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Microsoft Licenses Live Communications Server Extensions

Microsoft is turning to a third-party firm to make Microsoft Live Communications Server more interoperable with other communications products based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

Radvision, a Fair Lawn, N.J.-based multimedia conferencing company, licensed code extensions from Microsoft that will enable Radvision to build tools that help third-party developers integrate Live Communications Server 2005 with other SIP-based communications platforms.

Under the terms of the deal announced this week, Microsoft licensed to Radvision the SIP extensions for Live Communications Server. Radvision, in turn, is committed to implementing and integrating the extensions as add-ons to its toolkit products, and will offer the extensions to third-party developers.

The SIP extensions for Live Communications Server will be available as optional add-ons to Radvision’s SIP, SIP Server and Videophone SIP toolkits. Existing Radvision SIP customers will also be able to license the SIP extensions as an add-on to SIP toolkits previously licensed from Radvision.

The deal helps hook Microsoft's fledgling server product into an increasingly important protocol. SIP is a proposed IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standard used to set up or tear down voice or video calls over IP networks. It is an important protocol for the wireless world, where it has been accepted by the Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as a signaling protocol in the IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS. SIP is also key to many Voice over IP implementations.

“SIP [is] the technology of choice for the control of real-time multimedia communication sessions throughout the Internet, corporate networks, and wireless networks,” say documents on the web site of the SIP Forum, an organization whose mission is to advance the adoption of products and services based on SIP.

SIP Forum documents describe SIP as “a signaling protocol that is used by technology products for creating session-oriented connections between two or more endpoints in an IP network. . .These endpoints could be IP telephones, instant messaging clients, or a collaborative multimedia conference application.”

Using the extensions, third-party developers will be able to integrate Live Communications Server capabilities into solutions based on IP-based PBXes, and IP video phones for wire-line and wireless, SIP proxies, Wi-Fi phones, handsets and other embedded devices. They will also enable developers to build products for mobile environments that are simultaneously compatible with both IMS- and Live Communications Server, the companies said.

Radvision’s SIP extensions to Live Communications Server are based on the industry-standard SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). The companies said they expect general availability of the SIP extensions for Live Communications Server in the second half of this year.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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