Unified Communications

Bill Gates Presents the One (Really Big) Ringy Dingy
Microsoft never ceases to amaze me:

That day, Bill Gates plans to introduce Microsoft’s invasion into their business, with a new line of software for what the company calls “unified communications.” That means it is meant to integrate all the ways that people talk to each other: voice, video, instant messaging and more elaborate forms of online collaboration.
If it is successful, this software will accelerate the shift of communications from specialized devices and networks onto Internet-based networks, desktop PCs and microprocessor-based servers. And that, in turn, could challenge the economics of the remarkably profitable telecommunications industry.

Wow! Awesome. Unified communications. Using the power of the desktop and servers. Sounds like they’re started to listen to what Google started doing over a decade ago?
Hold up. HOLD UP! I spoke too soon, the article continues:

On Tuesday Mr. Gates and his lieutenant Jeff Raikes will focus on marketing three software packages: Microsoft Communications Server 2007; a client software application dubbed Microsoft Office Communicator 2007; as well as a collaboration program, Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

Ah, I knew there was a catch.
I swear I’ve seen an example of unified communications somewhere before, a place where you can video chat, text chat and make presentations in real-time… hmmm…