Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator clientslated for official release any day nowform the foundation of Microsoft Corp.'s unified communications play. In a move aimed at enhancing its overall UC capabilities, the company announced Thursday it has agreed to purchase enterprise group chat vendor Parlano.
The seven-year old Chicago-based company is the developer of MindAlign, a product that "enables people to carry on topic-specific, multiparty instant messaging discussions that persist over time," according to a Microsoft statement.
The plan, Microsoft says, is to incorporate MindAlign functionality into both Office Communications Server and Office Communicator. Parlano is currently a Microsoft Gold Certified partner.
The move adds one more significant piece to Microsoft's "unified communications" initiative. Both Office Communications Server and Communicator already support point-to-point instant messaging, conferencing, and voice over IP communications.
MindAlign works with Microsoft's SharePoint technologies for document management.
It also provides "secure federated instant messaging between MindAlign, Microsoft Communicator users, and users of all three major public Instant Messaging networks, including, AOL Instant Messaging, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger," according to statements on Parlano's Website.
MindAlign can also use automated "bots" to "push news, customer events, and any other information from inside or outside [the] company into the appropriate channels using," the statements continue. Microsoft said it plans to "offer group chat as part of the standard client access license for Office Communications Server 2007 Software Assurance customers."
The software giant is bullish on the technology acquisition's potential in combination with Microsoft's own objectives, noting Parlano has already had success in financial and other vertical markets. "Parlano's expertise and technology, added to Microsoft's unified communications offering, will deliver customers the most complete presence, instant messaging and group chat solution on the market," said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft.
The acquisition is expected to be final by the end of the year.
Adapted from an Instant Messaging Planet article