Microsoft plans service in the sky

Microsoft plans service in the sky

Microsoft is working on a "service in the sky" for unified communications, an executive said at the VoiceCon conference.

The vendor's current focus for the fast-growing trend of combining voice, video, text and other forms of communication is Office Communications Server 2007, which Microsoft said it would unveil on October 16. At the same time, it was working on providing these capabilities as a service, a principal group program manager at Microsoft, Warren Barkley, said. He didn't give a timeline for availability.

Microsoft already offers a hosted collaboration platform, Live Meeting, and is moving to offer applications, such as CRM, as services.

Customers liked to have products delivered in a variety of ways, Unified Communications Group corporate vice-president, Gurdeep Singh Pall, said. Cisco Systems, a rival in unified communications, earlier this year acquired hosted collaboration provider, WebEx. But neither company has talked much about offering unified communications itself as a network based service.

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