Microsoft is set to acquire a provider of enterprise group chat software to bolster the messaging capabilities of its Office Communications Server and Office Communicator products.
The company’s plan to acquire privately held Parlano is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
Parlano has about 50 employees, which Microsoft eventually plans to relocate to its headquarters in Redmond.
Parlano sells MindAlign, a group chat application that enables groups of people in an enterprise to maintain a discussion over instant-messaging that persists over time, according to Clint Patterson, Microsoft Unified Communications spokesman.
The application is used by large financial services companies, including Deutsche Bank and UBS. It could enable employees in major cities around the world such as Paris, London, Tokyo and New York to keep track of chats on specific topics that may have occurred even when they were not in the office.
"Traders around the world can maintain a discussion over a security or a fund ... and when folks in New York come in to work they can see what happened [overnight]," he said. In addition to counting top financial services firms as customers, Parlano's software is also said to be popular with call centres and companies in the technology industry.
Parlano had already built MindAlign to run on Office Communications Server 2007, which was released earlier this year. Currently, users of the software can access web presence information from Communications Server to see which members of discussion groups are available to chat, Patterson said.
MindAlign also runs on Office Live Communications Server 2005. Microsoft dropped the “Live” part of the name last year and recast the software as a hub through which enterprises can run various forms of communications, including voice over internet protocol (VoIP), enterprise instant-messaging, interactive voice response systems and video conferencing.
The company's recent investment to make unified communications a priority has it butting heads with more established players in networking and communications, such as Avaya and Cisco Systems.
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