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FaceTime set to support Microsoft IM platform

FaceTime Communications last week disclosed plans to support Microsoft's Live Communications Server in upcoming releases of its IM Auditor and IM Director products. Officials of the Foster City, Calif.-based provider of instant messaging (IM) security, management and control solutions outlined the support plans during last week's Instant Messaging Planet Fall 2003 Conference in San Jose, Calif.

IM Director is FaceTime's application for enterprise-wide management and control of instant messaging. It was developed to help companies cope with the growing use of IM in corporations by "enhancing IT visibility into the use of IM within the enterprise." IM Director is deployed behind the firewall, and can be licensed as a standalone management and control server, or it can be extended to meet specialized needs for line-of-business use.

IM Auditor addresses the regulatory compliance needs of financial services firms, health-care organizations and other businesses that must adhere to government regulations. These regulations require that all electronic communications, including IM, be properly managed and logged for regulatory compliance purposes. IM Auditor is designed to extend the capabilities of IM Director.

FaceTime will provide the controls to extend Live Communications Server to other enterprise applications that depend on real-time communications for universal reach, said FaceTime VP of products and CTO Jonathan Christensen. Organizations already leveraging FaceTime's enterprise IM solutions can deploy Live Communications Server and benefit from its enterprise-wide collaboration capabilities.

Christensen described the moves as "a critical go-ahead for integrating presence and instant messaging into a wide variety of important business applications." Microsoft's Live Communications Server, released to manufacturing in August, is said to be an integral part of the 2003 edition of the Microsoft Office System, set to launch formally this week. It is designed to deliver an enterprise-grade IM platform, extensible real-time collaboration functionality and presence capabilities.

During his keynote at last week's conference, Gurdeep Singh Pall, Microsoft's GM of real-time collaboration, told attendees that while the initial focus of Live Communications Server is on corporate IM and presence, it can also serve as a platform for the broader convergence of real-time communications. "Instant messaging and presence is an important capability," Pall said, "but they're part of a bigger picture. Two to three years down the road, a better proposition will come along."

The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker announced additional support for the com server from a number of other vendors at last week's show, including Akonix Systems, Applied Messaging, AtHoc, Fenestrae, IM-Age Software, IMlogic, The Mesa Group, MessageCast and Vayusphere.

FaceTime's suite of security, management and control solutions includes IM Guardian for network security, IM Auditor for regulatory compliance, and IM Call Center for integrating IM networks and presence into customer service.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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