Microsoft partners with Softbank for Business VoIP

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Randy Savicky
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Microsoft partners with Softbank for Business VoIP

I'm still trying to digest what this press release from Microsoft, Softbank, and Japan Telecom means - I'm a bit busy trying to catch up after the long holiday. I think Softbank has termination and I believe Softbank is considered the "Vonage" of Japan. In which case, I believe this release is saying that Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 is not only using MCI for PSTN termination, but Microsoft has now also added Softbank for termination.

Actually, upon some further review it appears that this partnership is enabling Microsoft to have a foot in the door within the "business VoIP" sector. Very interesting. My only question then is why go after the Japanese "business VoIP" sector and not the U.S.? Did Level3's killing of their 3Tone business VoIP product scare Microsoft away from the U.S. business VoIP market? Japan certainly seems to be embracing VoIP at the business level faster than the U.S. On the other hand, Covad is still targetting the U.S. business VoIP market, as is Smoothstone, and several others.
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Today, Microsoft Communications Sector announced a strategic alliance with SOFTBANK BB and JAPAN TELECOM.Below are highlights of the announcement, with the full text of the press release to follow:

• The companies are developing an integrated communications service that combines voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), e-mail, Internet access, groupware, presence, instant messaging and desktop services with network infrastructure.

• The alliance will combine the Microsoft Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services with SOFTBANK BB's IP phone platform and JAPAN TELECOM's network infrastructure to generate a full range of communications tools.

• The announcement will enable small and mid-size businesses to take advantage of enterprise-class communications services for increased productivity through real-time communications.

Microsoft, SOFTBANK BB and JAPAN TELECOM Announce Strategic Relationship to Provide Integrated Voice, E-Mail, Groupware, Instant Messaging and Desktop Services

SOFTBANK BB and JAPAN TELECOM to incorporate Microsoft Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services

Microsoft Co. Ltd., SOFTBANK BB Corp., and JAPAN TELECOM CO. LTD., announced that they are developing a security-enhanced, integrated communications service that combines voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), e-mail, Internet access, groupware, presence, instant messaging and desktop services with network infrastructure, and that they have formed a strategic business alliance to provide this service as a business-oriented solution.
The combination of Microsoft Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services with the IP phone expertise of SOFTBANK BB, Japan's largest carrier of IP phone services, delivers a platform with enhanced security that provides rich messaging, presence and collaboration functions with high-quality voice services. Further, JAPAN TELECOM plans to couple this integrated communication service with its high-quality networking infrastructure and managed network operation to provide its own information communication technologies (ICT) platform service to the corporate market.

Linking the Microsoft Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services with BB Phone's voice platform and JAPAN TELECOM's managed network service will enable small and midsize businesses to take advantage of enterprise-class communications services, including VoIP services, to achieve increased productivity through internal and external real-time communications. The Microsoft Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services comprises hosted versions of Microsoft server products including Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 and Windows SharePoint Services with Sylantro Systems Corp.'s Application Feature Server.

The companies plan to begin trials of the integrated communications services in spring of 2006.
About SOFTBANK BB Corp.
Established in May 2000, SOFTBANK BB engages in the provision of broadband infrastructure as well as in technical development, marketing, sales and support. The company offers IT-related distribution and services, and supervises and administers affiliated broadband and e-commerce companies.

About JAPAN TELECOM
JAPAN TELECOM is one of the largest Information & Communications Technology solution service providers in Japan with a more than 13,000km nationwide fiber optic digital network. The company is also growing its substantial international business with its world-wide presence. JAPAN TELECOM provides a wide range of voice and data communications services tailored to suit all needs of corporate, small and medium-sized enterprises, along with consumers. The company is a 100% subsidiary of SOFTBANK BB CORP.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.



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