Microsoft has (very quietly) put an Add-in Pack on its website for Live Meeting 2005. The free download gives users of Microsoft's web conferencing software some new functionality in three main areas.
It lets users schedule Live Meeting sessions from Outlook, selecting participants from the address book and identifying them as attendees or presenters, with appropriate email invitations going to each (something you could do before only from the administrator's console when setting up an event).
It lets users start an immediate "Meet Now" session from a Microsoft Office application such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, or Project. The document being worked on shows up automatically in an application sharing window.
It lets users start a one-to-one Live Meeting session from an instant messenger session in Windows Messenger or MSN Messenger (both parties must have the software installed).
I'll never understand Microsoft's marketing machine. Here is the kind of news that got Adobe huge coverage when they effectively did the same thing with access to Connect from within Acrobat. Yet Microsoft's addition gets no press release, no banner on the product web page, and no media coverage. Perhaps they are worried about being seen as coming up with a "me-too" feature. Perhaps they don't want to make any announcements about Live Meeting 2005 because they are preparing a huge push for the new 2007 versiondue out some time this year (maybe). Perhaps it's just that Live Meeting has been buried in the corporate product stack and has no press or marketing budget or priority.
Whatever the case, there are still a lot of users of Microsoft Live Meeting as well as resellers of the software. Somebody should let these people know that the product is not completely stagnant!
UPDATE: 3/22/07 -- David points out correctly that this add-in has been available for a while. I got fooled because the Microsoft information page for the add-in lists the publication date as 3/20/2007. This date must refer to a new bug fix release of the add-in pack. Details on the updates are available at this link. I apologize to Microsoft and to my readers for the misleading post. I'd write more, but I'm having trouble pulling my foot out of my mouth. Thanks, David.