Microsoft has announced it will make a beta version of Office Communications Server 2007 available to 2,500 companies for testing before it is released in Q2 next year.
The successor to Live Communications Server will include VoIP capabilities, web conferencing, incremental chat and presence improvements.
"We're focused on a continuum of choice so users won't have to rip and replace legacy PBXes,” said Paul Duffy, group product manager at Microsoft. “The gateways will sit between the switches and our product. We want to deliver the kind of interoperability our customers want."
The release of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 will put the software giant in a good position to capitalise on the growing number of large corporations seeking the cheaper communication services provided by VoIP technology. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has predicted that within ten years all business communications will be web based – representing a fundamental overhaul of the way hundreds of millions of workers communicate.