Microsoft and Nortel - UC alliance

Mark Evans at All About Nortel asks Did Microsoft Go Wrong in their choice to partner with Nortel as a voice/pbx partner? The short answer, in my opinion, is no. Nortel has been a great partner and helped Microsoft get its foot in the door in the voice world. The relationship was invaluable in gaining credibility and entrance to Nortel's large installed base. You'll notice I'm speaking solely in the past tense, here's why...

Sources Commenters at All About Nortel say the partnership is set to expire in about 3 months, however Bo Gowan from Nortel's New Media PR group jumped in to correct that notion via phone this morning. According to Gowan, the partnership will go the full 4 years, extending into 2010. Microsoft's new version of OCS with SIP trunking capabilities is set to launch in about 3 months. Will the increased telephony function complement or further serve to replace the PBX? In other words is this "VoIP as you are" or "VoIP with us". 

Microsoft needed Nortel to gain credibility in the voice space. Of course, entrance to all of Nortel's global accounts didn't hurt either. I'm not sure what Nortel got out of the deal, but it's hard to see much positive about them lately. Microsoft got valuable voice/VoIP experience and accellerated it's time to market. I'm amazed at how quickly they've become a real player in the voice space. I don't know a lot of people who have implemented OCS as a PBX replacement but it's at least part of the conversation now. To be spoken in the same sentence as Nortel, Avaya and Siemns regarding voice in just two years is nothing short of extraordinary. My hat's off the MS OCS product team... and I think they got more than a little help from their relationship with Nortel.

I'm excited to see what this year brings in the UC arena. I think the down economy will drive innovation to make UC solutions even more compelling. I'll be at VoiceCon next week. If you'll be there too drop me a line and we'll hang out.

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