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Microsoft steps up VoIP plans

AT the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) earlier this week, Microsoft and nine others unveiled a new range of VoIP devices supported by the public beta program of Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007.

ASUSTek, GN, LG-Nortel, NEC, Plantronics, Polycom, Samsung, Tatung and ViTELiX are working on the devices that claim to connect the workplace phone to email, instant messaging, presence, conferencing and mobile communications.

Microsoft is providing the device manufacturers with design specifications, to ensure that the new phones and devices work easily with Office Communications Server and Office Communicator.

“Today’s office phone is marooned on an island, separate from the rest of the communications tools that information workers rely on to do their jobs,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “By weaving the business phone together with email, instant messaging, presence, conferencing and the productivity software people use most, we are putting voice communications back into business.”

Microsoft first laid down a roadmap putting VoIP and unified communications at the heart of the company’s flagship operating system going forward, in December.

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