We start by noting Microsoft Business Division president Jeff Raikes' remarks last Thursday that Office Communications Server 2007 and the Office Communicator client are now code complete.
The promise of this combination is that VOIP, IM, conferencing and presence will all be under one solution.
Office Communications Server 2007, in public beta since March, promises to bring VoIP telephony, instant messaging, conferencing and presence under a single PC-focused roof.
"It's important to have a single view of the internal teams and people that you work with, and have presence be a part of collaboration, whether it's through text, speech, video conferencing," Jay Lendl, vice president of Microsoft services at Granite Pointe Partners, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider, tells CMP Media's Kevin McLaughlin.
Kevin adds that during a Q&A session with analysts last Thursday, Raikes was asked about the challenge posed by Cisco in the VoIP market. Raikes replied that Microsoft's software based solution offers superior cost savings and broader functionality.
"Customers are truly seeing the magic of software in this instance. They see they will get more capabilities at less cost than the traditional approaches of any of the existing players," Raikes said.
An even more pointed perspective is offered by Amir Sohrabi, executive vice president of VoIP specialist MSPX. The firm partners with Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya.
Kevin writes that Sohrabi believes that with the capabilities of OCS 2007, Microsoft is best positioned to make inroads into the VoIP market.
"OCS 2007 uses SIP (session initiation protocol), which allows it to work with different vendors for VoIP interoperability. Cisco, in contrast, has a closed, proprietary system, which drives up the cost of the solution," said Sohrabi.