OK, for those of you who follow Microsoft news this will be old news to you, but upon getting back from Israel and catching up on e-mail I read the announcement that we will acquire Parlano. For more info on this, you can read the brief on Parlano's site.
Awhile ago when I was at TechEd several customers asked me what our persistent chat story was. As we really didn't have an answer for this, I had to point them to Parlano's booth at which there was a good deal of grumbling that we should have a story for this ourselves. I remember thinking to myself at the time - couldn't we just buy Parlano? Obviously I wasn't the only one thinking this.
Perhaps the greatest thing from this acquisition is, as the brief above explains, it will be possible for those who purchase Office Communications Server 2007 to get Parlano as part of the standard edition license. Until very recently, I had thought that a decent persistent chat solution was a ways away, but with now we have a very strong solution available immediately (well, as soon as the deal closes).
I must admit that I have only seen screenshots of Parlano and I am not familiar with its features, though as I understand it is a very strong solution and I expect it will meet or exceed the needs of customers who require persistent chat.