Microsoft drops new hints on next Communications Server release

Less than a month after its Web launch of Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Microsoft is starting to prep customers for what's coming in the follow-on release.

Less than a month after its Web launch of Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Microsoft is starting to prep customers for what's coming in the follow-on release.

On the Microsoft Austrian partner blog on TechNet, company officials shared updates regarding licensing changes in the works for OCS.

OCS is Microsoft’s integrated instant-messaging/conferencing server. It is one of the centerpieces of the company’s unified-communications stable of products.

Not being fluent in German, I used Windows Live Translator to read the new OCS blog entry. Here are the highlights from the February 23 post:

  • The "Wave 14" OCS release -- which I've heard called Office Communications Server 2010 -- is slated for 2010 availability . (In the past, OCS has lagged the Office client/server releases by a bit, so it's still hard to say definitively whether Office 14 will debut in late 2009 or early 2010.  Office 14 is currently in the alpha-test stage.)
  • The existing two Client Access Licenses (CALs) for OCS are being replaced by three as of the OCS 2010 release. With OCS today, users can choose the Standard CAL (for access to instant messaging and presence) or Enterprise (which adds access to conferencing and voice telephony. Starting with OCS 2010, a new third CAL, known as the Voice CAL, will provide access to telephony and VOIP. Telephony access will no longer be part of the Enterprise CAL and the price of that CAL will decline around 23 percent, according to the blog posting.
  • Microsoft is allowing customers under Software Assurance to grandfather in the new Voice CAL if they agree to buy it before July 2009.