An interesting article here describes the problems that large companies face as they try to diversify – specifically the move of Microsoft from software towards IP telephony.
While both areas are highly regulated, moving into the world of Voice over Internet Protocol through their highly publicized purchase of Skype certainly presents new challenges.
Hence the slew of articles about Microsoft enabling the ability to eavesdrop on VoIP conversations. While this was initially interpreted by some as a sort of Orwellian invasion of privacy, in fact this is a legal requirement.
Law enforcement needs to be able to have access to VoIP call transcripts for the purposes of terrorism prevention. VoIP solutions have many good aspects but they can also be used for nefarious purposes as it is much harder to track the original of a VoIP call. This is in danger of making the infamous wiretapping way of police work (as depicted in the excellent drama series The Wire) obsolete.
IP telephony calls are so hard to trace that India, which has seen a boom in VoIP used by criminals and terrorists, made efforts to ban some smartphones last year.
While Microsoft is now facing the same challenges, it will have to come up with a very innovative solution to the problem.