The boogie man is not only coming, i’d say he’s arrived.
One of the things that i’ve been watching over the last 18 months is the slow creep of Microsoft into the traditional telco space. Its been an interesting exercise in patient slow build up.
Small things have shown up in various places, LCS for one, the advent of P2P calling in MSN messenger. But just lately the covert has become, well overt.
Here are two bits of the puzzle coming together (IMHO). Firstly, the Innovative Communications Alliance. Not exactly new, but a great play by MS (and Nortel for that matter). Why, well MS controls the global desktop. Now i know a bunch of people will argue the whys and what fors about that and even that the open source movement is getting in there, but its an indisputable fact, they do own it. This is important because the true vision of IP Tel is unified communications. One communications platform that i can subscribe to however i like but MAINLY through the place that i work, that being my desktop (and how owns the desktop??) The Nortel bit is a side play for MS, they needed the PBX bridge to make this convergence real. Nortel was the clear choice for them due to them being late, having their market share eaten alive and basically needing MS as much as MS needed them. Incidentally the roadmap of stuff in the ICA is much more healthy than anything i’ve seen from Cisco. That is logical when you think about it though, ICA has bundled the desktop with IP Tel. Whereas Cisco is just doing IP Tel.
But wait, today i’ve been sent this link about the MS response point. Which is in fact a small business PBX. I’m stating the obvious when i say i think it’s a rebadged PBX but it’s an interesting play. Imagine if in the same box that you got you PBX it was pre-configured to work with outlook, OCS and MS CRM. Wow cool we package.
Another play, another market segment.
The third bit of this jigsaw was this article i saw in ZDnet. More MS compliant SIP devices. Yip, desktop, devices and PBX. Nice. That kinda relegates telco’s to providing dumb pipes, something that they just hate. But given the extent of this play, the desktop incumbency that MS has and the shear marketing clout they can bring, i’d say the boogie man has arrived…