Microsoft Readies Web-Based Communicator

The Redmond software maker is set to launch a private beta test of a Web-based version of its enterprise IM client.

Microsoft Corp. is looking to extend the reach of its Office Communicator 2005 instant messaging client via a new version that will be completely Web-based.

Microsoft is set to kick off on July 15 a first private beta release of what its currently calling the "Office Communicator Web Access" client, company officials said on Tuesday. The company expects to ship the final version before the end of calendar 2005, officials said.

Communicator Web Access is similar to Microsofts Outlook Web Access product, said Anoop Gupta, the corporate vice president in charge of Microsofts Real-Time Collaboration Business Unit.

"People need reach and access from a lot of places," Gupta told Microsoft Watch, in explaining why Microsoft decided to do a Web-based version of Communicator

Office Communicator 2005, code-named Istanbul, is Microsofts integrated client for IM, voice, video, telephony and Web conferencing. Microsoft has positioned Communicator as its preferred front end for its Live Communications Server corporate instant messaging server. Communicator supports VOIP (voice over IP) standards such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as well as IP PBXes.

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