According to Cnet, the next Exchange Server will combine e-mail and voice mail for a "unified messaging" solution. I'm not sure exactly what this means for Microsoft partners that currently offer their own unified messaging solutions based on Exchange Server. Does this leave them out in the cold?
A little history lesson/perspective. First, Microsoft launches a built-in free browser, which results in a storm of controvery and ends Netscape's reign as the dominant browser. Next they add a built-in "free" firewall to the operating system which competes with the likes of the "paid" firewall companies - Zone Alarm, Norton, Mcafee, etc. Then they recently launched their Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Beta (again FREE).
It really makes you wonder if the government will get involved with Microsoft yet again due to its anti-competitive nature. I mean you can't compete with free.
Ok, back to the Microsoft "unified messaging" solution story. I wonder how this solution will integrate with PBXs. There is no mention of the PBX integration and what sort of hardware will be used. Will the Exchange Server support telephony cards? I think it is more likely that it will be SIP-based and it will communicate with a SIP gateway which then integrates with a PBX.
Microsoft will probably partner with a SIP gateway manufacturer, until they decide to make their own SIP gateway and put them out of business, that is.