Microsoft is expected to announce beta availability Tuesday for its new real-time collaboration client, code-named Istanbul.
Executives will talk up the company's upcoming Live Communication Server 2005/Istanbul combo as a way for dispersed groups to work together efficiently over the Internet using VoIP.
Istanbul is also slated to support point-to-point video using "new high-quality Windows codecs," said sources. CRN has previously reported that Istanbul will support RingCam, a prototype pivoting conference-room camera. RingCam is geared to put faces with the voices in Web conferencing scenarios.
On the VoIP front, the new client when paired with third-party gateways or a properly configured PBX, will enable some pretty sophisticated scenarios, sources said.
"If you get a call on your office phone, you get an alert from Istanbul that says you have a call and who it is or from what number. Then, you have the option to press a button to forward it to your mobile or to take it via your laptop if you're not in the office," said one source.
The new client will be officially announced at the VON show in Boston, by Microsoft vice president Anoop Gupta, sources said.
Sources close to the company said to think of Istanbul as the latest-and-greatest Microsoft Messenger instant messaging, but with VoIP support built in.
Istanbul will use the VoIP signaling built into LCS 2005 but will also work with other SIP (Session Initiation Protocol] infrastructures, the sources said.
To fill in its real-time communications picture, Microsoft is also working on a connectivity pack that would foster interoperability between its own instant messaging infrastructure and IM from rivals America Online and Yahoo. That software will be sold as an add-on to LCS 2005.
The status of LCS 2005 right now is very close to shipment several sources said. Chief among its perks is easier federation of multiple LCS servers. A Microsoft spokesman would only say it is due by year's end. Microsoft had promised that it would ship this fall. Microsoft could not be reached for comment on the Istanbul news.
One source close to Microsoft said to expect an LCS 2005 shipment announcement not this week, but soon thereafter.
This story was updated Tuesday morning with additional comment.