Office Communications Server 2007 R2 beta released

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Office Communications Server 2007 R2 beta released

Well if the cat wasn't out of the bag already over the naming convention (OCS 2007 R2 vs. OCS 2009) for the next release of Office Communications Server 2007, we can put that to rest. It will be indeed be called Office Communications Server 2007 R2. In fact, just a few days ago, Microsoft shipped the beta for Office Communications Server 2007 R2, "in record time after shipping OCS 2007 last year."

Kintan Brahmbhatt, a Program Manager at Microsoft writes, "It is a great achievement for the team. Today brings back memories from my earlier days, when Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 had recently shipped and we were all gung ho about Office Communications Server." Kintan goes down memory lane showing a video with Scoble (when he was still with Microsoft) along with some of Microsoft's Real Time Collaboration gang - Dhigha, Mallika, Kyle and Kintan. Check out the video & news about OCS 2007 R2 beta here:

I'm happy to see Kintan involved with OCS since back in the early days of OCS. I wonder if Kintan was with Microsoft when Microsoft launched technologies formerly referred to by the code name "Greenwich", which was part of the Microsoft Real-Time Communications Server (RTC Server) 2003. I was one of the early RTC Server beta testers 5 years ago. It only did SIP/VoIP and IM and not video, and was the precursor to Live Communications Server 2005 -- if I recall correctly. Of course, LCS 2005 later evolved to become OCS 2007.

If memory serves me correctly, RTC Server didn't do well in the market and perhaps didn't even actually launch out of beta. RTC Server was more of an IM/presence platform and didn't have strong PBX integration. I do recall that the ability to enter in SIP credentials was removed from Windows Messenger, which was annoying since I wanted to deploy it at TMC. It appeared Microsoft was giving up on SIP and any sort of open SIP-based communications platform.

It was then in January 2006, that the Exchange and RTC (Real-Time Collaboration) groups were merged together that indicated to me that Microsoft wasn't giving up on unified communications and that they were truly serious this time. Microsoft has had many stops & starts in VoIP - from Netmeeting to Windows Messenger with support with SIP providers (Net2Phone) to RTC Server. It appears with OCS 2007 (which I've reviewed) and now OCS 2007 R2 beta Microsoft finally got it right. I'm looking forward to checking out OCS 2007 R2 in the near future.

Via Kintan's MSDN blog.

I should mention that this beta release is only available for customers/partners that were accepted for the OCS Technology Adoption Program. There is unfortunately no Public Beta available.

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