“Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said it is launching a desktop application that aims to seamlessly integrate e-mail, instant messaging, video conferencing, traditional phone service and Internet-based calling,” Mark Jewell reports for The Associated Press. “Microsoft plans to debut the product, code-named ‘Istanbul,’ sometime in the first half of 2005 to compete with efforts by rivals like IBM Corp. to link different channels of communications onto a single platform accessible from a computer.”
“Microsoft is testing Istanbul with corporate clients, and expects to run similar tests with consumers in the next few months before bringing the product to market, said Anoop Gupta, vice president of Microsoft’s real-time collaboration efforts,” Jewell reports. “Istanbul will enable users to communicate with others regardless of which brand of instant messaging either party is using, said Gupta, who announced the plans at the VON Fall 2004 conference on voice-over-Internet phone technology.”
“Istanbul will feature so-called ‘rich presence’ technology, using ‘buddy’ lists to indicate which colleagues or friends are available for a range of communications rather than merely through the IM service itself,” Jewell reports. “Then, users could choose to immediately respond to an e-mail via instant messenger or another method such as voice-over-Internet within the same application, rather than switching back and forth between applications.”
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MacDailyNews Take: We wouldn’t mind having something like this on our Mac OS X machines. Blend equal parts of Mail, iChat, Skype, and Vonage and call it iCommunicate