Microsoft Steps Up Efforts to Lure Unix Migrators - Page 2

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Microsofts latest moves follow recent programs by both Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM to drive Unix migrators to Linux. At that time, HP and IBM said they would roll out aggressive product and marketing programs designed to lure Solaris customers from Sun to their respective Linux offerings.

Microsoft is also using the MEC conference to give more details about its real-time communications and collaboration platform.

Katie Hunter, a Windows .Net Server group product manager, is actively working on the area of end-to-end solutions around real-time communication and collaboration that Microsofts Greenwich (the code-name for its new real-time platform) and others are focused on.

The Instant Messaging feature will no longer be part of Microsoft Exchange in the next release, code-named Titanium. "This is not Microsoft saying IM isnt a great scenario for the enterprise. IT staff faces challenges around external public IM clients on the desktop and securing those IM conversations and managing that environments is something weve heard to be a great challenge," she said.

Microsoft is thus looking to deliver enterprise-class Instant Messaging, which will allow IT staff to manage and secure those conversations. The Greenwich platform for real-time communications, which will be released sometime after the Windows .Net server 2003 family, will offer such features as encryption of IM traffic, integration into the enterprise directory and infrastructure—tightly linked to Active Directory. Conversations will also be able to be logged and archived, she said.

"We are also enriching IM beyond just text and will be adding voice and video and data collaboration to those scenarios. We see many opportunities around this platform beyond IM," Hunter said.

While the timeline for Greenwich is post-Windows .Net 2003 server, Microsoft wants to make the platform pervasive and feels that bringing it within the .Net 2003 server platform will achieve that.

Microsoft is looking for a release in the second or third quarter of next year but has not yet determined how it will be delivered or priced. "But you can probably expect something like a feature pack," she said.

On the client side, Microsoft is looking at its Windows XP Messenger client. This will essentially become version 5.0 of Messenger, which would become a triple-stack client with one client speaking to the RTC service for Instant Messaging, another able to speak to the Exchange IM service if that is still around in the enterprise and can speak to the MSN Messenger Service.

"At the time of this release there will also be a version for Windows 2000 Professional. That wont have all the functionality of XP, as were relying on some of its underlying architecture to support a few of those scenarios," Hunter said.

Going forward, Microsoft will create more innovation around the IM space and will work with ISVs and ISPs around collaboration scenarios that will allow presence information to be enabled on corporate infrastructures, she said.

"We are looking to enable things like the PC and the phone working better together and in the area of connected meetings. The conference functionality would not be immediately delivered with Greenwich, and solutions using the Greenwich infrastructure would be provided by third parties on top of that.

While the current Exchange solution, which does not use the Greenwich infrastructure, would still be available, the code-set would be moved onto maintenance mode, with a service pack coming out shortly," Hunter said.