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Microsoft buys Parlano to bolster ‘enterprise chat’

Less than two months before it launches  Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft is buying Parlano, and says it will integrate that company’s “group chat” capability into OCS.

Parlano’s MindAlign group chat will be funneled into both OCS, which melds VoIP, IM and Web conferencing and into the Office Communicator client, Microsoft said Wednesday night via e-mail.

It was unclear whether MindAlign would make it into the initial release of either product or be slip-streamed in later. Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

Update: The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and after that customers with software assurance rights to OCS 2007 standard CAL will have rights to group chat based on Parlano technology. Those with Live Communications Server 2005 Standard CALs and with active Software Assurance will also have the right to group chat, according to Microsoft.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

There is clearly consolidating going on around enterprise IM. In January, Adobe Systems bought Antepo, a New York EIM provider.

Instant messaging, pioneered by America Online, took the consumer world by storm and subsequently infiltrated offices as workers brought their favorite tools in from home. That invasion did not amuse IT departments who viewed IM, rightly, as a security weakness:

Since then solution providers have wrestled with resulting issues—nothing like cutting and pasting corporate data into an IM message and sending it to the buddy universe. And vendors worked to fill the gap. IBM blazed the trail of corporate-palatable IM with Sametime.  Microsoft is responding with OCS.

Barbara Darrow, a Boston-area journalist, can be reached at badarrow@comcast.net

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