Microsoft renames PlaceWare products

Microsoft has renamed two real-time collaboration software products and made them a part of its Office System family of applications.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003 is the new name for PlaceWare Conference Center, a product that enables businesses to conduct real-time, interactive presentations and meetings over the Internet, the software company said in a statement Thursday. Microsoft announced that it was acquiring PlaceWare and its products in January.

Live Meeting will be the first fully hosted collaboration service for the Microsoft Office System, which includes a host of other products, ranging from the 2003 editions of Office and Exchange Server to Office Live Meeting 2003 and Office Live Communications Server 2003, the second of Microsoft's products to be renamed Thursday.

Formerly called Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003, Live Communication Server is an extensible IM (Instant Messaging) server that lets users communicate in real time across enterprises in a way that's more secure and easily manageable than with consumer-oriented services, Microsoft said. Moreover, the server allows developers to build real-time communications capabilities into their own applications.

The Microsoft Office System portfolio will be released later this year, Microsoft said in the statement. The Live Communications Server will be available in the third quarter of 2003. Microsoft has yet to set licensing and pricing conditions for that product.

Microsoft chose to add the word "live" to the products because customers said they could better relate to that word and associate it with more applications than the word "real time," Dustin Grosse, senior director of marketing at Microsoft's real-time collaboration business unit, said in the statement.

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