Microsoft MIA From Nortel SSA Deal

Alliances, like Microsoft's and Nortel's, aren't always what they're supposedly cracked up to be, even more so between corporate titans. Innovative Communications Alliance is slow to yield fully baked solutions but that's not holding Nortel back. Nortel is blasting forward, for example, on a mega-deal with the Social Security Administration. No mention of Microsoft in sight, probably because there just aren't the solutions ready yet for this super-sized customer deal. We're talking $300 million, 10-year contract, 1,600 locations, 55,000 users when the VoIP implementation is fully deployed. The SSA is a major win for Nortel.

Not that Microsoft and Nortel aren't selling some deals. Wannon Water just announced an upgrade to OCS 2007 and Nortel gear to cover their 22 offices down under in Australia. It's not the SSA deal, but then again, it fits into what is more likely a sweet spot for OCS when combined with Nortel VoIP hardware.

What does all this say about ICA and Microsoft's own unified communications Office Communications Server 2007 products? First, Microsoft may never be able to go it alone in the VoIP business, at least certainly not in the near term. VoIP's still a telecommunications sale, involving handsets and communications gear. We're not at the days of making all our phone calls via our computers, at least not yet. A few leading edge thinkers, like Gold Systems in Colorado, have positioned themselves as a key Microsoft go-to-partner for implementing unified communications solutions with Microsoft OCS 2007. Gold Systems is definitely one of the "companies to watch" that I'll be tracking to follow Microsoft's progress in the unified communications market.

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