Microsoft talks up unified communications

Microsoft talks up unified communications

New apps to 'eliminate communications boundaries'

Microsoft has rolled out its latest software designed to provide unified communications services for enterprises.

Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 bundles VoIP telephony, instant messaging and video conferencing applications into a single offering.

Microsoft also unveiled five additional communications offerings, including an updated version of Office Live Meeting and a new videoconferencing phone with a 360-degree video camera, and a service pack for Exchange Server 2007.

The new products are part of a larger campaign to push Microsoft's unified communications offering.

"Unified communications software will transform business communications as fundamentally as email did in the 1990s," said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has expressed similar sentiments about the importance of unified communications.

Gates wrote in an open letter to customers that the concept of tying all office communication into a single source will "eliminate the boundaries between the various modes of communications we use throughout the day".

"Soon, you will have a single identity that spans all of the ways people can reach you, and you will be able to move a conversation seamlessly between voice, text and video and from one device to another as your location and information sharing needs change," he wrote.