Microsoft Looks to Seed Presence Capabilities in Its Own, Partners Applications

The Redmond software maker is introducing a new tookit to encourage software developers to embed presence, IM and call-control functionality into their applications. (Microsoft Watch)

MINNEAPOLIS—Microsoft likes presence technology so much that it is working to make sure it takes root throughout its various business units, as well as among its independent-software-vendor partners.

Here at the worldwide partner conference, Microsoft announced what it is called the "RTC [real-time communications] Presence Toolkit." The toolkit will provide to developers a set of visual controls that they can access via Visual Studio in order to embed presence, instant messaging and call-control functionality into their applications.

"By hovering over the presence indicator, developers will have a view of availability information and can use a right-click menu to choose from various modes of communication, including IM and telephony," according to a statement released by Microsoft.

The company did not release any information on when or how it plans to make the toolkit available.

Presence—the ability to know someones communicative "state" at all times—is a key concept in the instant-messaging and mobile computing worlds.

Microsoft real-time collaboration corporate vice president Anoop Gupta recently told Microsoft Watch that various business units across Microsoft are clamoring to bake presence into all kinds of applications.

"Platform elements of this [presence technology] have been consumed by other groups inside and outside Microsoft," Gupta said.

The Office team has been at the forefront of testing the boundaries of presence, via its work integrate presence into Outlook. Presence is at the heart of Office Communicator, the business instant-messaging client that front ends Live Communications Server 2005. The SharePoint Portal Server team already has built presence into its offering. And the Microsoft CRM team is doing the same, Gupta said.

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