Microsoft Corp. and conferencing technology maker Polycom Inc. are teaming up to develop ways for people using PCs and other devices to hold virtual meetings with those using more traditional conferencing equipment.
The deal announced Tuesday is aimed at businesses using Microsoft's Live Communications Server and Pleasanton, Calif.-based Polycom's audio, video and Web conferencing products.
In the first stage of the deal, due out by the end of the year, people using Live Communications Server and Windows XP's Windows Messenger on their desktops would be able to hold a virtual meeting with others using Polycom products. By 2006, the two companies hope to have their products work even more closely together.
Marc Sanders, a senior product manager at Redmond-based Microsoft, said the companies hadn't yet decided how much they will charge users for these capabilities, or whether some will be free.
Live Communications Server is one of several products Microsoft has begun marketing to businesses, amid efforts to find new revenue streams as the market for its Office software becomes more saturated.
(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)