Please note that Microsoft Office Live Meeting has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of Microsoft Office Live Meeting below, or check out the rest of the Web Conferencing Services we've reviewed.
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Microsoft Office Live Meeting is an easy to use and reasonable quality web conferencing solution from the software giant. Being part of the Office family it integrates seamlessly with any existing applications you might use, such as Outlook or Excel and the range of server products, to allow you to easily collaborate on documents over the web. It is available both as a hosted solution on Microsoft's servers or as a software package to install on your own systems.
The main functionality of Office Live Meeting is to allow you to share your desktop with participants in a meeting. This allows you to work on documents together and exchange ideas using the interactive whiteboards. It is easy to set up and schedule meetings using Outlook - which will generate automatic invitations with all the necessary details for your guests. Once inside a meeting the interface is fairly easy to use and will be familiar to anyone who has used other Microsoft products.
Communication is well catered for in Office Live Meeting. The main form most people will likely use is the integrated VOIP support which lets you talk through a microphone connected to your computer instead of a traditional phone line. For guests without access to a computer there is a separate audio conferencing number to dial into which is then integrated into the web conference. As well as this Microsoft provides good support for up to 360 users broadcasting from webcams. This is a lot more than most applications allow.
Like most Microsoft products, Live Meeting was riddled with bugs when it was first released. It has been around in its current version for a while now so most have been patched, but there are still concerns being raised about some of the security features. When going for a deployed solution this is a concern because lots of problems mean lots of visits from specialists which soon rack up the bills.
Microsoft Office Live Meeting is a widely used tool for web conferencing and not without reason. Love them or hate them, Microsoft products generally do the job pretty well when they work correctly; it's just the bugs and flaws you need to look out for. Microsoft provide a free trial buried within their website that you can try for yourself.
Please note that Microsoft Office Live Meeting has now been discontinued.