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Elop Touts OCS 2007 R2 as PBX Replacement

The updated Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 will make the IP private branch exchange (PBX) "the electronic typewriter of enterprise voice" by using software to do the job that hardware did in the past -- only do it better.

That prediction was offered by Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, during an online presentation published on Tuesday that unveiled OCS 2007 Release 2.

The server "puts Microsoft on a rapid path to deliver voice software that does much more than a network PBX and at much less cost," Elop said.

OCS 2007 Release 2 was unveiled at the VoiceCon trade show in Amsterdam on Oct. 14, but it's not generally available yet. Release 2 is currently in the hands of a private group of beta testers in advance of a Feb. 3, 2009 planned launch.

Release 2 supports dial-in autoconferencing, desktop sharing and persistent group chat, along with enhanced voice and mobile features. For instance, it enables remote third-party management of calls and conferences.

Although it has been one year since the initial launch of the product, Elop claimed inroads into the enterprise space.

OCS 2007 is "the undisputed leader in unified communications and…clearly the disruptive challenger in enterprise voice," Elop said. "Tens of thousands of people are using OCS as their only voice solution and hundreds of customers are on a path to leapfrogging outmoded PBX technology."

Microsoft offers OCS 2007 as part of its unified communications product line. Other components include the Microsoft Office Communicator client software, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, the Microsoft RoundTable conferencing phone with a 360-degree camera and Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail messaging.

About the Author

Jim Barthold is a freelance writer based in Delanco, N.J. covering a variety of technology subjects.

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