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Microsoft Communicator to Get Web Access Version

Microsoft is taking the Web-enablement concept that produced Outlook Web Access and extending it to its new real-time communication client, Microsoft Office Communicator.

Anoop Gupta, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Real-Time Collaboration Group, introduced the technology during a keynote panel at the Collaboration Technologies Conference in New York Tuesday.

The technology will be called Communicator Web Access, and Microsoft expects to open a beta this summer.

"Extending the capabilities of Office Communicator to Web clients gives information workers -- regardless of location or platform -- the ability to immediately locate, contact and collaborate with colleagues in real-time. This is another significant step toward ubiquitous access to rich presence and an integrated communications experience," Gupta said.

As with Outlook Web Access, in which Exchange Server provides users with the equivalent of the Outlook client view over the Web through a Web browser, Live Communications Server will generate a Web-based view of Microsoft Office Communicator. Through the Web interface, users will be able to use Communicator's instant messaging, presence and other communication technologies.

Potential usage scenarios include locked-down clients, older operating systems that Microsoft has chosen not to support with the full client and scenarios where information workers are working remotely without their own computers.

Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access is one of three versions of the technology, which went by the code-name "Istanbul." In April, Microsoft announced plans for a mobile version of Communicator.

The full Communicator client was released to manufacturing in early June and is planned for general availability at the end of this month.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.