<font size="3">Microsoft is all business with IM</font>
Microsoft is set to begin its most aggressive effort yet to sell instant-messaging services to corporations--and it's pulling out its old playbook to gain traction.
When the company on Tuesday launches Office System, its updated suite of business applications, customers will find hooks to instant messaging (IM) features that are built into e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs. The idea is to let employees see at a glance from any corporate document up-to-the-minute contact information about each other, a feature known as "presence" in IM parlance. For example, an Outlook e-mail message might note that the author is currently offline and available only at their cell phone number.
The catch: To take advantage of these features, customers need not only to upgrade to Office System. They'll need to buy new server software from Microsoft as well. "Microsoft is doing with the integration of instant messaging and presence in Office what it did with the integration of Internet Explorer with Window 95 and 98," said David Gurle, executive vice president of Reuters Messaging and a former Microsoft executive. "It basically harmonized the development of applications on a common platform."
News source: ZDNet