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Microsoft's Office Communications Server Beta Includes VoIP

Microsoft unleashed the public beta of its Office Communications Server 2007 on Monday.

If this were a pure VoIP play to go against Avaya, Cisco, et al, Microsoft would be late to the game. But the company has made this less of a game of catch-up by jumping right into unified communications. Yes, Microsoft is providing voice services through SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), but it's also going to include presence, IM and more with the release of Office Communications Server. While VoIP has become more mature within the enterprise, UC is still a new idea. This is where Microsoft, no doubt, hopes to make its play.
Sean Ginevan
NWC Contributing Editor

Microsoft is late to the VoIP part--and not just a little bit. If the VoIP trend were a wedding, Microsoft would have arrived just in time to help the band pack up to go home. Companies like Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and 3Com have far more experience in this market, plus they don't have the stigma of being characterized as the Borg on Slashdot.

S. J. Schuchart Jr.
Managing Technology Editor

The VoIP server software marks the company's first foray into the IP telephony market and truly unified communications. Microsoft is pitching the software as a less-expensive-to-maintain replacement for both conventional PBXs and IP PBX systems.

Using the server software in conjunction with Microsoft's Office 2007 productivity suite, end users can place a call from their desktop or laptop by clicking on an address book entry. The Office Communications Server also supports a number of other capabilities, including IM and videoconferencing.

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