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New MSN Messenger Connect Service Empowers Business Communication Between Enterprise and Consumer Worlds RRS feed

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  • Bridging its expertise in consumer and enterprise software, Microsoft Corp. today announced plans for the availability of its new MSN® Messenger Connect for Enterprises service. MSN Messenger Connect offers an enterprise a manageable way of doing business with its expanding external customer base utilizing instant messaging by logging and auditing conversations to a Microsoft® SQL Server (TM) 2000 database and providing administrative control of instant messaging namespaces for contact names within their organizations. The service represents a milestone in Microsoft's enterprise messaging strategy, currently code-named "Greenwich," as corporations invest in more-effective ways to directly communicate and perform transactions with their customers.

    MSN Messenger Connect empowers businesses to communicate instantly with the more than 75 million unique end users of MSN Messenger, enabling, for example, brokers to share time-sensitive information with customers and clients to make purchases in real time. The new service delivers critical functionality to businesses such as logging and auditing of instant message communications with customers, capturing the data to provide a searchable record of transactions and instant message conversations. In addition, management and administration of user identities and namespaces for employees is provided to give greater assurance that customers are dealing with actual representatives of a particular company or organization. The service, which will cost $24 annually per user with discounts for volume, provides an integrated experience with other Microsoft technologies, including the Windows® operating system and Active Directory® API, and with existing Exchange 2000 instant messaging services. In the future, MSN Messenger Connect will utilize Microsoft's integration of a comprehensive enterprise platform for real-time communications and collaboration into the Windows Server product family, code-named "Greenwich." MSN Messenger Connect will offer businesses an initial view of the type of real-time communications experience that will become available with "Greenwich."

    "Microsoft's experience in providing software and services for both enterprises and consumers makes us uniquely qualified to bring managed instant messaging to the workplace," said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN. "MSN Messenger Connect delivers features that our enterprise customers have told us they require, such as logging and namespace management, to effectively communicate and conduct transactions with their customers using the MSN Messenger Service."

    Leading Customers Deploy, Help Design New Offering

    Although MSN Messenger Connect will be delivered as a broad corporate offering, the finance community expressed an immediate need for this kind of solution to assist in deepening its digital customer relationships while complying with federal regulations. Several major financial institutions are working with Microsoft on the initial design of the service through their participation in the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises Joint Development Program.

    The MSN Messenger Connect service utilizes logging and auditing capabilities, provided by ISV partners FaceTime Communications Inc. and IMlogic Inc., to help financial institutions comply with Securities and Exchange Commission mandates for customer transactions while utilizing instant messaging as a communication vehicle. The service will enable corporations to manage the use of identities created for their employees within the ISV partner applications. For example, Microsoft can determine which employees receive "@microsoft.com" messenger handles. Its IT professionals will easily add, remove and support accounts as employees join and leave organizations.

    MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises Future Integration With "Greenwich"

    "Greenwich," the upcoming communications and collaboration platform, will feature a host of security-enhanced, enterprise-scale services for businesses, including instant messaging services that expand upon and work in conjunction with MSN Messenger Connect. "Greenwich" will offer a platform for real-time communications scenarios such as voice, video, data collaboration and presence integration. For financial customers today, Reuters has released Reuters Messaging, a hosted service based on an early release of "Greenwich." Reuters will help Microsoft integrate MSN Messenger Connect into the hosted Reuters service, which already has users in more than 100 countries.

    Lewis Knopf, Reuters managing director, Collaboration Services, said, "MSN Messenger Connect will provide the Reuters Messaging community with a managed method for real-time communication with the more than 75 million MSN Messenger users. The financial community will now have new ways to conduct business with their customer base through instant messaging."

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:35 AM