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Microsoft, Manufacturers introduce new generation of devices
Posted: 14-May-2007 [Source: Microsoft]

[Microsoft and nine other companies are introducing a new generation of business devices based on Microsoft's unified communications software merging VoIP, e-mail, instant messaging and mobile communications onto one device.]

Los Angeles -- Monday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2007, Microsoft Corp. and nine industry-leading companies -- ASUSTek Computer Inc., GN, LG-Nortel Co. Ltd., NEC Corp., Plantronics Inc., Polycom Inc., SAMSUNG, Tatung Co. and ViTELiX -- will introduce a new generation of devices that connect the workplace phone to e-mail, instant messaging, real-time presence information, conferencing, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile communications.

Beginning tomorrow, a new wave of phones and devices will become available for use in the public beta program of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. Microsoft is providing the device manufacturers with design specifications, helping to assure customers that the new phones and devices work easily with Office Communications Server and Office Communicator.

"Today's office phone is marooned on an island, separate from the rest of the communications tools that information workers rely on to do their jobs," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. "By weaving the business phone together with e-mail, instant messaging, presence, conferencing and the productivity software people use most, we are putting voice communications back into business."

Using an open approach and published software interfaces, Microsoft is enabling companies to innovate new workplace phones and devices that make business communications more effective and productive. The products are nearing the end of the Microsoft qualification cycle, which will help ensure the devices and phones deliver the following:

*"Just Works" experience. The qualified phones and devices work out of the box with Microsoft unified communications software. It's as simple as plug-and-play.

*Greater choice and innovation. With an active partner community building phones and devices, customers are offered more choices when it comes to designs, cost and feature innovations. The 15 phones and devices to be unveiled tomorrow include Internet protocol (IP) phones, Universal Serial Bus (USB) phones, wired and wireless headsets, conferencing phones, LCD monitors and laptops.

*Improved economics. Because many companies will deliver Microsoft-qualified devices, customers will have more options, including devices tailored to the needs of specific types of workers and that deliver more value for less cost. According to Gartner Inc., "handsets typically cost around 40 percent to 45 percent of the total telephony installation."

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