IBM is adding last-minute features to its forthcoming Sametime version 7.5 collaboration suite as it prepares to meet Microsoft head-on in the integrated communications market.
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Sametime 7.5's extra new features include integration with Microsoft Office XP and connectivity with a wide range of mobile devices.
News of the extra features comes in the same week as Microsoft laid out its unified communications product roadmap.
Microsoft expects to ship new voice, video and messaging capabilities in the second quarter of next year with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. This platform includes voice over IP call management, new video conferencing facilities, and instant messaging technology designed for a variety of devices and applications.
Sametime 7.5 is expected some time during the current quarter, well ahead of Microsoft’s unified communications platform update.
Added features include integration with Microsoft Outlook 2000, Office XP and SharePoint applications. As a result, sending an instant message, making a call, sharing an application or launching a web conference can be done while working in any Microsoft Office application.
However, as these integration features will not be added to Sametime 7.5 until the beginning of 2007, IBM’s advantage over Microsoft will not be as great as it could have been.
IBM will also offer direct connectivity to the Blackberry push e-mail system and a variety of mobile devices from Nokia and others, including those running Windows Mobile.