Microsoft Announces Unified Messaging Strategy for Knowledge Workers

ATLANTA, June 8, 1999 — Today at SUPERCOMM ’99, Microsoft Corp. President Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft’s vision for unified messaging, providing knowledge workers with any-time, anywhere access via any phone or other device to a single inbox containing e-mail, voicemail, fax and page messages. The announcement demonstrated Microsoft’s substantial efforts to provide the leading platform for unified messaging based on the Microsoft® Windows NT® and Windows® 2000 operating systems, Microsoft Exchange Server and Windows CE. More than 50 companies, including industry leaders Lucent Technologies Inc., Nortel Networks Corp. and Active Voice Corp., are actively developing and delivering unified messaging solutions on the Microsoft platform, directly benefiting customers through increased productivity, enhanced manageability and lower total cost of ownership. Today’s announcement highlighted the unified messaging features of the next release of Exchange Server, including a high-performance Web Store and support for the Voice Profile for Internet Messaging (VPIM) standard, as well as Windows 2000 and Windows CE features.

“Customers want access to all types of business-critical communications any time, anywhere,”
Ballmer said.
“Today we’re outlining a Microsoft vision for unifying the voice and data worlds to make knowledge workers more productive and enable companies to innovate more quickly and compete more effectively.”

Unified Messaging Connects and Informs Knowledge Workers

Unified messaging is a key component of the four knowledge worker initiatives announced by Microsoft at Tech Ed 99 two weeks ago:

  • The digital dashboard enables knowledge workers to manage their e-mail, voicemail, fax and page messages with the same interface they use to search the Web or an intranet, and access corporate data and applications.

  • The Web Store is the basis of the next-generation unified messaging platform and will offer knowledge workers one place to store and manage all their information, including documents, e-mail and voicemail messages, and Web pages.

  • Mobility and wireless access are increasingly important to knowledge workers, enabling them to access their unified inbox with wireless phones and devices, with messages delivered in a format optimized for the situation, person and device.

  • Intelligent interface research will transform the way people use computers, bringing technology innovation such as natural language processing to the next generation of unified messaging.

Exchange


Platinum


to Extend Microsoft Platform Leadership

Exchange Server has supported both voice and data messaging from its initial release three years ago and, on the strength of its architecture, has become the leading platform for unified messaging today. The next release of Exchange Server, code-named
“Platinum,”
will extend the leadership of Exchange as a unified messaging platform, with features including the following:

  • The high-performance Web Store, which extends Exchange Server’s support for voice and data messaging, and adds integration of Web content, documents and applications

  • The new Super Long Value (SLV) database format, enabling streaming of large voice data files directly in and out of the Web Store

  • Support for the VPIM standard, enabling interoperability between separate voicemail systems

  • Scalability to millions of users through a highly flexible architecture that enables system architects to split services onto separate machines

  • Built-in support for wireless access to Exchange data, enabling new levels of mobility and productivity for knowledge workers

“‘Platinum’ is a major milestone in the technology road map for unified messaging and wireless access, the optimal infrastructure for the convergence of voice and data,”
said Eric Lockard, general manager of the Exchange product group at Microsoft.
“With its massive scalability and high-performance Web Store, ‘Platinum’ will deliver a platform for unified messaging to companies with from 10 employees to 10 million employees.”

Windows – Providing the Infrastructure for Unified Communications

Just as Exchange Server has emerged as the leading platform for unified messaging, Microsoft Windows operating system products have become the leading platform for open, unified communications. Windows NT Server includes support for telephony services, remote access, routing and virtual private networking. Microsoft is advancing the platform with Windows 2000, which will include quality-of-service enhancements, the Active Directory TM directory service and the Microsoft Management Console for integrated e-mail, voicemail and network system management. Microsoft’s unified messaging strategy encompasses wireless access and the full range of devices powered by the Windows CE operating system, intelligently linking these devices both online and wirelessly to Exchange Server e-mail and voicemail. This extends the power of the PC to mobile professionals and knowledge workers regardless of location or device used.

Microsoft Exchange Platform Embraced by Industry Leaders

Companies such as Lucent Technologies and Active Voice Corp. have already chosen the Microsoft platform for their unified messaging solutions, and others, including Nortel Networks, are announcing their support for it today. (More information on the companies that are developing solutions built on or connecting to Exchange is available at http://www.microsoft.com/Exchange/techinfo/umh_r.htm .)

“Lucent chose to develop Unified Messenger on Microsoft Exchange Server because it is an optimal platform for enabling unified messaging solutions,”
said Vincent Deschamps, general manager for Lucent’s Unified Messaging offer.
“Lucent’s Unified Messenger customers worldwide have experienced measurable increases in productivity, while lowering their total cost of ownership. We are excited to continue to work closely with Microsoft on its ‘Platinum’ release, which will further extend the benefits of Lucent’s Unified Messenger for knowledge workers around the globe.”

A recent study by the Radicati Group confirmed that Exchange-based unified messaging lowers TCO while increasing productivity. The study found that knowledge worker productivity improved by 30 minutes per day and companies realized a 70 percent savings in administration and support costs when using an Exchange-based unified messaging solution.

Microsoft supports both commonly used architectures for unified messaging, the integrated model where separate servers are merged at the client, and the Exchange Server-based unified model that combines all voice and data management on one server with a single point of directory and administration.

“Today, Nortel Networks is announcing that we will be extending CallPilot’s leading multimedia messaging capabilities to support the Microsoft architecture for unified messaging, based on the single store, directory and point of administration of Exchange Server,”
said John Myers, vice president and general manager of Nortel’s Messaging Business.
“The combination of Exchange and CallPilot provides an important step on the path toward unified networks, which will enable our customers to bring their voice and data worlds together.”

Unified messaging is a technology with global reach, and numerous companies are delivering solutions built on Exchange to customers worldwide.

We are extremely pleased with

our decision to build Unity from the ground up to take full advantage of Exchange as a unified messaging platform,
“said Frank J. Costa, CEO and president of Active Voice.”
This has allowed us to deliver an enterprise-caliber, world-class product that led directly to new business with Siemens, NEC and others. Together, these partners account for 26 percent of all new customer-premise telephone lines installed worldwide. More and more people will recognize the value of fully unified messaging as these companies deliver Unity to their Exchange customers around the globe.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, Windows and Active Directory are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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