Microsoft PlaceWare Renamed

PlaceWare, a leading Web conferencing vendor and subsidiary of Microsoft, has lost its namesake. From this week forward, PlaceWare Conference Center will go by the moniker Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003.

Office Live Meeting bolsters Microsoft's line of real-time collaboration business products by working in complement with Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, formerly Microsoft Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003.

The addition of "live" is meant to emphasize the value placed on enabling real-time communication amongst geographically dispersed global corporate entities. Microsoft also stressed the ability to bring optimal efficiency, productivity and agility, said Microsoft't Dustin Grosse.

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Live Meeting is set to become the latest member of the Office 2003 family of products set to be released later on this year. It will carry its current breakdown of features and capabilities, but will be tinkered with in future releases to the satisfaction of Redmond.

Formerly developed under the codename Greenwich, Microsoft's Live Communications Server provides presence-awareness, instant messaging (IM) and real-time communications capabilities in one package. According to Microsoft, Live Meeting will allow information workers to see SharePoint Portals via application sharing.

BetaNews obtained exclusive preliminary information on the next version (V2) of Greenwich October of last year.

According to our reports, Greenwich v2 will provide further integration within Microsoft Office, scheduled multi-party audio and video and data collaboration, and extended mobile capabilities. Currently, Windows and MSN Messenger, as well as NetMeeting are the workable clients for Microsoft's RTCC services. Further integration with Longhorn is to be expected.

"The real-time collaboration industry's outlook for growth is strong. Companies are looking for efficient, effective and easy-to-use applications that can improve productivity and simplify the way people collaborate and communicate," said Paul Ritter, program manager for Collaboration and Content Management at The Yankee Group.

With the marketing buzzword "live" cast aside, Microsoft faces stiff competition in the enterprise market. Industry giant America Online hosts Enterprise AIM, and Yahoo and VeriSign have joined forces to produce an alternative corporate IM service. A host of smaller vendors also provide several other product offerings.

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