& cplSiteName &

What MS-Polycom Match Means for SPs

Carol Wilson
8/9/2010
50%
50%

The new strategic agreement between Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Polycom Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM) announced this morning could represent a new opportunity for telecom service providers to jump-start sales of unified communications (UC) services to businesses of all sizes -- or it could represent new competition for service providers in the UC arena. (See Microsoft, Polycom Team Up.)

Microsoft and Polycom have worked together in the past, but this new agreement intends to expand that relationship to include end-to-end hardware and software solutions that are jointly sold by the two companies, and are based largely on Microsoft's well established business software platforms. Their goal is to make it easier for businesses, including enterprises, SMBs, and government units, to adopt integrated voice-data-video communications and collaboration services, by making the services themselves easier and by demonstrating clear productivity and cost benefits for UC.

Among the sales channels the two companies plan to use are telecom service providers that have already been selling products from Microsoft and Polycom as part of their managed and hosted UC and conferencing solutions. But Microsoft and Polycom will also be more aggressive in their sales efforts and intend to make the UC message they take forward much stronger.

"Essentially we are looking at a joint commitment to move this market forward, and we know it will take additional resources on both sides of the equation," says Mark Roberts, vice president of partner marketing at Polycom.

"We are aligned [with telecom service providers] in the sense that the partnership of Microsoft and Polycom conceived products for an end-to-end solution integrating software and end-user devices," says Ashima Singhal, group product manager of UC partner marketing at Microsoft. "The service providers form the third leg of the stool, providing the delivery of the solution, managing the solution."

Microsoft also will offer UC as a hosted service, which service providers could resell, much as some today resell Microsoft's hosted Exchange service, Singhal says. And Microsoft will soon provide a multi-tenant, cloud-based UC solution that includes communications capabilities -- which it will sell directly to businesses or through service providers as resellers.

The clear intent is to get more aggressive in pushing Microsoft's approach to UC, with Polycom providing its audio and video conferencing expertise as part of the process. Both companies compete head-to-head with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in this arena, together and separately.

The Microsoft-Polycom UC products are built on Microsoft's Exchange and Communications Servers, namely the latest version of the latter, CS-14, which includes "fully capable enterprise voice capabilities that can replace legacy voice equipment," Singhal says.

"We have done a lot of work on the front-end with CS-14, creating one integrated soft client that provides all capabilities -- audio, video, data sharing, and whiteboard -- so end users can use any of them within the same client and conversation. All of these capabilities are integrated with the desktop, particularly Microsoft Office applications -- Outlook, Word, Excel, Sharepoint -- but through robust APIs [applications programming interfaces] they can be part of any business process."

Ease of use and integration into existing business processes have both been major stumbling blocks for widespread use of UC capabilities, Singhal admits. A year ago, when Microsoft integrated data-sharing into its Communicator instant messaging product, adoption took off, says Singhal.

"Having [UC options] as part of the same workflow will boost adoption."

Through the strategic alliance with Polycom, Microsoft can enable a broad range of endpoints to be part of this workflow, from IP phones to room-based audio and video conferencing systems to telepresence systems.

Polycom's Roberts says the companies believe that the drive to make workers more productive will fuel renewed efforts to unite the different devices on each worker's desk and enable dispersed work forces to more easily communicate by voice, data, or video, as well as to use presence and other capabilities to know who is available when.

He admits today's announcement is light on product details but says a product roadmap will be coming in three to six months.

"We've literally just signed these contracts," Roberts says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Tom Cross
50%
50%
Tom Cross,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:27:38 PM
re: What MS-Polycom Match Means for SPs


my comment is to the writer and would prefer to contact via email.

digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:27:37 PM
re: What MS-Polycom Match Means for SPs


More aggressive with messaging and marketing... does this mean MSFT and Polycom will start picking on Cisco? Hope so...

digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:27:37 PM
re: What MS-Polycom Match Means for SPs


Ah Tom, come on - don't tease us! Share!! :-)

From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Verizon Backpedals on Go90
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/24/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.