July 31, 2007

Microsoft’s office Communications Server takes the next step forward

I know I’m a bit late, I’ve been well beaten by Arthur,  Johann, James and Eileen but I’ve had the cricket to think about and recover from and despair about  but anyway….  

It’s out – well sort of, both Office Communications Server 2007 and it’s Uber client office communicator 2007 have been released to manufacturing ( RTM). expect full MSDN versions over the next few weeks and full availability by the autumn.

the release includes :

  • Office Communicator 2007 : the soon to be ubiquitous client
  • Office Communications Server 2007 : the core server product  
  • Office Live Meeting Console 2007 :  The web collaboration and presentation tool
  • Communicator Web Access 2007 : think of this as OWA is to outlook CWA is to Office communicator 2007
  • Microsoft RoundTable 2007 : Microsoft’s innovative 360° video and audio conferencing tool
  • Office Communications Server 2007 Speech Server : Microsoft’s IVR server suite

there have also been some disclosures about likely pricing  as well over on the Microsoft Presspass site Gurdeep Singh Pall VP of the UC groups is quoted :

As with Live Communications Server, the predecessor to Office Communications Server, customers need both server and client access licenses (CALs). There are two types of Office Communications Server CALs: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard CAL has the IM and presence capabilities including new group IM and rich presence features and costs roughly $21 for the average enterprise. The new Enterprise CAL provides all of the new conferencing and VoIP call management features and costs roughly $97 for the average enterprise. The Office Communications Server Standard and Enterprise CALs will also be included as part of the Microsoft Enterprise CAL Suite, a bundle of several Microsoft server CALs available at a discount.

the approach is very much one of evolution rather than revolution and that the average enterprise needn’t replace that aging TDM PBX to realise the advantages that  Unified Communications can bring. I’ve still to digest the interop white paper so I can’t really comment in too much detail on the practicalities of this.

This is the phoney war before the battle that will rage between traditional telecoms providers, the IP vendors (notably Cisco) and Microsoft. things are going to get really interesting over the next few months.

This is the biggy… Communication is so much more emotional and important than the choice of browser you make. There’s a whole lot more money to be made and lost ($45 Bn by 2010)  and it’s Microsoft Pitching into a Market that it’s relatively new to with a lot of established vendors who have their share of the billions to protect. 

I’m hoping that the customer is in a win-win situation however I am a bit wary that this period of upheaval is going to lead to a bit of blood letting and I hope  the collateral damage is kept to a minimum.