Microsoft to Solidify Unified Communications Strategy
By Robert Liu
TMCnet Executive Editor
Six months after folding the Exchange email server business into its Real-Time Communications (RTC) Group, Microsoft (News - Alert) on Monday announced its recently formed Unified Communications Group is getting down to business.
At a strategy launch event in San Francisco, Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, will unveil an extensive technology road map outlining the availability of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephony offerings, e-mail, instant messaging, mobile and, and audio-, video- and web-conferencing. The software company will also announce an equally impressive roster of partners that will help form the framework for its Unified Communications strategy.
“Unified communications will drive the next major advancement in individual, team and organizational productivity in today's 24x7, always-connected and increasingly mobile work environment,” Raikes said in a prepared statement. “We believe that through software, we can transform business communications (bringing down both its cost and complexity) by now integrating voice communications with the familiar and powerful communications and collaboration experiences provided by Microsoft.”
The principle architect of today’s news is Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president who was appointed to head up the Microsoft Unified Communications Group since its inception in January. Gupta, who reports directly to Raikes, will join him on stage for today’s announcement to demonstrate key capabilities of the new and updated servers and
“To achieve the productivity revolution we believe is possible with unified communications, we need to provide deeper integration of communications modes within the processes we use every day,” Gupta said. “Ensuring all modes of communications are people-centric and presence-based will help people find and connect to the right person the first time using the most effective communication modes.”
To fortify its initiative, Microsoft also announced a new roster of business alliances. The software company has teamed up with Siemens to integrate HiPath 8000 softswitch real-time telephony with Exchange and Office Live. It will work with Motorola (News - Alert) through a multiyear joint marketing and development alliance to deliver Motorola mobile devices onto Office Communications Server 2007. Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) will help provide enterprise servers and systems integration
In its press release, the company said Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is scheduled to be released in late 2006 or early 2007. Microsoft Speech Server 2007 will be available in late 2006. Communications Server 2007, Communicator 2007, Communicator phone experience, Live Meeting, RoundTable and the IP-enabled business desktop phones featuring Communicator phone experience will complete Microsoft's unified communications solutions and are scheduled to be available in the second quarter of 2007.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.