Microsoft to unveil telephone hardware

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Microsoft is set to unveil its next generation of handsets and telephony devices that tie into the current beta trials of Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007. Notable partners in the venture (unveiled at WinHEC this year) include ASUSTek Computer Inc., GN, LG-Nortel Co. Ltd., NEC Corp., Plantronics Inc., Polycom Inc., SAMSUNG, Tatung Co. and ViTELiX. Microsoft’s eventual plan is to provide the communications software that enables a wide variety of communication methods, including e-mail, IM, conferencing, VoIP, and mobile communications.

Microsoft’s approach with these devices is built around three design precepts. “Just Works” is meant to ensure that handsets are fully compatible out-of-the-box with all Microsoft communications software and function as smoothly as any (modern) Plug-and-Play device. “Greater choice and innovation” is meant to ensure that customers have a maximum amount of options when selecting phones from various vendors, while “Improved economics” expresses Microsoft’s belief that the wide variety of available models will allow businesses to select only the handsets with features they need, thereby saving money.

[Submitted by Imran Asad]

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