[Freeswitch-dev] Is there an Opp for FS here in the future?

EdPimentl edpimentl at gmail.com
Thu Mar 5 07:24:21 PST 2009


by I lazaar ..Feb 27, 2009

Back in October of 2007 I authored a column for *Business Communications
Review* that looked at Microsoft's entry into the VOIP market and asked
whether Microsoft had entered the market after most enterprise organizations
had already moved forward with alternate vendors for their VOIP plans,
meaning Microsoft was too late to gain significant VOIP market share.

At the time of writing, Nemertes Research indicated that 99% of
organizations we had interviewed that year had already selected a VOIP
vendor and were moving forward with at least a limited pilot, meaning that
for Microsoft to succeed in the VOIP arena, it would have to convince
potential customers to call a halt to existing plans and switch to
Microsoft's Office Communications Server as a VOIP platform. Microsoft made
this pitch by promising that it could cut the cost of VOIP in half when
compared to its competitors.

The customers for the most part didn't listen. The overwhelming majority of
participants in our 2008 research interviews said that the only impact of
Microsoft's entry into the VOIP space was to pay more attention to the
ability to integrate their existing or planned voice systems with the
Microsoft Office Communications server and client, enabling features such as
"click-to-call" and presence awareness for desktop and Windows Mobile users.

Now, about a year and a half later, Microsoft is stepping up its game with
the release of OCS Release 2, adding a number of VOIP related features
including single-number reachability and dial-in audio conferencing. Perhaps
most importantly, OCS R2 adds support for SIP trunking; already Microsoft
has announced a number of partnerships with service providers to bring SIP
trunks to OCS installations. So with R2 is Microsoft back in the VOIP game?

Not yet. Microsoft still faces some of the same issues we heard about in
2007. There's still no good option for remote site survivability nor is
there an E-911 capability just yet. Integrating Microsoft into existing
voice systems will typically require a mediation server (or multiple
servers). Choices for stand-alone desktop phones are limited and most IT
architects still don't trust software-based phones running on Windows as
their primary means of communication.

But maybe we're asking the wrong question? Sure, Microsoft is happy to offer
OCS as a phone system replacement to those whose requirements fit
Microsoft's capabilities. But perhaps more importantly, OCS is the trojan
horse. Today, it offers desktop and mobile device control over
communications services, Microsoft's and partners, along with a robust set
of collaboration features such as instant messaging, persistent chat, audio,
video, and web conferencing, and so on. It integrates presence into the full
suite of Microsoft office products including Exchange/Outlook and Office.
Web-based clients enable non-Windows users to become part of the Microsoft
eco-system. And maybe, just maybe, as OCS's phone feature list grows, and as
OCS deployments grow, perhaps with R3 Microsoft will begin to convince a
growing number of its customers that they really don't need that old IP-PBX
anymore when employees are already using OCS to make the majority of their

As we conduct our 2009 round of interviews we're continuing to gather data
on the role of Microsoft in VOIP/UC planning. Stay tuned...
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