Feeds

Microsoft throws unified communications party

Bill Gates signs guitar

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Today, in downtown San Francisco, Microsoft's long-awaited lineup of "unified communications software" was officially announced by chairman Bill Gates, business division president Jeff Raikes, and a surly-looking guitarist in a red velvet jacket.

As he officially introduced the world to this collection of interwoven VoIP, video conferencing, and messaging tools, Gates called it "a big bet that we've made and one we feel great about". Raikes insisted that the announcement was "a milestone not just for Microsoft but a milestone for the industry." And Mr Red Velvet played a guitar tagged with Bill Gates's signature and a Microsoft unified communications logo.

Redmond first trumpeted its plan for so-called unified communications more than a year ago, and this morning, it rolled into San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to proclaim that five new comms products are now available across the globe.

Servers, clients, and panoramic views

The centerpiece is Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, or OCS, a back-end behemoth that provides business types with VoIP, video conferencing, and instant messaging as well as "presence tracking." You know, those little icons that tell you what your colleagues are up to and how you can reach them.

End users can tap into OCS from any Office app, but Microsoft has also introduced a client-side option known as Office Communicator 2007. Think of it as Outlook to OCS's Exchange. It runs on the desktop or from a web browser, and there's a version for mobile phones too.

At the same time, Gates and company have unveiled a new version of their hosted conferencing service, Office Live Meeting, that offers many of the same comms tools available from OCS. And they've introduced their very own video conferencing hardware appliance. When used in tandem with Live Meeting, OCS, or other video conferencing software, the $3000 Microsoft RoundTable provides a panoramic view of meeting participants.

Oh, and there's a new service pack update for Exchange that ties Microsoft email, calendaring, and contacts server into this unified communications extravaganza.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Next page: He wore red velvet

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.