Microsoft yesterday announced a press event on October 16 featuring Bill Gates and Jeff Raikes to launch the next generation of unified communications software or more precisely, “to highlight the general availability of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Microsoft Office Live Meeting.”
As I remarked back in July when Office Communications Server was released to manufacturing, “This means that those that want OCS 2007 can get it, while the gala launch event awaits some alignment of the marketing planets this fall.” Apparently, the planets are aligned on October 16.
Update: There’s some buzz that Microsoft will be offering Communications Server as a service for customers that don’t care to handle the infrastructure themselves:
… at the same time, it is working on providing these capabilities as a service, said Warren Barkley, a principal group program manager at Microsoft. He mentioned the project in passing at the end of an early-morning panel session at VoiceCon. He didn’t give a timeline for availability.
Barkley cited the need to serve small businesses that increasingly are widely distributed. Unlike large enterprises, they generally lack the IT resources to set up and run a communications system that reaches employees around the world.