Andy has an entry titled Microsoft to Enter the VoIP World today and it seems to sync up with what I am seeing and hearing from the company as well. It remains to be see how seriously Microsoft pushes into VoIP in 2007 though. What I can tell you is many large enterprises are looking at what Microsoft does very closely. Many shared these thoughts with me at the last ITEXPO.
In particular many enterprises are focusing on Microsoft’s vision for the endpoints their employees will be using. Will phones be obsolete soon they wonder? These discussions have been around for years of course – now that Microsoft is more seriously in the game they are being revisited.
One might imagine that Microsoft doesn’t need to push phones but in reality Microsoft will be playing more seriously in the enterprise phone business and let’s not forget Windows Mobile devices that will work with the company’s VoIP initiatives as well.
What most people don’t realize is that Microsoft is reentering the VoIP space. They entered it in around 1996 with NetMeeting and then left it for a number of years. Yes Microsoft is never first but was second in the mid-nineties when they decided to copy the softphone from VocalTec.
A few years later when Microsoft realized they “missed the Internet” they pulled most telecom development and refocused it on killing off Netscape. As long as Microsoft keeps their focus this time they could be a serious threat to many others in the industry. It is a bit early to know who is at biggest risk as the software giant is partnering with so many companies in the PBX space who you would imagine would be afraid of Microsoft taking them out.
Let’s see how this one plays out.