Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Answer is Microsoft - What was the Question? 

There was some discussions recently who will finally get the business in enterprise communications. The answers ranged from Skype, the PBX-vendors, the ISPs, the telcos, ...?

All of these entities are basically scared:

The telcos are scared by the mobile operators and by VoIP.
You cannot sell something you are scared of, and if, they sell it in a walled garden.

The mobile operators, up to now very over-confident by their success, and behind their walled gardens from the beginning, start to get scared by the device manufacturers selling general purpose devices allowing their customers to break out of the walled garden.

Equipment manufacturers for telcos are scared because their customers do not know what to do and stopped buying until they get an idea. They also scare their customers whith horror security stories requring expensive session border controllers.

Equipment manufacturers for enterprise PBX are scared that their customers may detect that they do not need this expensive equipment anymore, just a piece of SW and an old PC or a Dell pizza box in the worst case, so they start also to to scare their customers by telling them about the risks on the bad and ugly internet, supported also by the telcos telling them about QoS only they can provide.

ISP are scared to get into competition with the big telcos and in addition they have no direct contacts to the enterprises.

So many enterprises are really scared from all sides if the want to go for VoIP. In addition, most VoIP manufacturers just sell VoIP, only some of themwith presence and nobody has really a solution for identity.

Only one company is not scared, they are just minding their business as usual.

I wondered that nobody ever mentioned the obvious choice:

Microsoft, the only company IMHO who really seems to get the idea what future communication is about.

Microsoft is in an ideal position: they already have tons of products within most companies: Windows, Active Directory, Office and Exchange, and equally important they have contact.

So what is easier for them to just add a bit to these existing applications, by fully integrating Real Time Communications (RTC) into this environment.

Not much of a deal for Microsoft and not much of a deal for the enterprises.

The products have been araound for some time, but now Mircosoft means business and launched today three (not compeletely) products:
  • Live communication server 2005 update
  • Communicator 2005 (Istanbul - sucessor of MS Messenger)
  • Live Meeting 2005
Go to and watch the show from SFO. (1 hour webcast)

Bill Gates said: it is all IDENTITY and PRESENCE.

So providing standalone VoIP service IS NOT the business.

Many people will use in future in the same way the use the office e-mail also the office phone system.
I am now using Outlook Web Access. A similar product was announced to get your voice communication from everywhere via https. One cannot block this.

The rest of the pack: Siemens (Openscape) and Alcatel (Nextstep) already have cooperations, others will follow.

And the ISPs, the Mobile Operators and the Telcos: they are reduced in the horizontal layers to be access and transport providers (the water companies) as I always said (not a bad business if done properly).

The application layer will belong basically to Microsoft.

Agreed: Watching Microsoft drain the telcos dry
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