The Microsoft Cordless Phone System was a failed experiment.
When you think of Microsoft phones, the first name that comes to mind is the Windows Mobile operating system or your love affair with Nokia, but that was not your first attempt in the world of telecommunications. In 1998 the company launched the Microsoft Cordless Phone System , a cordless phone that could be used without a computer (like any home phone), it was the interaction with them that really made it shine, or so Microsoft thought.
In terms of design, the Cordless Phone System did not vary much from the home wireless phones, although this model had an additional base that was connected to the computer. The 900 MHz phone came with a specific software that allowed us to manage our calls by connecting to our computer via a serial cable.
The Microsoft Call Manager was able to identify calls and create personalized messages for your contacts. For example, you could create voice tones for the phone to notify you who called you. In the same way it was possible to use a rudimentary voice recognition system to make calls.
Nowadays it is possible to do this with Siri or Cortana, but imagine the degree of excitement that was to say “Call Mom” in 1998. Unlike the automated learning that is the basis of many today’s applications, Microsoft technology At that time did not require to “train” the system since it was able to recognize the voice of different users.
Another interesting option was the possibility to create voice mailboxes individually for each person on your calendar. Microsoft offered the possibility of storing “hundreds of messages”, keeping track of calls and even using a blocker for those people you did not want to attend.
Too complex and expensive for its time
In practice this sounded very nice, but the implementation and price was what undermined this Microsoft system. The Cordless Phone was not so easy to install on the PC and required a subscription to the Caller ID service, something that the telephony companies of that time offered for an additional cost.
The phone could operate independently of the computer but if it was necessary to take full advantage, it was necessary to have the PC turned on all day. Several Microsoft Call Manager software options did not work as expected and could not be synchronized with other applications.
To all of the above it should be added that the Cordless Phone was not compatible with Windows NT and cost $ 199, a high price for a home phone.
The Cordless Phone system was Microsoft’s first handset and although it was not as successful as expected, it laid the groundwork for future voice technologies that were applied to Windows Mobile and other company products.