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Microsoft To Buy Parlano

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it intends to buy Parlano, a Chicago-based company it has already worked closely with on enterprise communications software.

Parlano makes the MindAlign group chat platform. MindAlign currently integrates with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator, but following the acquisition the software will be a native feature of Microsoft's unified communications stack.

MindAlign is a heavy-duty chat application meant to serve sectors such as financial services and call centers, which may require workers in disparate locations and time zones to conduct group conversations. It enables "persistent' conversations, meaning participants who need to go offline can pick up threads later.

Microsoft did not release financial terms of the deal, which it said will be done by year's end. The company said Parlano workers will eventually move over to Microsoft's Unified Communications Group.

Redmond is making a big push around unified communication, where it faces competition from the likes of Cisco Systems. OCS 2007 released to manufacturing in July. Along with providing unified instant messaging, VoIP and e-mail, the server features hooks into a range of corporate telephony systems.

For enterprise developers, this could mean more opportunities to plug telephony and other speech-related functionality into applications, which Redmond Developer News covered in depth here and here. Albert Kooiman, Microsoft senior product manager for Unified Communications Extensibility, previously told Redmond Developer News that Microsoft has created a wide range of tooling for OCS 2007.

"For the drag-and-drop developer, we've created tools based on [Windows Workflow Foundation]," Kooiman said. "On the lowest levels of the APIs, we've got a managed API, there you can write C# or whatever you want. But at every little step, you can change all those classes."

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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