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Updated Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Solution Gives Service Providers Expanded Business Communication Services to Attract SMBs

LAS VEGAS, June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today at NXTcomm08, Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (HMC) Version 4.5, offering service providers a robust platform to deliver integrated, streamlined communications services to small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The latest version adds new services enabled by Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, providing enhanced collaboration and presence functionality by integrating contact information with the various ways people communicate. In addition, Microsoft partners, including network equipment providers, independent software vendors and systems integrators, have built solutions extending the HMC 4.5 platform. These range from delivering advanced voice capabilities to empowering end customers with hosting automation tools, as well as developing consulting practices for solution deployments, upgrades and further customization.

LAS VEGAS, June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today at NXTcomm08, Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (HMC) Version 4.5, offering service providers a robust platform to deliver integrated, streamlined communications services to small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The latest version adds new services enabled by Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, providing enhanced collaboration and presence functionality by integrating contact information with the various ways people communicate. In addition, Microsoft partners, including network equipment providers, independent software vendors and systems integrators, have built solutions extending the HMC 4.5 platform. These range from delivering advanced voice capabilities to empowering end customers with hosting automation tools, as well as developing consulting practices for solution deployments, upgrades and further customization.

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With support for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, HMC 4.5 facilitates real-time communications and delivers a unified messaging experience. In addition to the integration of e-mail, fax and telephony into the PC desktop, mobile devices and Web access, HMC 4.5 also enables new voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities, including PC-to-PC calling and webconferencing. As companies are increasingly relying on mobile and remote workers, these new services offer workers the same voice and data communications they would have if they were in the office.

In addition, HMC 4.5 takes advantage of the recently launched Windows Server 2008 operating system with Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7) to provide new virtualization capabilities and security enhancements. With these capabilities, service providers can realize improved resource utilization and have a reliable platform for an optimized datacenter deployment.

"Service providers today need a robust platform that they can reliably scale to deliver new services, support customers and manage costs," said Steve Zimba, managing director of the Global Telecom Business at Microsoft. "Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Version 4.5 addresses these requirements and allows service providers to differentiate their offerings by creating service bundles, offering private-label solutions for the broader IT channel, and creating targeted, customized solutions."

Partners Extend Opportunities with HMC 4.5

A number of partners are currently working to build additional applications on the HMC 4.5 platform, including Nortel, BroadSoft Inc. and Sylantro Systems Corp. Nortel has combined HMC 4.5 with its Communications Server 2000 Internet Protocol multimedia softswitch to deliver a new, powerful unified communications solution offering real-time communications, such as PC- to-PSTN calling, with Microsoft's collaboration services, such as click-to- call, click-to-conference, missed-call e-mail messages, mobility and telephony presence. BroadSoft and Sylantro plan to launch similar offerings in late 2008.

In addition, Microsoft partners ExtendASP, Ensim Corp. and Parallels have extended HMC 4.5 to offer management software designed to empower customers and simplify administration tasks with delegated administration, automated provisioning, and device and client configuration.

"At Ensim, our mission is to create software for service providers that allows them to focus on promoting and selling their hosted services rather than operations and development," said Francois Depayras, vice president of marketing and alliances at Ensim. "With HMC 4.5 and its support for Microsoft Office Communications Server, we are excited to further support a broad range of applications that will provide end customers an extensive selection to choose from."

Microsoft has also partnered with consulting companies, such as implement.com Corp. and Planet Technologies, to develop consulting practices to support HMC 4.5. These practices are designed to assist service providers with installation and solution upgrades, and to provide training and documentation services to ensure best practices are followed.

"As a consulting company that specializes in Microsoft technologies, implement.com is ready to work with service providers to roll out HMC 4.5 and help customize it according to their specific functionality requirements," said Steve Schwartz, chief executive officer of implement.com.

NXTcomm08 attendees can obtain additional information by visiting Microsoft booths SL5916 and SL5923. Further details on HMC 4.5 are available at http://www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/solutions/hostedmessaging.mspx.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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