Microsoft Co. Ltd., SOFTBANK BB Corp., and JAPAN TELECOM CO. LTD., announced that they are developing a security-enhanced, integrated communications service that combines voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), e-mail, Internet access, groupware, presence, instant messaging and desktop services with network infrastructure, and that they have formed a strategic business alliance to provide this service as a business-oriented solution.
The combination of Microsoft® Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services with the IP phone expertise of SOFTBANK BB, Japan’s largest carrier of IP phone services, delivers a platform with enhanced security that provides rich messaging, presence and collaboration functions with high-quality voice services. Further, JAPAN TELECOM plans to couple this integrated communication service with its high-quality networking infrastructure and managed network operation to provide its own information communication technologies (ICT) platform service to the corporate market.
The target is small and medium businesses. The Microsoft® Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services is one of Microsoft’s service provider offerings combining the Microsoft® Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration with partner Sylantro Systems Corp.’s Application Feature Server. A similar deal was done in September in the USA with Qwest.
Microsoft and Softbank will jointly offer Internet-based telephone services to corporate customers in Japan.
Microsoft’s Japan unit, Tokyo-based Softbank, and its Japan Telecom affiliate will sell a package that includes Internet phone, e-mail and Internet access starting in the spring, the companies said.
There aren’t any more details, but since this is for business customers, it’s presumably based on the Windows Office Live Communications Server with Office Communicator client and likely incorporates some of the technology acquired with the purchase of media-streams.com AG.
Update 12/28: See the first trackback to this post for details, but it turns out that Microsoft is merely offering “backroom” software for the actual service providers, Softbank and Japan Telecom.