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Microsoft Starts Talking Up UC Tools Strategy

Microsoft has talked a ton about why Unified Communications can be a big value to users.

Microsoft has talked a ton about why Unified Communications -- the melding of telephony (landline and cell), e-mail, and perhaps most importantly, "presence" -- can be a big value to users.

Now it's starting to get down to brass tacks around tool deliverables, building a developer portal on MSDN and an API roadmap.

The centerpiece of this whole UC effort is Office Communications Server.

New tooling deliverables include such downloadable goodies as a Communications Server 2007 SDK, Speech Server documentation, Live Meeting 2007 API Reference Guide, Unified Communications AJAX SDK and more.

The company prefaced this news with a corporate Q&A with Kirt Debique, general manager for Microsoft's Office Communications Platform & Solutions Group.

Until now, Debique has been circumspect about tooling plans; but early this year, he did talk a bit about the UC tools strategy. But there was no concrete news on packaging, availability and so on, which he said would have to wait until the Professional Developers Conference planned for the fall.

PDC got nuked, but apparently it's time for Microsoft to talk. This is an area where the company faces prodigious competition from sometimes-partner-sometimes-rival Cisco, which leads the league in networking hardware, and from IBM. Big Blue is basing its UC push on Sametime, the trailblazer in enterprise-ready instant messaging and presence.

About the Author

Barbara Darrow is Industry Editor for Redmond Developer News, Redmond magazine and Redmond Channel Partner. She has covered technology and business issues for 20 years.

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