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PlaceWare Gets Tight With Microsoft

In a move to more tightly integrate its Web conferencing service with Microsoft applications, PlaceWare Inc yesterday announced RapidMeeting. By adding a PlaceWare button to the Microsoft Outlook interface, the Mountain View, Calif.-based PlaceWare hopes to make scheduling and conducting Web conferences as easy as sending an email.

Integration with desktop applications is what customers are demanding, PlaceWare's David Hastie told ASPnews. While the market for Web-based collaboration is expected to grow, Hastie said contextual collaboration — as opposed to stand-alone collaboration applications — is where the market must head to reach a broader audience.

In its first release, RapidMeeting will allow PlaceWare users to to enter Web meetings and conferences directly from only Microsoft Outlook. Later this quarter, PlaceWare says its customers will also have the ability to initiate instant Web conferences using Microsoft Windows Messenger.

"PlaceWare's use of .NET to create connected services and intelligent support of Windows XP and Windows Messenger will provide the agility needed to reach more customers," said Steve Lewis, general manager, business development and evangelism of Microsoft's Platform Strategy Group.

PlaceWare reports that this is the first step of an ongoing integration with Microsoft's .NET connected services, Windows XP, Windows Movie Media, Microsoft Outlook and Windows Messenger.

"PlaceWare's strength as a Microsoft partner is our ability to blend Web conferencing services and Internet/networking expertise, layered on top of Microsoft's software foundations," said Barry James Folsom, PlaceWare's president, CEO and chairman. "This further deepening of our relationship will enable customers to more easily realize benefits of Web conferencing."

According to PlaceWare, deploying RapidMeeting involves only adding a PlaceWare plug-in. No server-side integration or modification to Microsoft Exchange servers is needed.


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