SAN FRANCISCO — June 25, 2006 — Today at its unified communications strategy event, Microsoft Corp. announced that it is teaming up with industry-leading telecommunications providers to deliver a broad set of unified communications devices that enable choice for information workers and enterprise IT departments. Devices include innovative business Internet protocol (IP) phones, PCs and PC peripherals for Microsoft’s unified communications platform.
Microsoft is forming new strategic alliances with industry-leading communications companies Polycom Inc., LG-Nortel Co. Ltd. and Thomson Telecom to develop and market versions of IP-enabled business desktop phones that extend Microsoft’s unified communications platform. These IP phones will include Microsoft® Office Communicator software and integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to bring more personal control and powerful new capabilities to business communications.
In addition, GN Netcom Inc., Logitech, Plantronics Inc., Samsung and Tatung Co. are joining forces with Microsoft to deliver a range of business communications peripheral devices — such as Universal Serial Bus (USB) handsets, wireless USB headsets, USB webcams, and PC monitors with built-in audio and video components — that work with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Office Communications Server to deliver a compelling and integrated communications experience on the PC.
“These new devices running on Microsoft’s unified communications platform will enable end users to reach their important contacts easily and effectively, using a person-centric and presence-based interface,” said Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president of the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. “The business solutions we are delivering with our partners will also offer IT managers cost-effective and rapid deployment of devices leveraging the existing Microsoft IT software and investments.”
Polycom, L-G Nortel and Thomson Telecom are the first telecommunications providers to build IP business phones based on Microsoft Office Communicator. These phones make it easy to scan the availability of contacts and initiate communications simply by touching people’s names on the large color screen.
“The Microsoft unified communications platform opens many innovation and integration opportunities for Polycom, which shares Microsoft’s commitment to maximizing people’s efficiency and productivity through collaborative communications technologies,” said Sunil Bhalla, senior vice president and general manager of voice communications at Polycom. “We believe in Microsoft’s vision, and we’re excited about the capabilities that Polycom will deliver on this platform through the Communicator phone experience and other innovations.”
The business IP phones and communications peripherals from various partners enable greater ease of use through features such as name-based dialing; a consistent user experience across various communications devices; rich presence awareness; and centralized, cost-effective deployment and maintenance for IT professionals. Devices built on the Microsoft unified communications platform also enable seamless access across enterprise-grade voice capabilities, IP call management, conferencing, enhanced instant messaging and unified messaging within Communications Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.
“We see tremendous innovation potential and customer value in Microsoft’s unique approach to unified communications,” said Jae Ryung Lee, chief executive officer of LG-Nortel. “Having built a mutually successful relationship with Microsoft over the past several years, we’re eager to continue our relationship by creating more powerful devices for our customers on the unified communications platform.”
In addition to benefiting end users, Microsoft’s work with these partners is designed to provide a flexible platform that gives IT professionals greater control over their communications technology infrastructure. This control will now extend to IP business phones to enable simpler deployment, enhanced compliance and improved security based on user identity. The platform also enables IT professionals to achieve these benefits using their organization’s existing investments in Microsoft’s enterprise software management infrastructure such as Active Directory®.
“We’re pleased to be working with Microsoft to introduce a new generation of intelligent, flexible and easy-to-use devices like the IP phone that will put users more firmly in control of their communications experience,” said Bruno Fabre, vice president of Telecoms Activity of Thomson. “Our companies have complementary strengths as well as a common dedication to delivering innovative, feature-rich and cost-effective solutions.”
The IP phones featuring Microsoft Office Communicator software, as well as Communications Server 2007 and Communicator 2007, will be available in the first half of 2007.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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