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Microsoft Partners With British Telecom

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.

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