C’mon IBM, Don’t Be a Downer

The news was going to be big – the event being staged from San Francisco. Jeff Raikes was onsite to make some buzz. For those close to Redmond, the June 25th press release was substantial. And then IBM had to stick their nose into things….

From the Channel Register:

Microsoft has announced integrated software intended to turn the upcoming Office 2007 into a platform for unified voice, email, IM and video communications.

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, named six client, server and device products plus alliances with Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Siemens as part of a carefully coordinated event in San Francisco, California, to state its vision.

Featuring in Microsoft’s plans for later this year and 2007 are the Office Communications Server 2007 featuring Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for presence-based VoIP call management, audio, video, and web-conferencing and IM within existing applications, plus Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 unified messaging that will provide a single inbox for email and voice messages along with a speech-based attendant.

Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 will work with Office Communications Server 2007 and feature presence-based, VoIP softphone, enterprise-level IM and connection to external networks such as MSN, AOL and Yahoo!. These functions will be available for desktops, Windows Mobile, and via the browser.

CIO Magazine provided a brief overview of how the two company’s offerings compare:

Microsoft’s Communications Server currently connects with its Windows server application to offer similar capabilities, but connectivity between IBM’s Lotus Sametime and Microsoft’s Office and Outlook would give users the ability to run Linux or other operating systems instead of just Windows.

The upcoming products, including Office Communicator 2007, Office Live Meeting and Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging, are meant to route communications to employees’ office phones, cell phones, e-mail or fax numbers.

Microsoft is looking to grow its Office user base by delving into communications programs, and it expects the majority of its new product offerings, such Office Communications Server 2007, an update to its Live Communications Server, to be available by mid-year 2007.

"What IBM is announcing is not surprising, and it validates what have been core tenets of our real-time collaboration efforts for some time—that presence should not live in the [instant messaging] silo and that interoperability is key," Microsoft said in a statement.

See IBM’s press release for more information on their product plans.

Christian Buckley

Christian is the Brand Alliance Director for AvePoint Inc., and a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He hosts the AvePoint Office 365 Hours (#O365hours) and #P2Pnow series, the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.