Microsoft reveals new 'Greenwich' name, details

Microsoft Corp. further hoisted the curtain surrounding its real time collaboration and enterprise instant messaging (IM) platform Thursday, revealing the product's official name and saying that it would deliver developer tools in conjunction with the server software.

The previously dubbed "Greenwich" technologies, currently in beta, are now the Microsoft Real-Time Communications Server (MS RTC Server).

"Greenwich is standard for real time so we thought it was appropriate," said Ed Simnett, lead project manager of Microsoft's Real Time Collaboration business unit.

In addition to the name change, the company also announced that it would be releasing a set of developer tools along with the software, all due to be delivered in the beginning of the third quarter of this year.

Microsoft said that a subset of the Greenwich technologies will be made available as an add-on component to the Windows Server 2003. The presence and messaging platform, based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) standards, will be delivered as a free update to the networking stack, Microsoft said.

"This will allow developers to build applications that take advantage of presence and presence-based router capabilities," Simnett said. Presence is the ability to see when a user is online and available to communicate.

Simnett said he expects that companies use the tools to integrate IM and presence capabilities into their customer relationship management (CRM) applications, for example, or create notification services.

Additionally, the company will be releasing SIP protocols from Greenwich to subscribers of the Microsoft Software Developer Network as part of a software developer kit.

The Redmond, Washington, software maker released the Greenwich beta just over a month ago, after much speculation as to what tack the company would take in the enterprise IM market.

Greenwich offers companies IM functionality that includes data collaboration, PC-to-PC voice and video and integration with the company's MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises service, among other features. The company has presented a broad vision for its real-time communications platform, and has painted the MS RTC Server as the first step toward a fully-integrated communications platform.

The company has yet to disclose a price for the new software.

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