PERSONAL computer giants Microsoft and Intel have teamed up to create a standard method to integrate the telephone with PC. The new standard presents opportunities for real-time, multimedia, electronic mail (E-mail) applications - where the PC integrates E-mail, voice-mail, fax and audio and video conferencing and transmits them all via standard telephone lines. The future products that add telephone functions to the PC will be based on a new set of Microsoft specifications called the Windows Telephony application programming interface, developed jointly by Microsoft and Intel. The specifications have apparently received the support of about 40 companies, from telephone switch manufacturers to PC and peripheral makers and software developers. The Windows Telephony API specifications are available to third party developers, and will be included in the next release of the Windows operating system. Microsoft and Intel said products based on the specification would allow direct access to the telephone network and thus would enhance such existing PC applications as database management, personal information management, spreadsheet use and word processing. The companies also said the Windows Telephony specifications had implications for wide area networks that allowed the PC to be used for both voice and data transmissions. ''Basically this means that we are opening Windows to get into the digital business of what you would call information at the fingertips,'' said Microsoft's Hongkong marketing manager, Ms Ramny Fite. ''The concept consists of providing an interface layer for the applications developer, which allows them to develop telephone-enabled application,'' she said. ''It means the software developers [and users] really need not be aware of all the complexities of the telecommunications world [in developing their Windows applications].'' Ms Fite would not comment on when the first applications based on the Windows API would become available. The companies said Windows Telephony would initially aim at ''enabling'' the desktop, but would be extended to server environments in future releases. In addition, the companies were committed to encouraging co-operation with other system software providers to bring the same functionality to other platforms. The companies expect that eventually, as computers become smaller, with touch-screen, flat-panel display technology, the specification will simply be part of a single, integrated, computer/telephone device. Companies that publicly supported the Intel-Microsoft initiative last week included Lotus Development Corp, Northern Telecom, AT & T and Siemens-ROLM. Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced last week plans to move the Windows user interface and application programming interface to other software platforms, starting with the UNIX operating system. The move should simplify the work of developers who want their applications to run in more than one environment. The company said it had concluded its first agreements to license Windows source code, as well as the Windows user interface, the Windows application programming interfaces (APIs), and the Windows trademark and logo, to Insignia Solutions and Bristol Technology, two widely-known vendors of cross-platform technology for UNIX.