In a recent post on the ‘All About Microsoft’ blog at ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley describes an ambitious plan already in the works from Microsoft that seeks to eliminate the need for phone numbers. The project, codenamed ‘Echoes’, is being developed and incubated by Microsoft’s Israeli Strategic Development Center. The short-term plan apparently involves engaging telcom providers to partner up to provide a common network address book, to SMS in/out messaging, simultaneous ringing, click-to-call, single-sign on and more for their mobile phone users. In a nutshell, the goal seems to be a move toward greater convergence of the unified communications components (email, voicemail, instant messaging, presence, etc.) that will result in simplified communications that can be initiated by just knowing a user’s name rather than having to know, or look up their phone number.