Office Communications Server 2007 implements a feature called Public Internet Connectivity (PIC). Basically, PIC enables you to federate with AOL, Yahoo and MSN/Live Messenger. Thus a user using an AOL IM client can connect and use IM with someone inside your organisation. PIC was cool, but was limited to just the three suppliers (i.e. no Google Talk) and it was licensed separately.
In the past month Microsoft has released some important news. First, PIC licensing has changed. Secondly, Microsoft has announced the release of an XMPP Gateway which facilitates present and IM interoperability between OCS and both Jabber (now owned by Cisco) and Google’s Google Talk.
There are some key PIC Licensing changes. The additional PIC license will not longer be required for federation with AOL. Federation with AOL is free for customers with OCS R2 Standard CAL, or Software Assurance on their current OCS license. But if you wish to federate with Yahoo, you continue to need a PIC license, but the cost of this drops by 50% (effective 1 October 2009). Additionally, as from June 2009, you no longer need a PIC license to federate wit Windows Live (same requirements as noted above for AOL federation).
The release of an OCS 2007 XMPP Gateway means you can federate with both Google’s Google Talk, and with Jabber. And the licensing calls the gateway “Additional Software” meaning there is no additional Microsoft licensing costs associated with you deploying the Gateway.
The OCS Team have published a couple of articles to explain how to get the XMPP gateway up and running. The first blog post discusses Configuring XMPP connectivity to Google Talk. The second blog post looks at how to configure the XMPP Gateway with Jabber XCP 5.4. Both articles are detailed and well illustrated.
For OCS 2007 R2 users, PIC connectivity got a whole lot better!