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Upcoming Launches Open New Pathways for Partners

When it comes to new partner business opportunities on Microsoft's infrastructure platform, the company considers unified communications one of the jewels in its crown. This month, Microsoft will launch three key building blocks that partners need to construct Windows-based unified communications solutions for their customers.

An Oct. 16 webcast will launch Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 client and Microsoft Office Live Meeting, a real-time online collaboration package.

Underscoring the importance that Microsoft attaches to the suite of products is the webcast's speaker lineup. Bill Gates, the company's chairman and chief software architect, and Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, will preside over the live webcast. (The webcast is scheduled to run from 9:15-10:30 a.m. PDT, but, at press time, Microsoft hadn't yet established the direct URL. The company's Unified Communications home page can be found at www.microsoft.com/uc.)

Microsoft's Solution Finder Portal
Launched in March 2006, the Solution Finder is an online directory designed to steer customers to partners.

Monthly contacts driven, ultimate goal: About 1 million

Monthly contacts driven, September 2006: About 1,400

Monthly contacts driven, July 2007: About 10,000

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, intended to help the technology 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, videoconferencing and Web conferencing.

In announcing the webcast, Microsoft provided no pricing information. However, the company had previously said the licensing model will remain the same as it is for Live Communications Server: Namely, both client and server licenses will be needed and both Standard and Enterprise versions will be available.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.