Microsoft Extending IM Presence, Interoperability

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-10-16 Print this article Print

Company outlined next features for Office Live Communications Server 2003, formerly Greenwich, due to launch next week.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—With its Office Live Communications Server 2003 ready to launch next week, Microsoft Corp. is prepping a series of new features to extend presence capabilities, add interoperability among enterprises and build in conferencing to the real-time collaboration platform. Speaking at the Instant Messaging Planet Fall 2003 Conference and Expo here, Gurdeep Singh Pall, Microsofts general manager of real time collaboration, said that while the initial focus for Live Communications Server 2003 is on corporate instant messaging and presence, it will serve as a platform for the broader convergence of real-time communications.
"Instant messaging and presence is an important capability, but theyre part of a bigger picture," he said. "Two to three years down the road a better proposition will come along."
Read about Microsofts Paul Flessner on the roadmap for Windows. Office Live Communications Server 2003, a project formerly code-named "Greenwich," is set to formally launch during next weeks Microsoft Office 2003 unveiling in New York. Presence, the ability to know when someone else is online, is one of the major features being pushed in enterprise IM. Live Communications Server integrates presence throughout the Office productivity suite so that a user can, for example, see if another users is available and then launch Windows Messenger for an IM session from within an Office application, said Ed Simnett, lead product manager at Microsoft. Why is Microsoft mum on third-party IM licenses? Microsoft plans in the "near term" to further extend presence in the product to allow group presence, Singh Pall said. Group presence would enable a user in Outlook, for example, to send an instant message to members of a group distribution list, he said. Along with being able to launch such a group session, group presence also would allow a group to be represented by a single icon and appear present even with only one member is online, Simnett explained. Next page: What about interoperability?

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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