Microsoft To Launch Communications Tools in October

The next generation of Microsoft's effort at unified communications will be unveiled on Oct. 16 when it launches three products, including its crown jewel, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

The other two products are Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, the client component of Office Communications Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting, a real-time, online collaboration package, the company stated in a brief press release this morning.

The importance Microsoft attaches to the suite of products is evident by the luminaries it has chosen for the launch. Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes will preside over the live Webcast announcement, slated for 9:15-10:30 a.m. PDT.

Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007, the successors to Live Communications Server, have been on a fast track to commercial availability. They were released to manufacturing on July 27, following a final beta period that lasted about a month. Live Meeting's development focus has been on the back end, helping it to integrate more cleanly with the other two products.

Microsoft's vision of unified communications is that of a seamless environment managed through software, rather than a disparate collection of hardware and software platforms. It unites various forms of voice and electronic communication, including e-mail, instant messaging, voice messaging, video conferencing and Web conferencing.

Although Microsoft didn't give pricing information in its latest press release, previously it has said the licensing model will remain the same as it is for Live Communications Server; namely, that both client and server licenses will be needed, and will be available in both Standard and Enterprise versions.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].