In November 2009, when Microsoft announced the release of the public beta of Microsoft Office 2010, the company also introduced an entirely new add-on for its Outlook product that we haven’t heard a peep about since.
That’s about to change soon.
The product, dubbed Outlook Social Connector, essentially aims to make Outlook more social by integrating streams from Windows Live and third-party networks directly into the widely used communication app and its familiar interface, among other features that will enhance the functionality of Outlook and other Microsoft products like SharePoint.
Microsoft and its initial launch partner, LinkedIn, didn’t share many details about the product at the time of the initial announcement but stated that it would be made available ‘early 2010′. Since then, it’s been very quiet about the product.
A public beta version of Outlook Social Connector will be available next week, sources now tell us, and we also hear Microsoft will be announcing a number of additional partners that have been brought on board alongside LinkedIn. These partners include social network juggernauts such as Facebook and MySpace, which are of course far less business-oriented than products and services like Outlook and LinkedIn.
While a lot of people will appreciate the ability to see status updates from and interact with friends from multiple social networking services straight from their Outlook application, I have a feeling their managers and their employers’ IT departments will be far less enthusiastic about Social Connector.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...
With over 100 million users representing over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows members to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients. Individuals have the ability to create their own professional profile that can be viewed by others in their network, and also view the profiles of their own contacts. Competitors to LinkedIn include sites such as XING, Doostang and Ecademy. Of note, LinkedIn won...