Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 RTMed in July, but today was the gala launch event in San Francisco complete with an appearance by Bill Gates who also unburdened himself of an executive email to underscore the importance of the unified communications business to Microsoft. Here’s the full product menu from the press release:
Today, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., and Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft’s unified communications software, taking the first step toward streamlining workplace communications and helping reduce the cost of the average corporate voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) system by half.
All of this is as had been well known for months, but has now been rounded out with reference customer case studies and news from supporting partners. Microsoft also unveiled Unified Communications Open Interoperability, a telephony system qualification program which certifies vendor equipment as working with Microsoft’s offering.
Microsoft isn’t new to this space (the previous product was Office Live Communications Server 2005) and enterprise office communications may well be a play where Microsoft can leverage its PC operating system and office software dominance, but there are a lot of players from the traditional PBX vendors to Cisco and IBM that are contending for the pie. In that vein, it is worth reading Eric Lai and Matt Hamblen’s Six objections to Microsoft Office Communications Server.