Office Communicator 14 makes me wish for a Windows Live Messenger “Lite”

During the TechEd North America 2010 keynote this morning in New Orleans, Microsoft showed off a new build of Office Communicator “14”, the enterprise-equivalent of Windows Live Messenger, and it makes me wish Microsoft would ship a “light” version of Windows Live Messenger for those of us who just want to, dare I say, communicate.

Although this is a tool built with internal communication within company in mind, it’s interesting to note the new focus on VOIP and video which appears to set this application on-par with Skype in the context of richer communication.

During the keynote they demoed a high definition 720p video chat using relatively affordable webcams looked both stunning and responsive. Knowing how flaky Live Messenger voice and video chat can be, if you can get it working to begin with, one has to wonder why this hasn’t carried over to the consumer side.

When an enterprise application delivers a better user experience with a sleeker user interface than a consumer application, one has to wonder what is the world coming to.

15 insightful thoughts

  1. Two versions? Unless they bundle lite by default and the full version as a separate download, I’m entirely sure of helpful it would be.

    1. I would like to see if you can assist me: I’m using Office 2010 Beta and trying to use communication R2. Can not get to setup screen to add info. When I launch it, it automatically post my Comcast email address but unable to enter password or to use in ANY way. Have been working on this for a week. Very frustrated. Any help would be greatly appriciated.

  2. you are suprised? MS get’s most of it’s revenue from the enterprise…
    that’s who PAYS for their solid, very effecient software in that space.
    Office Communications Server (OCS) is the best online collab tool out there (IMHO)

  3. I think I am missing something big here.. Excuse mu ignorance, but isn’t that Microsoft version of Skype? Just with large number of people who can video chat at the same time?

  4. IIRC, OCS ties in with your phone system (PBX) and exchange as well as any Windows Mobile devices so if you set your presence in communicator to Busy it will route communications properly. Similarly if you stick “Out of Office” on your Outlook it will set your desk phone to DND.
    Communicator was originally just an enterprise version of MSN messenger (e.g. no adverts and controllable via policies/Active Directory) but it’s developed quite a lot to include Skype-like features to replace your desk phone

  5. Communicator looks magnitudes better than Windows Live Messenger. Why can’t consumers have something so nice?

  6. Looks nice. Microsoft should really think of having this on the consumer side eirther as “windows live messenger lite” or “windows live messenger pro”

  7. I agree, some cross pollination needs to happen here. Its a stunning app. I notice reading MacRumors a couple weeks back that Office 2011 for Mac will also be getting its own Communicator client. The UI is stunning though, those light gradients and stencil like icons. The first pic is funny, look at the status messages, either they are offline, away or busy. Communication #fail lol

  8. no one mentions windows live wave 4. im waiting for the new live messenger to roll out in a month or so. once you get it, im sure you’ll prefer it more than office communicator.

    1. id rather see them get yahoo to make a new client for WinMo since thats what i use. or they could create a cross network app

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