Microsoft to Unfurl a New Collaboration Road Map

Sure, Windows and Office are dominating all the Microsoft product headlines as of late. But the company has plans to deliver a number of other communications, collaboration and security technologies over the next two years.

Microsoft is readying a host of new collaboration-specific software and service offerings that it is planning to deliver over the next two years, according to a road map that company officials are showing privately to partners.

During the past couple of months, Microsoft has shared selectively with certain partners a "Collaboration Road Map" according to sources who requested anonymity. Beyond the Office 2007 client and SharePoint Server 2007 products—which are slated to be available to business users in October and to launch via all channels in January 2007—other collaboration deliverables on Microsofts short list include a new Office Live Server, a slew of Antigen anti-virus services and a souped-up anti-spam package.

Microsoft is expected to share details on some of these offerings during two June events. On June 6, Microsoft is slated to go public, via a Webcast, with its business-intelligence product road map. And on June 26, Microsoft will provide more details about its collaborative communication wares during a Unified Communications Group event for press and analysts in San Francisco.

Microsoft announced the creation of a single internal Unified Communications Group—comprising the formerly separate Exchange and Real-Time Collaboration teams—in January. The group is headed by Anoop Gupta, who previously headed the Real-Time Collaboration team. UCG is part of Microsofts Business Division under President Jeff Raikes. The group is leading Microsofts charge in e-mail, instant messaging, VOIP (voice over IP) and Web conferencing for business users.

According to partners, Microsofts road map calls for the company to ship the following deliverables some time during the latter half of 2006:

  • Microsoft Client Protection, its business equivalent to its just-launched Windows OneCare security and backup service;
  • Microsoft Antigen for SharePoint, its anti-virus software/service for its collaboration server;
  • Microsoft Antigen for Instant Messaging, anti-virus service for Office Communicator;
  • Microsoft Antigen for Exchange, anti-virus service for e-mail;
  • Microsoft Advanced Spam Manager, a refreshed version of an anti-spam offering based on Sybari technology; and
  • Business Scorecard Manager Version "Next," which is part of Microsofts "BizSharp" family of Office business-intelligence applications.

Antigen is the brand name that Microsoft has been using for the past year for products and technologies that the company acquired in February 2005 when it bought Sybari Software.

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