What Microsoft's Been Missing from its Small Business Telephony Play

Microsoft announced today that it was teaming up with Cbeyond, Inc., and New Global Telecom, Inc.

Microsoft announced today that it was teaming up with Cbeyond, Inc., and New Global Telecom, Inc. (NGT), to combine their digital voice services with Response Point, Microsoft’s specification for small offices PBXs.

ResponsePoint systems are distinguished by a blue button on the handset. Pressing the button allows the user to control the phone through voice. Phone numbers can be found and dialled without touching the keypad. Phones are made by Quanta (Syspine), D-Link, and soon Astra.

If all of that sounds awfully Apple-like, well, it’s no wonder. ResponsePoint is the brainchild of senior director Richard Sprague, a former Apple engineer.

In the release, ResponsePoint customer will be gain SIP trunking from Cbeyond and NGT. This will offload the gateway cost from the business. It also lets them gain richer services from their carrier than if they were using the PSTN. Superior voice quality through wideband CODECs, for example, becomes possible as does shared presence information across the provider’s infrastructure. Access to the vendor’s network will be available through Microsoft Response Point Service Pack 1 when it is released this summer. ResponsePoint pricing runs $2,500 for groups of 4 to 5 phones and $5,500 for 20 phones. each phone is another $150. Businesses are also eligible for Microsoft financing at $12 per person, per month.