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Microsoft And Polycom Announce Joint Marketing And Development Agreement

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-09-13

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From Desktop to Conference Room, Real-Time Collaboration Technologies From Market Leaders Combine Voice, Video and Web Communications.

Today Microsoft and Polycom announced a multiyear joint marketing and development agreement to deliver business- quality, rich collaboration solutions across communication devices, applications and services that will empower customers to connect and share information in real-time regardless of location or type of call. The initial offering, currently scheduled for release in late 2004, combines the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities of Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Windows Messenger with Polycom's widely installed ViewStation EX, FX and VSX desktop and group video conference systems; SoundPoint and SoundStation IP handsets and conference phones; MGC voice and video bridges; and the WebOffice conference portal.

As a result, Windows Messenger users will have access to richer media collaboration experiences that will better unify people, applications, services and devices from the desktop to the conference room, inside and between organizations. Real-time, rich media collaboration will enable faster decision-making; greater productivity across workgroups and remote workers; improved relationships with customers, partners and suppliers; lower costs; and a competitive advantage for customers. In addition to this initial offering, the second wave of solutions will lead to voice and video functionality for Microsoft Office Live Meeting for Polycom and Microsoft customers.

"Information workers are looking for collaboration solutions that make it simple to initiate rich multimedia communication sessions while seamlessly bringing together the investments they have already made in hardware, software and services," said Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president of the Real-Time Collaboration Group at Microsoft. "As a result of this alliance, business users will be able to leverage their investments in Polycom's conferencing solutions and Microsoft's enterprise-grade instant messaging and Web- conferencing solutions to easily launch high-quality voice, video and Web- conferencing calls. For instance, if you are reading an e-mail message and you notice that the sender is online, two clicks later you can be in a video- conference call resolving issues. The result will be faster and better- informed decisions, as well as increased productivity."

To deliver higher-quality, richer media experiences across these applications, devices and services, the two companies are working together to co-develop and market collaboration solutions that harness the power of the desktop, conference rooms, and network hardware and software solutions. These solutions include Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, Windows Messenger, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office, Polycom SoundPoint and SoundStation IP phones, Polycom VSX and ViewStation desktop and group video systems, Polycom multipoint MGC voice/video bridges and network management software, and the Polycom WebOffice conference portal.

"Polycom's mission is to deliver standards-based converged voice, video, Web and data communications instantly through a virtual experience as natural as being there," said Bob Hagerty, chairman and CEO of Polycom. "The alliance with Microsoft ensures the convergence of our market-leading voice and video communications with a market-leading desktop environment, providing broadly distributed, business-quality video to the enterprise and revolutionizing the way we work and communicate."

Expanding on the agreement, Microsoft and Polycom will each deploy the co- developed solutions to extend the benefits of standards-based convergence of people, applications, devices and services to each company's employees globally.

Enabling interoperability between Polycom's market-leading conferencing bridges, conferencing software, voice and video endpoint systems with Microsoft's real-time collaboration software and services will give IT administrators a richer, end-to-end media infrastructure, with emphasis on reliability, scalability and security. In addition, the solution will support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) from infrastructure to the endpoint.

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