How Cisco Plans to Unplug Microsoft’s IP Phones
When Microsoft begins shipping a small business IP phone system code named “Response Point” later this year, many pundits expect Cisco to counter aggressively with rival IP phone systems. The VAR Guy begs to differ. Instead, he expects Cisco to call in reinforcements from Southern California.
That’s where Cisco’s Linksys operation is headquartered. While Microsoft will depend on D-Link and other partners to break into the small business IP phone market, Linksys has successfully fended off Microsoft before. Does anybody else remember Microsoft’s lame attempt at WiFi hardware sales? Microsoft abandoned that market in 2004 after dismal performances in the consumer and small business sectors.
This time around, Microsoft is wise to partner with D-Link and other companies that have small business network hardware experience. But before you choose sides, ask yourself this question: After experiencing so many viruses and reliability headaches with Windows XP, are your small business customers willing to trust their dial-tones to Microsoft?
Still, Microsoft has learned a ton about the small business market through its Small Business Server initiatives. Thousands of VARs already recommend and support Small Business Server. Microsoft’s forthcoming Response Point is designed for businesses with 50 or fewer users–making it a natural sell for all of those established Microsoft small business VARs.
Perhaps Cisco better call in more reinforcements.