Microsoft Brings Software-Powered Videoconferencing to Desktops Everywhere

Editor’s note, March 17, 2008 –
The statistics on the video conferencing market cited from Frost & Sullivan were listed incorrectly at time of original publication and have been updated.

ORLANDO, Fla. — March 17, 2008 — Today at VoiceCon Orlando 2008, Microsoft Corp. announced broad availability of its conferencing solutions and continued customer and partner adoption of its unified communications platform. Partners are embracing the platform to provide interoperable conferencing solutions, and today Polycom Inc. announced that it will make its videoconferencing systems work with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. Microsoft also outlined continued customer adoption of its unified communications solutions and demonstrated some new technologies, such as low-cost high-definition videoconferencing.

“I am excited at the enthusiastic customer and partner response to our unified communications launch,” said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. “In the last six months, we have seen some amazing customer testimonials, triple-digit business growth and widespread adoption that are bringing the power of face-to-face, high-quality videoconferencing out of the boardroom and to the broader organization.”

Enhanced Videoconferencing Only a Click Away

As of today, Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 now work with conferencing systems from Polycom and TANDBERG — which constitute more than 73 percent1 of worldwide existing business conferencing systems. This openness means customers can get more value from existing conferencing systems while still benefiting from Microsoft unified communications software for instant messaging, presence and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).

Customers are also embracing Microsoft’s innovative, low-cost videoconferencing solution, Microsoft RoundTable. In the last six months, more than 350 companies have deployed the 360-degree videoconferencing phone, and 55 resellers have taken it into 17 countries.

“Office Communications Server and RoundTable allow us to improve collaboration and communication while traveling less; we know that has a positive impact on the planet, and that’s important to us,” said Robert Fort, vice president of information technology and CIO at Virgin Entertainment Group. “With an entry point of $3,000 per device and simple plug-and-play operation, we can widely deploy devices to make conferencing available to everyone.”

Customers Benefiting From Unified Communications

More than 140 companies have shared their success and published case studies about their Microsoft unified communications deployments since Microsoft launched its platform last October. Details are available at http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies. Companies such as Dow Corning Corp. have deployed the system to thousands of users for VoIP, webconferencing and videoconferencing, e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging and presence. These companies are reporting cost and travel savings as well as dramatic productivity gains.

“Office Communications Server 2007 delivers the next-generation communications capability to provide instant presence information that reduces contact latency. Then people have rich functionality — IM, webconferencing, VoIP — to have engaging conversations,” said Steve Hershauer, IT architect and engineer at Dow Corning. “As such, this fundamentally changes the way our internal peers and business partners communicate, and increases overall productivity for everyone and has a macro-productivity effect on the processes they touch.”

Partners Innovating With Microsoft’s Open Unified Communications Platform

GE Healthcare’s imaging collaboration will also demo a conceptual prototype being built using Microsoft’s Office Communications Server. This technology, when available, could provide physicians with communication features channeled directly through a unified device, for radiologists this being the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS).

“We continue to look for opportunities across adjacent areas to optimize productivity, quality and innovation within the clinical setting,” said Prakash Mahesh, global manager of Advanced Technologies, GE Healthcare IT. “The concept prototype from Microsoft and GE Healthcare IT, when available, could bridge an important industry gap for physicians and radiologists, providing improved productivity, enhanced collaboration and reduced interruptions.”

More information about Microsoft unified communications solutions, which include Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft RoundTable and Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/uc.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

1 Source: Frost & Sullivan, World Enterprise Video Conferencing End Point Market, December 2007

Microsoft Unified Communications Group

Partner and Customer Quote Sheet

March 17, 2008

“Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 has allowed Gibson to improve collaboration and communication between our global offices. With Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, employees are able to quickly and simply reach colleagues across geographical boundaries and time zones, which helped streamline our daily processes and improve productivity.”

—Kathy Benner

Director of Information Technology

Gibson Guitar Corp.

“Windrush Frozen Foods places a strong importance on work-life balance. With Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, we are able to equip our employees with the tools and options necessary to work anywhere, at any time. This gives our employees a tremendous amount of flexibility and allows them to work outside traditional work schedules, if necessary. This freedom allows them time complete their work obligations as well as fulfill important personal obligations, like picking their children up from school.”

—Robbie Roberts

IT Manager

Windrush Frozen Foods Ltd.

“Office Communications Server 2007 has increased operational efficiency, reduced our overall costs and improved employee communications at Lionbridge. Because Lionbridge manages client programs across 26 countries worldwide, it is important for us to have a reliable technology that enables us to bring several people together across the globe to collaborate, quickly address issues and provide on-demand innovation for our clients. Office Communications Server 2007 is enabling us to achieve this cost effectively and reliably.”

—Oyvind Kaldstad

Director of Information Technology

Lionbridge Technologies Inc.

“We don’t have to invest significant amounts of capital to provide a high-end technology solution. We currently spend $80,000 a month on conferencing. With Office Communications Server, we expect to reduce that by 30 percent. That’s a significant cost savings.”

—Jeremy Turner

Vice President and CTO

The Shaw Group Inc.

“Polycom is committed to providing voice and visual communications solutions that work with Microsoft’s open unified communications platform. Offering interoperability with Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 will allow customers to use Polycom visual communications as an extension of the Microsoft applications they already use to communicate with others, and will help make visual communications easier to manage in a Microsoft unified communications network.”

—Joe Sigrist

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video Solutions

Polycom Inc.

“TANDBERG has always believed that video is an integral component to any successful business communications strategy. TANDBERG is committed to delivering leading-edge video communications solutions that seamlessly interoperate with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.”

—Peter Nutley

Director of Global Product Marketing

TANDBERG