Microsoft partner is first with hosted Communications Server

A Microsoft partner has become the first to offer the company's new unified communications software on a hosted basis.

A Microsoft partner has become the first to offer Microsoft's new unified communications software as a hosted service.

Intermedia on Tuesday will begin offering Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) as a hosted service on a subscription basis for $US7.95 per user, per month, vice-president of strategy for Intermedia, Rurik Bradbury, said. The service initially will be available to users of Intermedia's hosted Exchange service, which costs $12 per user, per month. Eventually, the OCS service will be available independently of that service, he said.

Intermedia is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider in New York and one of Microsoft's hosting partners. Microsoft also offers Exchange as a hosted service, and eventually plans to offer OCS as a hosted service, but has not specified when. Other Microsoft hosting partners such as and Apptix also plan to offer OCS on a hosted basis, but have not done so thus far.

The company is already hosting OCS for some early adopter customers, but the general rollout of the service starts Tuesday, Bradbury said. The service is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses that find it too complicated to install all the software on premise and administer and manage it themselves.

"If you think Exchange is difficult to set up for a small business, think about setting up Exchange and OCS," Bradbury said. "It's an absolute nightmare for SMBs to do this."

Included in the hosted OCS offering will be private, secure instant messaging and message archiving -- the latter of which is a legal requirement for companies that deal with sensitive information, such as financial services and health care, Bradbury said. The service also offers Web presence integration across Office Communicator, Outlook and SharePoint, so a user's free/busy status is available to colleagues across all those services, and PC-to-PC voice and video conferencing.

One feature of OCS that isn't in the first version of the hosted service is integration with a company's PBX (private branch exchange), but that will be available in a future version, he added.

Microsoft launched OCS in October as the hub of its unified communications strategy, which aims to run a company's e-mail, instant-messaging, Web-conferencing, video-conferencing and IP-based telephony services on one software infrastructure. Microsoft and other software providers such as IBM, as well as traditional networking providers such as Cisco, are competing in this new convergence space, which used to be primarily the domain of telecommunications providers.

Intermedia plans to host its OCS service out of its datacentres in California, where it has three: one in Milpitas, one in San Jose and one in Sunnyvale. The company also has a datacentre in New York.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?