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Chapter 15. Using NetMeeting > The Evolution of NetMeeting

The Evolution of NetMeeting

The confluence of high-bandwidth Internet access and the unstoppable push toward corporate downsizing has had many repercussions on the nature of the workplace in the nineties. One of the effects has been the meteoric rise in the popularity of telecommuting. Computer-based tools to assist in telecommuting are on the rise as a result. Because so much of the work that telecommuting entails (computer programming, technical writing, interactivity with the corporate database) involves computers, tools such as Remote Access Services (RAS), Telnet, and Internet telephony have evolved to fill a growing need.

Although it was behind initially, Microsoft decided to jump into the Internet fray a few years ago, fearing it would be left in the electronic dust otherwise. Along with the development of email software, browsers, and other Net-related goodies, a special team at Microsoft worked quietly to integrate the latest in voice and videoconferencing tools into a single, inexpensive product. It's called NetMeeting, and in fact, it's so inexpensive that it's free. As part of the effort, Microsoft, in its usual fashion, hoped to pull in users who were, at the time, paying for products such as VocalTech's InternetPhone by giving away the Microsoft product for free.


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