New MSN Messenger Connect Service Empowers Business Communication Between Enterprise and Consumer Worlds

Nov 15, 2002


Bridging its expertise in consumer and enterprise software, Microsoft Corp. has announced plans for the availability of its new MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises service. MSN Messenger Connect offers enterprises the ability to use instant messaging via the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database with administrative control of instant messaging namespaces for contact names within organizations.

MSN Messenger Connect empowers businesses to communicate instantly with the more than 75 million unique end users of MSN Messenger, enabling, for example, brokers to share time-sensitive information with customers and clients to make purchases in real time. The new service delivers critical functionality to businesses such as logging and auditing of instant message communications with customers, capturing the data to provide a searchable record of transactions and instant message conversations. In addition, management and administration of user identities and namespaces for employees is provided to give greater assurance that customers are dealing with actual representatives of a particular company or organization. The service, which will cost $24 annually, per user with discounts for volume, provides an integrated experience with other Microsoft technologies, including the Windows operating system and Active Directory API, and with existing Exchange 2000 instant messaging services. In the future, MSN Messenger Connect will utilize Microsoft's integration of a comprehensive enterprise platform for real-time communications and collaboration into the Windows Server product family, code-named "Greenwich."

Although MSN Messenger Connect will be delivered as a broad corporate offering, Microsoft says that the finance community expressed an immediate need for this kind of solution to assist in deepening its digital customer relationships while complying with federal regulations. Several major financial institutions are working with Microsoft on the initial design of the service through their participation in the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises Joint Development Program. The MSN Messenger Connect service uses logging and auditing capabilities, provided by ISV partners FaceTime Communications Inc., and IMlogic Inc., to help financial institutions comply with Securities and Exchange Commission mandates for customer transactions while using instant messaging as a communication vehicle.

"Greenwich," Microsoft's upcoming communications and collaboration platform, is expected to feature a host of security-enhanced, enterprise-scale services for businesses, including instant messaging services that expand upon and work in conjunction with MSN Messenger Connect. With "Greenwich," the company plans to offer a platform for real-time communications scenarios such as voice, video, data collaboration and presence integration. For financial customers, Reuters has released Reuters Messaging, a hosted service based on an early release of "Greenwich." Reuters will help Microsoft integrate MSN Messenger Connect into the hosted Reuters service, which already has users in more than 100 countries.  

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