Jive Software will add voice over IP (VoIP) calling within a month to its instant messaging software, which has been renamed Openfire.
The company on Thursday released a beta of Openfire version 3.2, a product that had been named Wildfire. The upcoming update will add the VoIP modules, according to company CEO Dave Hersh.
"Voice isn't broken, but voice can be really be enhanced as something more closely connected to other forms of collaboration," Hersh said.
With the upcoming voice capabilities, people can talk from one PC to another while sharing screens, participating in discussion threads, and sending instant messages, he said. People can use PC-attached headsets or VoIP phones.
The voice software is an implementation of the Jingle protocol, which is used in the Google Talk instant messaging software.
Jive Software offers an open-source version of Openfire for free and sells a higher-end enterprise version to companies for $15 per user per year.
Hersh expects the VoIP product to compete with Skype and with offerings from Microsoft. The software giant made a significant investment in voice software with its acquisition of Tellme Networks this week.
One way Jive differentiates itself from its competitors is by providing the source code, which allows customers to customize applications more easily, Hersh said.