Microsoft's hype machine kicked into high gear today, trotting out Gates, Raikes, etc. for a point release of Live Meeting, a service pack of Live Communications Server,and an upgrade and rebrand of Messenger into Communicator.  Let's take a look at what Microsoft Monitor had to say:

all that capability could carry a big price tag for many businesses. Office Communicator does need Live Communications Server 2005, for which Microsoft today released a service pack. To get the most bang out of the collaboration features, businesses also would need Office 2003, Outlook (and so Exchange Server 2003), SharePoint Portal Server, SharePoint Portal Services (and so Windows Server 2003) and Office Live Meeting.
How many pieces to that jigsaw puzzle?
Another cost consideration is public connectivity. During second half 2004, Microsoft started making a big deal out of connectivity with public IM networks AIM, MSN and Yahoo!. But there will be a cost--an annual per-user, subscription licensing fee--associated with the public network connectivity. Microsoft partners and, particularly, competitors should watch for layer upon layer of hidden costs associated with a customer deploying Microsoft's 2005 communications and collaboration products.
Not exactly a strong endorsement.

Link: Microsoft Monitor: What Price for Communications and Presence >

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