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Rebranded Microsoft Wi-Fi service is in the works

Microsoft is rebranding its Skype Wi-Fi service and working to make it available in new ways to consumer and business users.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is working on rolling out an updated and rebranded version of its Skype Wi-Fi service.

"We can confirm that Microsoft is working on a new service, called Microsoft Wi-Fi, that will bring hassle-free Wi-Fi to millions.We look forward to sharing additional detail when available," said a spokesperson in response to a request for comment about Microsoft Wi-Fi.

Skype Wi-Fi is Microsoft's current service allowing users to pay with Skype Credits to access a variety of public Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide.

Microsoft's new information pages about its consumer and business Microsoft Wi-Fi service offerings went live for a day or so before Microsoft cut access to them.

The business-focused offering will be available to subscribers of Microsoft's Office 365 Enterprise service, according to information on its microsoftwifi.com/business site. That service will be available globally and will encompass "over 10 million" Wi-Fi hot spots.

Microsoft also is working on a consumer-focused version of its new Wi-Fi service, which it plans to make available to active Skype WiFi users "through the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle or the Surface 2 + Skype Wi-Fi bundle"; to Office 365 for Enterprise subscribers; and to customers who received a special promotional code for the service from Microsoft, the microsoftwifi.com site said.

Microsoft also is lining up Microsoft Wi-Fi apps for Windows, Android, Mac OS X, iOS and Windows Phone users to access the coming service in airports, hotels, restaurants and other public spaces.

Microsoft recently lost a trademark battle involving Skype to Sky. (It lost a similar trademark battle to Sky over SkyDrive and ended up changing the SkyDrive name to OneDrive, as a result.) Microsoft officials have indicated they'd pay Sky to be able to continue to use the Skype name, rather than change that brand name.

However, the reason Microsoft is rebranding Skype WiFi probably has more to do with the company's "One Microsoft" push than with Sky, from what I've heard. Microsoft is rebranding a number of its products and services in a way to emphasize they are part of the Microsoft brand, as opposed to standalone brands like Azure or Surface, as of late.

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