Eileen Brown of Microsoft was kind enough to organize a bloggers’ lunch at INTERACT 2008 today. There was a good crowd, including some folks I knew and many that I hadn’t previously met. I got there late and had to leave early, but in between, we got a great presentation on the inner workings of the Exchange team blog, plus a panel discussion with several senior Microsoft folks from the Unified Communications Group. As a closing surprise, we got permission to talk about a previously unannounced product that has heretofore been under deep NDA: the Mac business unit at Microsoft is close to releasing a new version of Mac Messenger, version 7.0, that adds some impressive new functionality.
Like earlier versions, the new Messenger release can simultaneously connect to the Windows Live Messenger service and corporate IM networks. In this case, Messenger adds support for OCS 2007 using the same enhanced presence model that Office Communicator uses. Better yet, it supports voice and video with other OCS users! I’ve been using this feature for a while and it rocks. Combine it with OCS’ ability to federate contacts across multiple organizations, and it rocks even more. Voice and video quality in my tests has been excellent, and the OCS support carries on Messenger’s tradition of providing a very Mac-ish user experience. I hope to get permission to post some screenshots in the next day or two; more news when there is news.