Microsoft user spurns Cisco for Unified Communications

What makes a user, Gibson Guitar, change its mind on Cisco UC gear and go with Microsoft instead? This is more a case of

the classic Microsoft shop sticking with what it knows than a big wide statement on Cisco or its UC technology. Gibson had Microsoft stuff, so adding OCS was relatively painless. Both Microsoft and Cisco are picking off the low-hanging fruit with unified communications right now. The battle will get really interesting when they duke it out for customers that don't mind mixing and matching. A case study story reported by Network World says:

Gibson Guitar last year abandoned a rollout of Cisco gear and tapped into its existing Microsoft infrastructure to build a unified communications system of voice, e-mail and instant messaging. The company upgraded to the 2007 versions of Office Communications Server (OCS), Exchange Server, Office Communicator and Office Outlook to create a centrally deployed and managed platform that will eventually service 600 users. "What it came down to for us is that we were already running all these Microsoft products so it did not make sense to switch," says Kevin Wing, senior network engineer for Gibson. "For the entire rollout, we only bought one additional server."

This case study is part of a bigger package of stories covering the Cisco vs. Microsoft battle on the UC front by Network World. (A side-by-side comparison of the technologies and user case studies comes complete with slide-show.) Cisco's approach to unified communications is obviously hardware centric. It sees UC as a network-based, hardware-intensive platform that can be extended to support for more environments – like point-of-sale systems, non-PC workgroups and mobile device platforms. Microsoft's UC approach is obviously software-centric. It marries voice, e-mail, instant messaging, presence, and video conferencing into a suite of software communication tools anchored by Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.

With these two giants fighting it out, the customer wins. Not only will this create pricing pressure, but it will also create completely different architectural approaches to UC, rather than a commodity, one-size-fits all market.

Go to the Microsoft Subnet home page for more news, blogs, podcasts.

More Microsoft Subnet blog posts:

Windows Safari users at high risk for attackA Microsoft "Live" search bar on HP PCsMore appeals filed over OOXML, Brazil joins South Africa, IndiaWindows 7 preview Six free security tools you shouldn't live without
Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Now read: Getting grounded in IoT