SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2005 — Advancing the integrated communications vision detailed by Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates during a keynote address this morning, Microsoft Corp. announced the name for its integrated communications client, Microsoft® Office Communicator 2005, formerly code-named "Istanbul," and announced timing for its delivery. Microsoft also announced updates to the award-winning Microsoft Office Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005. These include a service pack (SP) and public instant-messaging (IM) connectivity (PIC) that together deliver enterprise-grade connectivity from an LCS enterprise to the MSN® , AOL and Yahoo! public IM networks. Microsoft executives demonstrated Communicator and LCS 2005 during a global Web conference event today. (See related announcements issued today at the Microsoft Real-Time Collaboration Group unified launch event.)
"Communicator and Live Communications Server demonstrate how we are bringing integrated communications to life for our customers as rich presence and multimodal communications become an integrated part of the Microsoft Office System," said Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Information Worker Group at Microsoft. "Users now can view rich presence information for colleagues, partners and customers; select the most efficient mode of communication, whether it's IM, a phone call, a Web conference or e-mail; and instantly share ideas and information."
Microsoft Office Communicator 2005: Unifying Real-Time Communications
As the preferred client for LCS 2005, Communicator provides rich presence; integrates IM, voice, video, telephony and access to Web conferencing; and is the client interface for PIC. Communicator provides information workers with the following:
Rich presence. Communicator enhances presence with additional availability data, including next-available-meeting timing and out-of-office information. Communicator also routs incoming communications based on users' presence and personal preferences.
Integrated communications capabilities. Communicator helps business users take advantage of advanced communications capabilities easily by consolidating communication and collaboration into an intuitive, more integrated, single application interface. Communicator customers can quickly initiate and move between communications modes with IM, audio, video, Web conferencing, and traditional telephony and conference-calling scenarios.
Enhanced Microsoft Office System integration. Communicator and Live Communications Server enable presence and real-time communications capabilities across Microsoft Office System applications, including Outlook® , SharePoint® Portal Server and Live Meeting. Users can quickly initiate communication and collaborate directly from familiar Office applications.
Communicator brings together siloed communications capabilities and makes them accessible in Office and line-of-business applications. Its rich presence and integrated capabilities represent a major advance in enabling users to find, connect, communicate and collaborate in real time with colleagues, partners and customers, regardless of location.
Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005: Supporting SP and PIC
Building on the success of LCS 2005, the new service pack delivers support for Communicator, connectivity to public IM networks, and improved management capabilities including enhanced federation and "spim" control:
PIC for LCS 2005. A result of customer feedback voicing the need to communicate with users on three major public IM networks (MSN, AOL and Yahoo!), PIC support allows organizations to exchange security-enhanced IM and presence information with customers, partners and suppliers on those networks.
Enhanced federation. Connecting two or more organizations using Live Communications Server has been simplified, reducing the IT administrator workload for enabling enterprise-to-enterprise federation.
"Spim" control. Corporations can get help defending against spam sent via instant messaging (or "spim") by restricting instant messages and the sharing of presence information to contacts specified in each user's profile. They can apply additional "spim" filter settings for each federated connection to reduce the number of unauthorized or unsolicited messages.
"With LCS and Communicator, organizations have a safe, easy way to IM and share presence information with colleagues, partners and customers," said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the Live Communications Team in the Real-Time Collaboration Group at Microsoft. "With the reach that PIC and enhanced federation provide, enterprise IM becomes a first-class business tool -- as useful and ubiquitous as e-mail."
Availability and Licensing
Following are availability details for Communicator, LCS and PIC:
Microsoft Office Communicator 2005. Communicator is scheduled to be released to manufacturing in the next 90 days. Pricing and licensing information will be announced before the release.
Live Communications Server 2005 service pack. Current LCS 2005 customers will be able to download the service pack at no additional charge from the Microsoft Download Center ( http://www.microsoft.com/downloads ). It is scheduled to become available in April. New customers should visit their Microsoft Volume Licensing site to download or order a fulfillment kit.
Public IM connectivity. PIC licenses will be available on a per-user, per-year subscription basis as of April 1. The license will include access to all three major public IM networks (MSN, AOL and Yahoo!). A current LCS client access license and the service pack upgrade are required.
For specific pricing and licensing questions, customers should visit http://www.microsoft.com/rtc or contact their Microsoft sales representative.
Through the delivery of technologies such as Live Communications Server, Communicator and Live Meeting, Microsoft is delivering on its integrated communications vision. Customers who qualify for Select and Enterprise Agreement programs will have an opportunity to save by acquiring these solutions at a discount through a promotional package being offered between now and June 30. This promotion gives customers an extensible standards-based platform for enterprise real-time communications that integrates with back-end and desktop systems. For more promotion details, customers should go to http://www.microsoft.com/rtc or contact their Microsoft sales representative.
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