Microsoft Outlines Unified Communications Strategy

Microsoft has laid out its strategy for unified communications, spelling out its plans to integrate e-mail, instant messaging, voice and video into a single platform that stretches across corporate applications and services.

The company laid out upgrades and a roadmap for its current software line up and introduced a hardware product called Office RoundTable, formerly code-named Ring Cam, an audio conference room phone with a 360-degree camera for online meetings.
The software, hardware and Web conferencing service are part of a family of products around Office 2007, which is slated to ship in November to corporate clients.

Microsoft did not announce any new software, but did change the name of its instant messaging and presence software from Live Communications Server to Office Communications Server 2007.

The other pieces of the puzzle include Exchange Server 2007, the Office Communicator 2007 client including a version for phones, and the Office Live Meeting 2007 Web conferencing service.

Microsoft said all the upgraded and new real-time communications software, hardware and services would be available in the second quarter of 2007. The company plans to have betas of all the software by the end of the year.

Microsoft made the announcements during a “Unified Communications Day” in San Francisco hosted by Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s unified communications group, and Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the real-time collaboration product group at Microsoft.

Earlier this year, Microsoft merged its Exchange group and real-time collaboration group to form the unified communications group.

For the complete picture make sure you read the August issue of Comms Business Magazine.