Microsoft's unified productivity killer

Microsoft is planning to ship Office Communications Server 2007 in October. There is nothing new about the idea of a single InBox for email, voicemail, faxes etc. It’s new to Microsoft and no doubt the company will make a big thing about how Office Communications Server will make us all more productive.

I’m not convinced. It includes the concept of Presence – the idea of being able to tell if someone is available. I used to use MS Instant Messenger and Presence is a genuine productivity killer.

Yes it’s fine to be able to know that someone is free, but it relies on the user having to update their Presence each time they walk over to the coffee machine, have a chat and a laugh with a colleague, go to the toilet, leave for the train, get home, go to the pub, have dinner, watch TV and go to bed.

It’s an infringement on our personal privacy. And if we dare say we’re “Not Available” or “Busy”, Presence status become a bit like the “DO NOT DISTURB” notice you put outside your hotel room when you’ve got lucky. Why am I still busy, why am I not available, what have I been up to all day?