Microsoft is to incorporate Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn updates within its flagship email program Outlook. It is a move that could get Outlook banned in offices around the world by control freak outfits who believe that social notworking costs them shedloads of money. (It didn't. We just wanted to annoy our staff. sub.ed.)
Microsoft dominates the market for enterprise office productivity tools, but has come under increasing pressure from online innovators like Google and Zoho that offer businesses decent alternatives at significant discounts. In a Redmond press release Microsoft said that the public beta of LinkedIn for Outlook will enable our millions of Office 2010 Beta users to connect the Outlook Social Connector to a public network for the first time. Microsoft said that it has partnered with Facebook too.
“Our vision for Outlook (and the OSC) is to provide a communications hub that is vital to both professional and personal communications; by integrating with both Facebook and MySpace, Outlook 2010 enables you to connect not only to co-workers and colleagues, but with all of your friends and family within your Outlook Inbox,” Redmond said.
Current beta testers have access to the LinkedIn feature, which puts a profile picture, contact info and status updates next to any email sent from a LinkedIn user. The addition will be familiar to users of Xobni, a four-year old startup whose Outlook plug-in sidebar adds LinkedIn profiles, contact information and e-mail history with a given contact next to incoming messages.