Microsoft submitted a filing to the FCC for a prototype of a wireless device that could be used to talk over the Internet (VoIP), which would make it an Internet Phone, or I-Phone. The filing is similar to the one Apple filed ahead of its iPhone unveiling, except Microsoft is not going the cellular route with what many believe to be its Zune phone. Microsoft chose OFDM technology, which Sprint and privately-held Clearwire have tested and deployed. Microsoft claims the device will be used for "consumer broadband access and networking." Sufficiently vague.
The announcement makes the iPhone saga that much weirder. Here's a potential music phone (Zune-phone), which everyone expected to weakly compete with Apple's iPhone. Unexpectedly, Microsoft goes the VoIP route. Meanwhile, Apple is fighting Cisco's trademark of "IPhone" by arguing that a VoIP phone and a cellular phone are effectively different things. A VoIP-enabled Zune certainly won't drum up the fanfare Apple has with its iPhone, but it just might give Apple's trademark lawyers a headache.
For more on Microsoft's Zune phone:
- check out this article from MarketWatch