Will Microsoft WiFi become the new Skype WiFi? That’s what it looks like judging by a new barebones Microsoft website that outlines features for Microsoft’s new Wi-Fi service. Microsoft removed the site shortly after Engadget exposed it.
As it stands, certain Microsoft Office 365 users already have access to around 2 million Wi-Fi hotspots via Skype in the US and UK. According to the Microsoft site, this number will increase to 10 million hotspots made available to eligible customers. Microsoft WiFi will be available to the following users:
- Active Skype WiFi subscribers (through the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle or the Surface 2 + Skype WiFi Bundle)
- Employees of organizations with Microsoft Office 365 for Enterprise
- Customers who received a special WiFi offer from Microsoft
The Microsoft WiFi service will utilize hotspots controlled by Wi-Fi providers Boingo, Xfinity WiFi, and Gowtex, according to the website.
From a functionality standpoint, once a user comes into range of Microsoft WiFi, their device will automatically shift from 4G data to the Wi-Fi connection. The basic value-add for users is getting around the hassle of constantly having to fill out consent forms as they might in other public Wi-Fi domains.
It is not stated at this time to what extent Microsoft WiFi will be made available to other Office 365 subscribers. One thing that is clear is that Microsoft is offering this service to users across all operating systems. The Microsoft WiFi app will be made available for Windows 7 and 8, OSX, iOS, and Android.
Microsoft has not released rates for accessing the Wi-Fi service, and we are still awaiting word whether Surface 2 and Office 365 Enterprise users will have to use the Skype WiFi credits bundled into their packages.
The Windows Central blog caught a screen grab of the site before it was taken down this morning.