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Microsoft To Buy Corporate Group Chat Provider

Parlano was spun off from Swiss bank UBS with MindAlign, which is used most notably in the financial services industry by five of the top seven global banks.

Microsoft plans to buy Chicago-based Parlano, a provider of enterprise group chat software called MindAlign, for an undisclosed sum.

Parlano was spun off from Swiss bank UBS with MindAlign, which is used most notably in the financial services industry by five of the top seven global banks, according to Microsoft. Parlano's Web site points to customers like ABN Amro, Cantor Fitzgerald, Deutsche Bank, Dresder Kleinwort, and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

MindAlign is persistent group chat software, meaning that unlike instant messages, MindAlign's topical chat rooms stay open to establish discussions that companies can look back through, more like an IRC channel. According to Microsoft's announcement Wednesday, the software can take the place of stock or commodity traders standing up and yelling across the trading floor as they once did. In a global financial services environment, they need a place to exchange information instantly and across geographical boundaries. Persistent group chat might also be used in a long-term project like product development.

Parlano is an easy fit for Microsoft, as MindAlign was architected around Microsoft unified communications products, Live Communications Server and Office Communications Server. MindAlign's group chat functionality will be wrapped into Office Communications Server and Office Communicator and existing Parlano customers will be able to license an Office Comunications Server under the standard client access license.

When the deal closes, Parlano and its approximately 50 employees will move from its headquarters in Chicago to Microsoft's Redmond campus and dissolve into the unified communications group.

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