Microsoft, MCI Partner on Conferencing

MCI launches a new Web conferencing service based on Microsoft's Office Live Meeting as the two companies plan further collaborations on real-time communications applications.

Microsoft and MCI are teaming up on Web conferencing and other real-time communications applications, starting with MCIs launch Tuesday of its new Net Conferencing service.

MCI Net Conferencing integrates the telecommunication companys audio conferencing with Microsofts Office Live Meeting Web conferencing service, and MCI plans to market it to both enterprises and small and midsize businesses globally, the companies announced.

As part of an expanded partnership, the companies also plan to develop real-time communications applications that combine MCI Inc.s network services with Microsoft Corp.s software offerings.

The companies are already collaborating to allow users to set up conference calls from within Microsoft Office applications. They also plan to work on voice-over-IP (VOIP) applications.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., launched Office Live Meeting in September, following its acquisition of Web conferencing technology last year when it bought PlaceWare Inc.

Along with offering a service for conducting online meetings, Microsoft also has delved more aggressively into the arena for enterprise instant-messaging and presence applications with its Office Live Communications Server.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about the recent beta release of Office Live Communications Server 2005.

MCI, of Ashburn, Va., is the successor company to WorldCom Inc. after emerging this year from a high-profile bankruptcy and corporate-fraud scandal. It manages one of the largest Internet backbones and remains a major long-distance and telecom provider.

MCIs new Net Conferencing is available now, and pricing is being offered on a per-named-user license, on a shared-seat license and on a per-minute basis.

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies. Be sure to add our messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: /zimages/3/19420.gif