The anti-Skype backlash takes another step forward today as GIPS announces that MSN Messenger will take on its VoiceEngine wideband codec, and Microsoft RTC will add GIPS acoustic echo cancellation and gain control solutions. Interesting to note is the figure of 165m unique monthly users attributed to MSN Messenger in the release. Only six weeks or so back I was regularly seeing and hearing 155m. It's difficult to speculate about the hierarchy of needs of the typical IM user (i.e., is the legacy contact list valuable enough that users will willingly sacrifice audio quality to remain with the incumbent client?), but whatever the relative weightings of factors, it seems pretty clear that one key advantage of Skype over other IM players is about to be toppled. Can PSTN breakout be far behind?
UPDATE: Tandberg has now weighed in, revealing its integration into RTC.