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Microsoft exerts its influence on IM

Oct 23, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging AppsMicrosoft

* How Microsoft’s Live Communications Server 2003 will affect IM market

This week, Microsoft announced Live Communications Server 2003 (LCS), the company’s instant messaging and presence system integrated with Microsoft Office software.

Here’s what I think the impact of LCS will be on the market for instant messaging and presence software.

I believe a significant part of the market has been waiting for Microsoft’s introduction of LCS and so has held off on making a decision about adoption of an instant messaging and presence technology until LCS was available. As we all know, large vendors have the ability to stall adoption of new products simply because these vendors’ actions tend to make waves, not ripples, in the market pond. The result of LCS’s formal introduction will be a somewhat faster adoption of enterprise instant messaging in 2004 than in 2003. 

The fact that LCS is part of the Microsoft Office family of products points to a key trend for instant messaging and presence technology: integration with collaborative applications. Most of the enhancements to Office focus on collaboration, and LCS will further extend the ability to work with others from within the Office environment. The integration of instant messaging and presence technology into collaborative and other applications is an important trend, and one that will provide greater justification for corporate instant messaging and presence infrastructure investments – LCS will simply speed enterprise deployment of instant messaging and presence for applications beyond simple chat.

Because Microsoft – as well as IBM and several other vendors – supports Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), I believe that this will give the SIP/SIMPLE proponents a major boost relative to other protocols. Other protocols may have technical advantages over SIP/SIMPLE for instant messaging and presence applications, but Microsoft’s and IBM’s formal support of a standard is difficult to counter, no matter how much better a different protocol might be.

I’d like to hear from you regarding LCS, particularly if you’ve been sitting on the fence with regard to an enterprise instant messaging decision. Please drop me a line at