After nearly six months of beta testing, Microsoft's Live Communications Server 2005 is ready for prime time.
The next iteration of Redmond's enterprise instant messaging product was released to manufacturers on Tuesday with enhanced real-time communications capabilities. However, full-fledged interoperability with America Online's AIM and the Yahoo Messenger networks will not be available until the first quarter next year.
Microsoft originally announced the interoperability deal with AOL and Yahoo back in July. That deal called for Microsoft to pay AOL and Yahoo for access to millions of IM consumers and resell that access to businesses running LCS 2005.
When it goes live in the first quarter of 2005, the interoperability service will be sold as add-on modules within LCS 2005.
For the first time, Live Communications Server will be available in both Standard and Enterprise Editions. Microsoft said the new version adds improvements to federated identity capabilities, IM and presence integration.
With federated ID, two or more businesses can share IM and presence awareness in real time in an encrypted, authenticated, and managed environment. Microsoft promises LCS 2005 will eventually allow users to share presence information and IM with suppliers and customers using the three major IM networks MSN, AOL and Yahoo.
The new version also comes with improvements to remote user access, increased scalability to allow up to 15,000 active IM users per server, and a new tiered architecture using Microsoft SQL Server.
LCS 2005 is now shipping with Windows Messenger as the preferred IM client, but the eventual plan is to adopt the Istanbul client to power IM, telephony integration, and PC-based voice and video.
Istanbul is currently in beta and is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2005.
This article was originally published on internetnews.com.