Microsoft Partners With British Telecom

BT is integrating Microsoft Live Meeting subscriptions with its audio conferencing service.

July 13, 2004

1 Min Read
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The BT Group and Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced an agreement in which the British telecommunications giant will resell the software maker's web conferencing service.BT said it's integrating Microsoft Live Meeting subscriptions with its audio conferencing service to enable customers to conduct meetings via a telephone and PC with Internet access, the companies said in a joint statement.

The move is seen as one of the initial entries by a major telecom into web conferencing, a market that's growing as companies use the technology as an alternative to expensive business travel.

"This could be a very good revenue source of any telecom entering the market," Vamsi M. Sistla, analyst for ABI Research, said of web conferencing. "More people are opting for web conferencing or video conferencing to avoid travel because of global uncertainties and to cut expenses."

The trend toward less business travel, particularly international travel, is reflected in weak sales among many airlines, Sistla said. "It's a good time to enter the market."

Microsoft launched Live Meeting last year, following its acquisition of web-conferencing specialist PlaceWare. WebEx is the leader in the market.Web conferencing enables companies to present slideshows and share documents via a desktop. Telecommunication companies such as BT can complete the picture by providing audio conferencing services.

London-based BT has been testing Live Meeting internally over most of the last fiscal year, and plans to eventually roll it out to 150,000 workers across the company.

The combined BT-Microsoft service is available now on a per-minute, named-user or per-seat basis.

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