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Microsoft VoIP plan moves into final phase

Microsoft announced that its Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator client are code complete and were released to manufacturing on Friday.

The move shift’s Microsoft’s unified communications strategy, of which VoIP is the ventral core, into its final phase before launch in the autumn.

Speaking to telecoms.com at the ITU 2006 event in Hong Kong in December, Paul Duffy, senior product manager for real time collaboration at Microsoft, said that Office Communications Server would feature unified voice capabilities, call management, multiparty video, on-premise web conferencing, presence, enterprise and public instant messaging, data and application sharing, federation capabilities and speech recognition. And VoIP would be at the heart of much of this functionality.

“Essentially, you could start a whole conference or just a one on one conversation right out of a Word document,” said Duffy, “even with a remote worker.

“The whole phone experience would be linked to your specific identity,” said Duffy, “with the inbuilt presence indicators capable of being integrated with third party applications.”

On Friday, Gurdeep Singh Pall, vice president of the Unified Communications Group, said, “We believe all forms of enterprise communications, including VoIP, are moving from hardware-based systems to software. This transformation is really what’s behind unified communications.”

In beta since March, Pall revealed that more than 75,000 people have downloaded the public beta of Office Communicator to date.

Earlier this month, Microsoft reported strong growth for its Windows Mobile platform. For the three months to the end of June, revenue for the mobile and embedded devices unit increased $30m or 21 per cent driven by sales growth in Windows Mobile software and Windows Embedded operating systems.

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