Microsoft Unveils VoIP Solution as Part of Desktop Communications


Upcoming release of Microsoft Office Communications Server aims to accelerate voice over Internet protocol adoption by enabling IT to extend existing telephony infrastructure.

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 12 /- Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) today opened a private beta of its new enterprise voice communications server, Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007, to 2,500 IT professionals. Office Communications Server 2007 allows companies to integrate voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology into existing telephony infrastructure, eliminating the need for expensive network overhauls and also extending the useful life of existing investments. The new voice server will also allow workers to instantly launch a phone call from 2007 Microsoft Office applications, such as Office Word 2007, Office Outlook® 2007 or Office Communicator, by simply clicking on a colleague's name to determine his or her availability and initiate a person-to-person or multiparty call.

With native support for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator, part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system, interoperate with products from industry partners including Nortel Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., LG-Nortel Co. Ltd., Mitel Networks Corp., NEC Philips Unified Solutions, Polycom Inc. and Siemens Communications Inc. Through these relationships, customers worldwide will be able to support VoIP using their existing desktop phones, data networks and time division multiplexing (TDM) or Internet protocol (IP) private branch exchanges (PBXs). Customers will also able to leverage the softphone capabilities of Office Communicator to make and receive phone calls from their PCs, eliminating the need to purchase expensive IP-compatible phones.

"The convergence of telecom and data networks is happening rapidly. Software will integrate these two worlds, enabling IT managers to deliver new communications possibilities that include VoIP," said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. "With this open architecture and broad interoperability, Office Communications Server 2007 will give IT managers the flexibility to determine when and how and in what way they move their communications infrastructure forward."

Microsoft is bringing the pace of software innovation to communications to deliver a people-centric experience. According to a recent Gartner Inc. report, "The ultimate driver of VoIP is not merely cost savings, but is in business process integration. Enterprises should evaluate their long-term strategy toward developing IP telephony applications beyond basic telephony, including business application integration."(1)

In conjunction with opening the private beta, Microsoft is hosting a Technology Adoption Program (TAP) Summit this week. Approximately 250 representatives from nearly 100 enterprises will participate in the weeklong event. Attendees represent enterprise IT departments that serve more than 7 million information workers worldwide. The event will kick off with a keynote address by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Gurdeep Singh Pall and includes a showcase of partner solutions, including a demonstration of Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA) scenarios incorporating Microsoft unified communications software and the Nortel Communications Server 1000 IP-PBX.

Office Communications Server 2007, the successor to Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005, is part of Microsoft's unified communications portfolio. Companies using Office Communications Server 2007 can deploy enterprisewide presence; enable security-enhanced enterprise instant messaging; host on-premise audio, video and Web conferences; and deploy VoIP capabilities. Some of the capabilities available in the private beta of Office Communications Server 2007 are placing and receiving voice calls; advanced call routing; streamlined integration with the new unified messaging capabilities in Exchange Server 2007; multiparty conferencing; call holding, forwarding and transferring; and compliance capabilities, all while working in concert with existing telephony infrastructure.

Office Communications Server 2007 can be deployed with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, a cornerstone of Microsoft's unified communications portfolio. Exchange Server 2007 complements the voice capabilities of Office Communications Server 2007 with a built-in auto-attendant for answering and routing inbound voice calls as well as unified messaging that unifies voice mail and e-mail in a single inbox. Exchange Server is available for evaluation at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/eval.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

(1) Gartner, "How to Select the Right Approach to VoIP: Nine VoIP Scenarios," September 2006.

Microsoft Unified Communications Group

Office Communications Server Private Beta Announcement Partner Quote Sheet

"Through our Innovative Communications Alliance with Microsoft, Nortel and Microsoft are collaborating deeply around Office Communications Server and will have a range of solutions available in a way that maximizes investment while offering immediate business value. We're excited about degree of the integration and innovation in our work around Office Communications Server and believe customers will see this as further proof that ICA is accelerating delivery of unified communications capabilities to the marketplace."

o Ruchi Prasad
Vice President, Innovative Communications Alliance
Nortel Networks

"We look forward to a continued relationship with Microsoft as we enhance the integration between Office Communications Server 2007 and Avaya's Intelligent Communications Solutions. Our commitment to open standards enables us to offer a large base of Microsoft and Avaya customers unified communications solutions that help achieve higher levels of productivity."

o Eileen Rudden
Vice President and General Manager, Unified Communications
Avaya

"Cisco and Microsoft are committed to delivering seamless, interoperable unified communications solutions that utilize the flexibility and openness of SIP and allow joint customers to integrate with their existing infrastructure investments. Employees can now take advantage of new productivity applications -- such as viewing phone presence state from any location at home or in the office -- to streamline communications and save both time and money."

o Barry O'Sullivan
Vice President and General Manager
IP Communications Business Unit
Cisco Systems

"At LG-Nortel, we are pleased to move closer to delivering to customers an IP desktop phone that runs seamlessly on Microsoft's unified communications solutions. The architecture that Microsoft Communications Server is built on will allow us to reach medium-to-large businesses worldwide with technology that will improve the way workers conduct business on a daily basis."

o Jae Ryung Lee
Chief Executive Officer
LG-Nortel

"For more than three years, Mitel's vision of unified communications has been in lock step with Microsoft's as a way to deliver sustainable competitive advantage and business process improvement to our customers. The result is first-to-market availability of the Mitel Live Business Gateway that extends Mitel's rich telephony applications suite to Microsoft Office Live Communications Server users to enable presence and availability features from the Office Communicator interface to customers, suppliers and employees. We're pleased to continue our work with Microsoft to help companies benefit from the advantages of voice."

o Stephen Beamish
Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships
Mitel

"The flexibility of Microsoft's open architecture will allow NEC Philips Unified Solutions to provide remote call control of the PBX as well as full SIP connectivity together with a range of added-value extensions to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, such as contact center and operator functionality, message routing, and mobility enhancements. We're pleased to continue working with Microsoft to create technologies and services that are connected tightly to IP, hybrid and TDM PBXs to create a better experience for end users while allowing companies to save money and streamline operations."

o Burg de Man
Senior Vice President of NEC Philips Unified Solutions and Head of the Unified Communications Solution Division
NEC Philips Unified Solutions

"Our customers need communications solutions that not only provide superior voice quality but also enable an environment with enhanced security for transmitting sensitive information, are easy to use, and can replicate their office functionality anywhere in the world. With Microsoft Office Communications Server, Office Communicator client and our telephone endpoints, we'll be able to deliver a productive, flexible and security-enhanced communications experience."

o Sunil Bhalla
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Voice Division
Polycom

"Together, Siemens and Microsoft are committed to extending the value proposition of unified communications through the integration of the Siemens HiPath 8000 softswitch enterprise-class telephony with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 utilizing broker functionality from the Siemens OpenScape family. This provides enterprise customers with an effective transition approach to an integrated Siemens and Microsoft unified communications solution, while maximizing their investments in existing PBX and voice-mail communications systems."

o Eve C. Aretakis
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, Global Large IP
Siemens Communications Inc. USA

Source: Microsoft Corp.

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