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Microsoft's Unified Communications Blowout

Tuesday was the huge Microsoft Unified Communications blowout in San Francisco. If you're looking for a solid overview of the products and technologies involved, surf on over to Keith Ward's comprehensive news story here.

My overriding impression from the festivities? I look at the software stack Microsoft is putting forward for these solutions, and I can see why the channel has been eager for Microsoft to get into unified communications.

Microsoft is vowing that customers will cut their costs for VoIP in half with its solution. Research that Microsoft commissioned from Forrester claims customers will get a 500 percent return on investment over three years. What I see is a huge systems integration job, pulling together Office Communications Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, a service pack for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and connectors to PBXs or advice on removing PBXs, as well as new phones and possibly Microsoft Office Live Meeting or Microsoft RoundTable.

Getting the voice expertise right will be a challenge for partners coming from the software and systems side of the equation. It's a topic that Lee Pender will explore in next month's Redmond Channel Partner magazine print issue. But it looks like it'll be well worth the try.

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 17, 2007