[This is pre-release documentation and subject to change in future releases. This topic's current status is: Milestone-Ready]

Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-18

Instant messaging (IM) enables your users to communicate with each other in real time on their computers using text-based messages. Both two-party and multi-party IM sessions are supported. A participant in a two-party IM conversation can add a third participant to the conversation at any time; when this happens, the conversation window changes to support conferencing features.

If you also deploy Edge Servers, you can choose to enable your users to exchange instant messages with users of public instant messaging services, including any or all of the following: Windows Live, AOL, and Yahoo!, as well as XMPP-based providers and servers, such as Google Talk and Jabber. Note that a separate license might be required for public IM connectivity with Windows Live, AOL, and Yahoo!.

Presence provides information to users about the status of other on the network. A user’s presence status provides information to help others decide whether they should try to contact the user and whether to use instant messaging, phone, or e-mail. Presence encourages instant communication when possible, but it also provides information about whether a user is in a meeting or out of the office, indicating that instant communication is not possible. This presence status is exposed as a presence icon in Microsoft Communicator "14" and other presence-aware applications, including the Outlook messaging and collaboration client, SharePoint technologies, Word, and Excel. The presence icon represents the user’s current availability and willingness to communicate.