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News and analysis of developments in the enterprise communication industry and market with primary focus on Europe.

The author aims to tap into ideas, insights and thoughts of the readers to get varied perspectives.

Views expressed in this blog are solely the author's opinion and in no way reflect those of his employer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Software titans march continues

I am referring to IBM and Microsoft. Both announced a roadmap for their UC portfolio. IBM's Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony is expected to be GA by mid 2008. This launch will be preceded by the release of Lotus Sametime "Standard" in Q4, 2007, Lotus Sametime "Entry" 8.0 and Lotus Sametime "Advanced" 8.0 in Q1, 2008.

IBM's unified communication strategy is centred on its sametime offering. It aims to tie-in all elements of communication and collaboration to its sametime offer which is expected to evolve to support unified telephony. IBM signed a OEM agreement with Siemens Enterprise Communication to license elements of Siemens' Openscape.

Siemens has been one of the early adopters of open communication. Support for standards-based communication facilitating interoperability has been the cornerstone of its OpenPath mantra. Maintaining the central elements of its vision, Siemens has consistently believed in open communication since 'LifeWorks' was coined. In fact, their Openscape is probably one of the best fully-baked unified communication portals available in the market today.

Siemens had a very engaging relationship with Microsoft. Way back in 2005, Siemens had launched HiPath openscape telephony control link (TCL), a separate server that sits between LCS and PBX (supports Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel in addition to Siemens) to facilitate exchange of presence and notification across platforms. Their relationship suffered since Microsoft formed an alliance (ICA) with Nortel. ICA recently celebrated its first anniversary. It is believed that they have sold in excess of 500,000 licenses (Nortel telephony licenses and LCS CALs) in their first year. ICA product portfolio is expected to be strengthened by the general availability of OCS/MOC.

Microsoft announced the 'release to manufacturing' of OCS/MOC and Round Table on July 26th. Eric Swift, Senior Director, Unified Communication Group at Microsoft said that OCS/MOC is due to be available from Oct 16th 2007. The price list will be made available on September 1. He said that Live Meeting 7 will be released this fall. Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1 beta is released. At a keynote at VoiceCon, Gurdeep Singh Pall announced Quality of Experience monitoring server, a product developed by Psytechnics. He announced the licensing of Microsoft's RT audio codec about which I have commented in a previous post.

Microsoft's UCG seems confident of OCS/MOC. It has built a strong ecosystem, its alliance with Nortel is delivering results. Recent agreement of cooperation with Cisco is a great step towards creating a traction in the communication technology space. In the past one year, Microsoft has taken concrete steps to shape themselves as a player in the voice market.

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