Microsoft sets launch date for Unified Communications

October marked down for unveiling

Microsoft will release Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator 2007 and Office Live Meeting via a public webcast October 16, which will be co-hosted by Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes.

Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 is designed to enable companies set up VoIP phone systems and manage corporate instant messaging, email and videoconferencing on a single IP network. Microsoft first released a beta of that product in December. The company announced the official release date at the VoiceCon conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft said in May that OCS would interoperate with gear from some PBX vendors, in addition to equipment from Nortel Networks, through an alliance it had announced earlier.

Office Communicator 2007 is the desktop client equivalent of OCS. Office Live Meeting is a webconferencing product that comes in the form of software as well as a hosted service, via Exchange 2007, that will further raise the competition between Microsoft and Cisco Systems, which is moving into the same space from its traditional stronghold in networking and security gear.

The heads of the two companies, Steve Ballmer and John Chambers, held a joint interview last week to attempt to dispel fears among large customers that increased competition will lead to incompatible gear and higher costs.

Ballmer and Chambers vowed that the two companies will continue to collaborate.

“Companies don’t want the issue of competition to cause them to interoperate ineffectively,” Chambers said.

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Tags managementMicrosoftunified communications

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