Nortel vs. Cisco: Either Way, Microsoft Wins
The cat fight between Nortel and Cisco could make Microsoft a top dog in the unified communications market. At least that’s the current spin from The VAR Guy.
Microsoft’s close relationship with Nortel apparently prompted Cisco to seek a closer partnership with the software giant. (Although Cisco claims Microsoft came calling because Nortel VARs are allegedly defecting to Cisco.)
Either way, Microsoft now has partnerships in place with two of the top unified communication hardware providers. That could help Windows fight back competition from Linux in the IP telephony market.
A decade ago, dozens of software companies were designing IP telephony servers on Windows NT. But these days, the Asterisk open source server and Linux are generating most of the buzz in IP telephony.
Still, Microsoft has a growing portfolio of VoIP solutions on the way. At VoiceCon, Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s Business Division, described two key products–Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007–as the most important new communications technology since Microsoft Outlook.
Raikes highlighted how “click-to-call” fatures would allow you to call someone simply by clicking on the person’s name within other Microsoft Office applications. Neat, but not exactly revolutionary. He also touched on “presence” technology, which determines your location and the best way for colleagues to reach you. Ultimately, he believes the move to unified communications is as significant as the move from mainframes to PC.
You can register for the public beta version of Office Communications Server and Communicator 2007 at http://www.microsoft.com/uc.