Putting the PBX in the Crosshairs
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates put the private branch exchange (PBX) in Microsoft's
crosshairs during his unified communications keynote on Tuesday.
"This is a complete transformation of the business of the traditional
PBX. The PBX in some ways is almost like the mainframe was many years ago where
all of the functionality was there in that one piece. And the way that you had
flexibility to add value, to customize, to bring in third parties to do new
things, it just isn't there in that structure. And so by moving phone calls
onto the Internet, using the powerful industry standard servers, we've got a
very different way of being able to do things," Gates said.
But Gates acknowledged that corporations the world over won't go rip their
PBXs out of their closets tomorrow. (Maybe the reference to the mainframe was
a subtle acknowledgement that the old is never left completely behind? After
all, how many times was the mainframe declared dead?)
"This is happening in a way where it's an evolution, you can actually
take the software that we're talking about, and put that alongside the traditional
PBX, and by having software that takes the events in and out of that PBX, a
lot of these scenarios you can get without changing that out," Gates said.
"Now, over time the lowest cost structure will be to not have the PBX,
to simply rely on the software and the Internet connection as the way that communications
In the meantime, Microsoft has partnerships lined up with three global telephony
providers, including Nortel Networks, Ericsson and Mitel Networks Corp., showing
that it's not a battle of the old hardware guard versus the new software kids.
Everybody is stumbling toward this new opportunity together.
Posted by Scott Bekker on October 17, 2007 at 11:57 AM