This morning, Microsoft announced the completion of Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005, the company's Instant Messaging (IM) and presence-awareness server product. Part of the Microsoft Office System product line, Live Communications Server 2005 will ship in standard and enterprise editions in December, Microsoft said.
  
"The release to manufacturing of Live Communications Server 2005 marks an important milestone in delivering on our vision for extending the value of Microsoft Office System to encompass rich real-time collaboration capabilities, empowering people to work together more effectively," Corporate Vice President Anoop Gupta, who oversees Microsoft's Real-Time Collaboration Business Unit, said. "This is a powerful upgrade to our standards-based enterprise Instant Messaging platform and delivers native federation capabilities, Instant Messaging, and presence integration with the security and scalability requirements that are so critical for our enterprise customers."
  
Live Communications Server 2005 follows the release of Live Communications Server 2003, which millions of people access daily, Microsoft says. The new release will add federation capabilities, which will let two or more organizations share IM and presence awareness across corporate boundaries; remote user access for workers outside the corporate network; and better scalability. Live Communications Server 2005 will support up to 15,000 active IM sessions per server, a capacity increase of as much as 45 percent. The enterprise edition will add a Microsoft SQL Server-based architecture for improved reliability, scalability, and availability and the ability to pool Live Communications Server 2005 servers to support hundreds of thousands of concurrent users.
  
Live Communications Server 2005 Standard Edition will start at about $750, according to the company, and Live Communications Server 2005 Enterprise Edition will start at $3000. The product will also support the ability to communicate with AOL and Yahoo! IM systems; this functionality will ship in the first half of 2005 for an additional cost.