LCS 2005 Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft has released to manufacturing Office Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005, the first piece of the company's next-generation real-time communications platform. The update focuses on security, providing encrypted instant messaging without the need for a virtual private network.

With the 2005 release of LCS, presence awareness is shared between organizations, and presence and instant messaging capabilities are extended outside of the corporate network. Using the optional "Connectivity Pack" slated for next year, LCS customers will also be able to communicate with users on MSN, AOL, and Yahoo! IM networks.

The added feature will require Microsoft's new instant messaging client, code-named Istanbul, which is currently in beta testing and set to arrive in the first half of next year. Istanbul will allow customers to extend LCS 2005 to video and Web conferencing, voice over IP, and even integrate the server with current telephony systems.


Both LCS 2005 and Istanbul will bring real-time communications closer to Microsoft's Office System, integrating with Outlook and Exchange. "Istanbul is yet another Microsoft effort to pull technologies into Office and so extend the suite's utility," Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox told BetaNews.

"The release to manufacturing of Live Communications Server 2005 marks an important milestone in delivering on our vision for extending the value of Microsoft Office System to encompass rich real-time collaboration capabilities, empowering people to work together more effectively," said Microsoft's corporate vice president of Real-Time Collaboration, Anoop Gupta.

LCS 2005 will be available in Standard and Enterprise editions, and is scheduled to begin shipping on December 1. An evaluation version of the server will be available for download late next month.

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