Microsoft Merges RTC, Exchange Teams

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-01-30 Print this article Print

The new unit, the Unified Communications Group, will become part of Microsoft's Business Division. The shift is expected to have no impact on the timing for the next generation of products under development, the company says.

As Microsoft executives continue to align the company around three distinct business units, they have decided to merge the Exchange and Real-Time Collaboration groups into a unit known as the Unified Communications Group. This new combined group will be led by Anoop Gupta, the current corporate vice president of the Real-Time Collaboration group, and will become part of Microsofts Business Division, which is led by president Jeff Raikes. But the move would have no impact on the timing or feature sets for the next generation of products currently under development, including Exchange 12, a Microsoft spokesperson said Jan. 30, adding that the reorganization "is part of Microsofts commitment to effectively align the company and its three distinct business units. This is an effort we began in September."
Read more here about Microsofts reorganization. But, while Microsoft is identifying the Unified Communications Group as a new entity, a smaller UCG team has been operating inside the company for some time, according to sources claiming familiarity with Microsofts plans. The original UCG has been working on a hosted real-time-collaboration suite that will likely include e-mail, unified messaging, instant messaging, VOIP (voice over IP) and data-conferencing capabilities all rolled into a single bundle, sources have told Microsoft Watch. Such a bundle would not be unprecedented. Microsoft is building up its family of hosted SMB offerings. Windows OneCare Live—the hosted security service (composed of firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and data-backup functionality)—is an example of one such service. The sources said the UCG was planning to target SMBs who are interested in an integrated communications experience that will be managed by others—most likely Microsoft partners (or maybe even Microsoft itself). Microsoft will pitch the hosted bundle as an easy way for smaller companies to enjoy features such as intelligent call routing, auto-attendant voice response, and the like. To read more about Microsofts post-reorg services, click here. When asked last year about the UCGs plans for a hosted real-time collaboration suite, a Microsoft spokesperson said: "While Microsoft believes that businesses both large and small can benefit from unified, real-time communications, we dont have a product as you describe to announce at this time." The latest move made sense as customers seek an integrated communications experience that enables them to communicate intuitively and seamlessly, from e-mail to instant messaging, VOIP, and audio/video/Web conferencing, the spokesperson said. "The merger of the teams aligns our efforts internally and allows us to more rapidly and effectively address these customer needs. This new organization will aggressively drive forward and sustain the momentum of existing Exchange and RTC businesses," the spokesperson said. Microsoft has also posted a question and answer with Gupta on the Microsoft PressPass site. Additional reporting by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Watch. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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