Microsoft joins with Apple, Google, and others to fight unwanted robocalls in the U.S.

Microsoft logo
Microsoft logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is one of 33 companies and organizations that have banded together to form the Robocalling Strike Force in the U.S. It will pledge to create solutions designed to decrease the number of these kinds of unwanted or illegal automated calls on smartphones.

Some of the other companies that are a part of this group include Apple, Google, BlackBerry, Nokia, Samsung, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. In a press statement AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson describes the goals of the Robocalling Strike Force:

This strike force will need to take a different approach. If we truly want to deal with this, the entire ecosystem has to work together – carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers. And don't forget, regulators and lawmakers have a role to play. We have to come out of this with a comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute. While many people like to portray this as a simple issue to address, it isn't. These unwanted calls span a wide range. We have calls that are perfectly legal, but unwanted, like telemarketers and public opinion surveyors. At the other end of the spectrum, we have millions of calls that are blatantly illegal. They are violating the Do Not Call registry or, worse, trying to steal your money or identity.

The companies that are a part of these new group have pledged to support the following improvements and changes:

  • Conform to VOIP caller ID verification standards as soon as they are made available by the standards setting groups.
  • Adopt, if viable, SS7 solutions associated with VOIP calls.
  • Work together with the industry, including every company in this room, along with the standards setting bodies, to evaluate the feasibility of a "Do Not Originate" list.
  • Further develop and implement solutions to detect, assess and stop unwanted calls from reaching customers.
  • And finally, facilitate efforts by other carriers to adopt call-blocking technologies on their networks.

The Robocalling Strike Force plans to offer "concrete plans" to implement these improvements to the Federal Communications Commission by October 19.

  • Really wish those CS's over at Google would work with MS on Windows Phone apps. I would love to come back to windows phone. Android's UI is so damn ugly compared to the cleaness of WP. I really do miss it.
  • Bro, you don't need Google support for MS. I have been here since WP7 and switched to LG G4 recently to see all the Android hype and the grass is NOT greener on the other side. All of the Google services can be replaced with MS services. I found Outlook, Windows Maps, OneDrive, OneNote, Office, and Cortana on par or even superior to the Google counterparts. Third party apps do well in completing the platform. Now with Facebook, Wells Fargo UWP, Starbucks, and other official apps have joined Windows, there is nothing I am personally missing. At least here, you won't need antivirus or cache cleaner apps ;). Come back, the user experience blows away what you are using.
  • Re: modwheel,
    Very nicely said. Other OS's aren't needed.
  • Not going to happen with Windows 10 Mobile's low marketshare.
  • It might happen with UWP desktop/tablet and/or Xbox though. Because that marketshare isnt bad.  
  • Yes!!!!   Please get rid of these low lifes!
  • U.S politicans need huge amounts of money to get reelected and guess where that money comes from. Good luck getting this through Congress and even if a deal is struck it will exempt the powerful companies and politicans. I'm actually puzzled why this is happening, surely MS, Google etc must know this is a fools folly.
  • What about unwanted ads on Windows? Should not be opt out.
  • What about unwanted ads on TV, cables, newpaper websites, Google, Apple, Yahoo etc? Why stop at Windows?
  • Are those operating systems with hefty price tag? But I get your point, Windows is nowadays what it is. Not free + ads and other options are available.
  • If you are seeing ads on Windows you probably have malware ;). ESET and Malwarebytes should help with those ;).
  • I wish this would include robortexts... This is a huge problem for me lately.
  • Glad to hear it, hate these types of calls. I work at a pool in the summertime and 99% of the calls we get are stupid spam robo-calls. I've entered our number into the Do Not Call Registry several times but they still won't let up. Super annoying, and it makes the staff really apathetic to answering the phone so we sometimes miss legit calls. This nonsense needs to stop, it's ridiculous.
  • I get like 60 blocked calls per day. Thank goodness for that ability
  • Hooray for these companies. I hate those bas***ds doing these calls.
  • The problem with all of these solutions is that they rely on Caller Id.  In nearly all cases, the Caller Id is spoofed.  As such, none of the solutions actually work. The only organization that knows the true originating account or telephone number is the originating VOIP provider or telephone company.  Unfortunately, NO telephone company is involved in ANY potential solution. It is nice to see that VOIP providers are attempting to do something.  However, any reliance on Caller Id is severely flawed. The FCC recently had a contest with a financial award going to the best solution to stop robo-calls.  The winner is a VOIP only solution.  And the solution relies on a black list of Caller Id information.  So, sadly, the winner crowned by the clueless FCC is not a viable solution at all.  In fact, it is a bad solution in that subscribers can contribute the shared black list.  So... if my phone number is randomly used to spoof 1000 robo-calls, my phone number ends up getting black listed and NOT the robo-call service. The ONLY solution is for telephone companies and VOIP providers at the origination of the call to enforce blocking.  Unfortunately, the telephone companies will do anything without a law being passed to force them to do so. VOIP companies are under less regulation than telephone companies so they are a bit more flexible, modern, and able to do something on their own as we are seeing in this article.  And, I suspect that most robo-calls from overseas are using VOIP because it is way cheaper. If I were a telephone company, I would develop a rock solid solution rather than continue to lose customers year after year.  It is the ONLY reason I will eventually drop my home phone service.  Robo-calls are annoying!!!!
  • Half the time when I don't have much to do at work I sit on the phones with these idiots and waste their time with bogus info and card. Since then I hardly get any calls. So I don't know if they flag my number or not but robocalls have dropped pretty substantially for me. Sadly in my line of work I have to answer the calls cause I never know if it's a client or not. I really hope they do away with these people. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I use Truecaller and it rocks! I almost never answer a number not in my contacts. While I can block the number easily on my Icon, True lists the name of the caller and location.
  • I agree, I used to get so many calls from these idiots, sometimes 3 in one day!!! PPI and Car accident was the most common, but since I found Truecaller, which was being promoted in the Windows phone store at the time, I decided to download it and try it out, and it's so good, even I come across ones which aren't listed, I find out who it is and then hang up and name it so it's in the system, True caller has saved me so much time and frustration!!!! I've actually got two people to download it too after I told them about it!!!! And as far as I know it's on all platforms!!!
  • ...for the greater good, the good will be great.
  • Okay. My idea, for a solution, for what it's worth:
    For participants:
    1. Improve digital voice quality, to the quality level of the analog Bell Telephone system, years ago.
    2. Each phone user would have a white list. Numbers on the white list would be granted access to ring my number if they entered the four digits we specifically agreed to.
    3. Numbers not on the white list would be directed to a robot: Press 1 for personal call (without an access code), press 2 for emergencies, press 3 for Known callers (without an access code), press 4 ... And the number would change each day, tomorrow, "press 9 for personal call" ...
    You get the idea.
    No more robo calls?
    Just an idea.
    Edit: Then granted access to my voice mail.
  • Just give us the option to block all calls. Then we can check a box that says, if you are in my contacts you can call me. What would be so hard about that ?