Microsoft adds Office label to forthcoming IM server

Microsoft's forthcoming Real-Time Communications Server software will be branded as part of the Office family, carrying as its full name Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003, the company said Tuesday.

Formerly code-named "Greenwich," the software marks Microsoft's entry into the enterprise instant messaging (IM) and collaboration market. Microsoft hopes to win customers by offering security and management features lacking in free, consumer-targeted IM software, including its own MSN Messenger.

Applications in Microsoft's under-development Office 2003 suite will be integrated with the Real-Time Communications Server, Microsoft said. For instance, a user receiving an e-mail in Outlook 2003 would be able to see from within the e-mail whether the sender is online, and if so, to initiate a conversation.

Now in beta testing, the Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003 is scheduled for release during the third quarter of this year. Microsoft has not yet announced licensing and pricing details.

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