcements, leave messages or receive faxes by pressing their phone keys; and use text-to-speech technology to read electronic-mail messages aloud over the phone. In addition, Microsoft Phone uses speech-recognition technology that enables users to store frequently used numbers in memory and to dial merely by saying a name.
With Microsoft Phone, users can also set up password-protected voice mailboxes at home or on the job. In addition, they can tell the computer to notify them automatically when new messages arrive via pager or telephone. Intuitive Windows Wizards in Microsoft Phone make it easy to set up the answering machine and use new computerized phone features including caller I.D. and call forwarding.
Microsoft Phone Powered by Innovative Windows 95 Communications Technologies
Windows 95 is the first PC operating system to enable new voice-telephony solutions based on the following new technologies and specifications:
Unimodem/V , a new extension to the Universal modem driver, is a TAPI service provider that makes supporting voice modems easier.
TAPI , the industry-leading Windows 95 telephony API, enables Microsoft Phone to work with all TAPI-compatible products available from hardware and software vendors.
MAPI , the Windows 95 messaging API, enables Microsoft Phone to store and retrieve messages and uses the standard Windows 95 MAPI address book.
Microsoft Exchange Inbox , which is standard in Windows 95, enables all incoming messages, whether voice or data, to be located in a single place.
Microsoft Fax features , included in Windows 95, allow users to create a fax-back system and to forward fax messages.
Speech API is a new API for developing speech-recognition applications. Microsoft Phone is the first Windows 95-based application to use the Speech API.
Microsoft Phone is available to end users exclusively through the hardware and systems manufacturers that package it with their voice modems and voice-enabled PCs.
Leading Manufacturers Praise Microsoft Phone, Microsoft for Enabling New Solutions
" Creative Phone Blaster products create a unique, cutting-edge hardware platform for audio communications on the PC," said Rich Sorkin, vice president, strategic business division at Creative Labs Inc. " The primary goal of Creative's long-standing design relationship with Microsoft was to improve dramatically the ease of use of the software running on that hardware. By combining Microsoft Phone and Windows 95 with Creative's industry-leading Blaster hardware, we expect to accelerate the adoption of telephony in the PC significantly."
"Our new multimedia systems incorporating Microsoft Phone give individuals and small businesses the ability to manage their telephone and messaging needs in a way that's only been available to large corporations until now," said Kenneth Birch, vice president of strategic relations at Micron. "The new communications technologies available together for the first time in Windows 95 were crucial to making this happen."
"The combination of Microsoft Phone with Supra's state-of-the-art telephony hardware gives the small office/home office (SOHO) user access to communication technology once restricted to large corporations," said James H. Cutburth, vice president of marketing of the Supra communications division at Diamond Multimedia. "We've worked closely with Microsoft to ensure Microsoft Phone and Supra telephony products work well together."