Sometimes things get a little hectic around here, and things that would normally be stories, end up being briefs. Tuesday — for today’s newspaper — was one of those days. So, I’d like to point three things in today’s paper. They can all be found here (If you were to look for it yourself, it’s a link that’s nearly halfway down the business section page, indicated by the tag “Business Digest.”
2. Microsoft’s Jeff Raikes is set to announce today that the company is releasing a new version of its Office Communications Server at VoiceCon Spring 2007.
The new version of is pretty interesting, and expands the 2005 release significantly. I talked with Eric Swift, Microsoft’s senior director of product management in the Unified Communications Group, about it Tuesday, and he said the big feature will enable users to be able to click to call, instant message or start a Web conference from within Microsoft Office documents or Outlook.
Because of these enhanced abilities, Microsoft forecasts that within three years, the cost of rolling out VoIP will be cut in half because of software implementations. And, by then, it expects 100 million people, or twice the number of current business VoIP users, to initiate calls from Microsoft applications.
The public beta of Office Communications Server 2007 will start at the end of March, and general availability is expected by this summer.
3. Yahoo! announced today that its mobile application called Yahoo! Go for Mobile 2.0 will now be available on Windows Mobile devices.
Yahoo! Go for Mobile includes oneSearch, which allows users to surf the Internet and also access maps, news, photo sharing and Yahoo! e-mail.
In addition, Yahoo! said it has formed a strategic partnership to pre-load and distribute Yahoo! mobile applications on millions of HTC devices. HTC, a Taiwan company with U.S. headquarters in Bellevue, is one of the largest distributors of Windows Mobile devices.
I think this is yet more evidence of how Microsoft is willing to work with other companies on its mobile initiatives. Steve Ballmer even said so at 3GSM two years ago; Microsoft is in mobile to partner, not dominate, he said. He doesn’t want anyone — a carirer or handset manufacturer — to feel that they have to buy Microsoft’s entire package.
If HTC, which is super reliant upon Microsoft, feels this way, it has to be true.
The other recent example was when Palm launched the new 750w. Instead of integrating MSN as the main search engine, it chose to go with Google, a decision that was fully supported by Microsoft, Palm said.