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Microsoft IM Partnership Illustrates Move Toward Convergence of Collaboration and Communication Services, Says META Group

  • 21 July, 2004 11:01

<p>IM Interoperability to Extend to Voice, Video, and Web Conferencing Capabilities</p>
<p>STAMFORD, Conn. (July 21, 2004) - The profound move by Microsoft to enable connectivity between Microsoft Office Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005 and the three largest public instant messaging (IM) networks represents a “power move” by Microsoft — not only in the enterprise IM (EIM) space, but also in the convergence of collaboration and communications services, says META Group.</p>
<p>By building IM and presence services directly in its applications, coupled with the Yahoo/AOL deal, META Group believes Microsoft is poised to become as dominant in IM as it is in enterprise e-mail with Exchange. In addition, the future of IM, IP telephony, video, and presence has significant implications to what Microsoft will pursue longer term (e.g., consumer electronics, entertainment, digital home). META Group predicts that the more broadly adoption happens with a multipurpose Windows client around a communication interface that it heavily influences, the more parallels the market will see in the real-time client space with what has happened with Web browsers and media players.</p>
<p>“Microsoft’s ultimate goal is to own the end-user experience around real-time collaboration and communications,” said Mike Gotta, senior vice president and principal analyst at META Group. “This announcement is just one data point in a longer campaign by Microsoft to triangulate consumer, entertainment, and corporate markets around rich media.”</p>
<p>Interoperability will be driven by LCS 2005’s new federation capability based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). META Group believes the current LCS client, Windows Messenger, will give way to a next-generation client in 2006 that will enable end users to consolidate contacts from the public networks into a single, comprehensive buddy list. Much work, however, needs to happen regarding SIP maturity, interoperability, and construction of SIP extensions.</p>
<p>“Regarding SIMPLE, we believe industry pressure will force Microsoft to take a more proactive role regarding interoperability, management of SIMPLE extensions, and alignment/consolidation with competing IM standards,” said Matt Cain, senior vice president at META Group. “We also expect IBM (and others) to cut a similar deal with Yahoo and AOL or suffer diminished momentum for its IM platforms.”</p>
<p>The alliance also puts pressure on vendors such as Open Text, Oracle, SAP, and Sun, some of which are basing their IM platforms on Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), the chief rival to SIP/SIMPLE. META Group expects to see a market for XMPP gateways to emerge, supplied presumably by the IM hygiene vendors. These gateways will also offer connectivity to cellular IM networks, a step required for EIM to become truly ubiquitous.</p>
<p>For the enterprise, this alliance will help resolve a common dilemma - the ability to communicate with business partners, suppliers, and customers. META Group expects companies to assess the options offered by LCS 2005 versus allowing users to access the public networks — unencrypted — with the native public client, which puts the user in the position of having dual clients for internal and external IM. IT organizations need to assess how Microsoft’s model fits into its enterprise architecture and complies with business requirements (e.g., security, identity management, privacy, archival, hygiene) before committing to LCS in general.</p>
<p>“Organizations will find investments in EIM more compelling if they enable connections to partners, suppliers, and customers to create a real-time, presence-driven ollaborative environment that increases organizational productivity and process performance,” said Cain.</p>
<p>About META Group</p>
<p>META Group is a leading provider of information technology research, advisory services, and strategic consulting. Delivering objective and actionable guidance, META Group’s experienced analysts and consultants are trusted advisors to IT and business executives around the world. Our unique collaborative models and dedicated customer service help clients be more efficient, effective, and timely in their use of IT to achieve their business goals. Visit for more details on our high-value approach.</p>
<p>Jessie Shepherd
Markom Marketing
<p>Peter Carr, Vice President, Director Operations
META Group

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