Q&A: Microsoft Collaboration Chief - InformationWeek

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Q&A: Microsoft Collaboration Chief

Gurdeep Singh Pall, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of real-time collaboration, talks about the company's new Office Communicator Web Access client and some related plans.

Gurdeep Singh Pall, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of real-time collaboration, introduced the company's Office Communicator Web Access client Tuesday at Interop. He sat down with CRN Industry Editor Barb Darrow Tuesday in New York after his keynote.

CRN: Can you talk about VAR and integrator opportunities with the newly shipping Office Communicator Web Access client?

Pall: One of the things customers were really asking for was ability to integrate presence and IM into their apps, a lot of which are written in multi-tier architectures where you have portals, and mostly accessed through the browser. Communicator Web Access is built on AJAX [and that means] you can actually take AJAX controls and embed them into your portals and into your apps, which we think is incredibly powerful. That's a big opportunity. Integrators are doing a lot of the work in building, maintaining and updating these apps.

CRN: And, you can tie in non-Windows apps. Is this the first time you can do that?

Pall: RIM, for example, announced they're doing a client which should be out shortly. Some other partners building clients for other platforms particularly on the mobile side but in terms of clients running on so many desktops and workstation platforms, this is the first time. eDial built a client. [eDial] was acquired by Alcatel, based out of Boston but not sure it supports all the browsers the way we do

CRN: so Office Communicator Web Access extends Live Communication Server [LCS] to the world?

Pall: Yes, customers want the kiosk scenarios where no app installed and the other is for Macs and some engineering workstations running CAD tools, Unix-oriented tools.

CRN: But there is no VoIP support?

Pall: No. It's a thin client. It has presence but too hard to get VoIP on all those platforms.

CRN: Can you talk about the roadmap? The plan was to converge Live Communications Server and Live Meeting architecture over time [into a single architecture code-named Kiev.] Can you update that timeframe?

Pall: I can't discuss timeframes but it's something we're actively working.

CRN: I assume that the game plan is to continue to field both hosted and on-premise conferencing as you do now with LCS and Live Meeting. Can you talk about how much of your business now is hosted and how much is product?

Pall: Today LCS is an on-premise product and Live Meeting is a service. We don't have on premise Live Meeting or hosted LCS.

CRN: Right, But I mean in terms of dollars, how much do you earn via LCS vs. Live Meeting?

Pall: We don't break that out actually.

CRN: Well you've been in the software-as-service market in conferencing now since you bought Placeware [Live Meeting] two years ago

Pall: We absolutely are. in that market and intend to continue with it. This is very important part of Microsoft's future and will make sure we have strong offering

CRN: Are you working with CTO Ray Ozzie on this push?

Pall: Absolutely.

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