Microsoft will launch the latest versions of its unified communications products -- Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 client -- sometime this fall.
Microsoft is on track to release to manufacturing the two OCS products on Friday, July 27, according to Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes.
(Yes, just like with Windows Vista, which RTM'd in November 2006 but launched in January 2007, and Windows Server 2008, expected by my sources to RTM in November 2007 but launch in February 2008, OCS RTM and launch dates are not one and the same.)
Raikes, who addressed Wall Street analysts and press attending the annual Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting (FAM) on July 26, also said to expect Microsoft to launch this fall its PerformancePoint 2007 business-scorecard application.
OCS is Microsoft's all-in-one enterprise instant-messaging/VOIP/audio-video conferencing server, and the successor to Microsoft's Live Communications Server product. Microsoft was expected to RTM the product by June 30; in recent months, the company has been saying it planned to launch the product "this summer."
Raikes said Microsoft views the unified-communications market, especially the software component of it, as being worth as much as $45 billion by 2010.
Microsoft's Business Division, the part of the company focused on Office, Dynamics ERP, Dynamics CRM and unified communications, is continuing to push on increasing the percentage of new consumer and small-business PCs that ship with Office preloaded -- either the full version of Office, or a trial version that can be activated if a customer opts to buy it. The Business Division also plans to continue to beat the anti-piracy drum with its Office Genuine Advantage campaign, Raikes said.
Raikes declined to say much about the white elephant in the room: Microsoft's plans to introduce more Web-based productivity services, a la Google and other competitors. He said that Microsoft would have more to announce in this space later this year.
Raikes did say that Microsoft will be expanding the set of Office Live Small Business services and delivering a "broad set of individual services." Sounds like hosted Microsoft Works to me. What do you think Raikes is hinting at?