With all the fanfare surrounding Microsoft’s reentry into telecom, I thought it worth mentioning Sun is doing the same thing. Microsoft has integrated their applications into communications (or vice versa) and even designed new devices such as phones and even a state of the art videoconferencing device named Roundtable.
Back in March I wrote a bit about Sun’s entry into the call center space around the year 2000. What I didn’t mention is in the nineties the company really pushed their servers as ideal platforms for computer telephony integration. The company was not very successful in this endeavor and part of the reason may have been the vertical focus the company had. As I recall, Sun focused on market segments such as financial, medical, etc. Telecom was not one of these segments and subsequently Sun didn’t have the focus to become successful in this space.
A few years later – around 1998 or so as IP telephony (that’s what we called VoIP/IP communications back then) was becoming more popular, a number of companies started to develop softswitches and other next-gen service provider solutions such as session border controllers. Sun was a natural choice for mission critical telecom applications such as these.
In my March article I mentioned how Sun and Mitel are now working together. This collaboration seems to be yielding some great benefits for Sun and Mitel. For Mitel, the company gains access to mission critical servers, Sun’s green technology-based desktops, Java cards and more. Sun on the other hand has an easy way to sell their systems into communications environments. In addition, once Sun servers start to get into an organization via the telecom avenue, there is a chance the datacom team will buy even more of these SPARC-based severs and other Sun products.
TMCnet’s Mae Kowalke wrote an article titled Mitel: Voice is a Mission-critical Application in a Data World which discusses the collaboration between Mitel and Sun which is worth a read if you want to learn more about how these two organizations are collaborating.
For Sun, this collaboration could lead to more telecom growth in one of a few ways. Other telecom companies could look to what Mitel is doing and decide they too want to become Sun partners. In addition the legion of Wesley Clover companies run by Terry Matthews could decide to get onboard with Sun as well. In my experience these companies do work independently but if Sun can come up with a compelling enough offer, they should be able to bring in some additional telecom business in this fashion.