Monday, July 17, 2006

Nortel and Microsoft Enter Alliance for Unified Communications

Microsoft and Nortel announced a strategic alliance based on a shared vision for unified communications -- converging today's device- and network-centric silos of communication such as e-mail, instant messaging, telephony and multimedia conferencing.

Nortel and Microsoft will transition traditional business phone systems into software, with a Microsoft unified communications software platform and Nortel software products to provide further advanced telephony functionality.

The first product set will be based on the Nortel Converged Office, which was first released in January 2006. The solution integrates the Nortel Communications Server 1000, analog and digital Nortel IP phones (wired and wireless), IP telephony soft clients, Nortel Contact Center and IVR, Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office Communicator, SIP/UC developer kits and Nortel's application-aware data networking equipment.

Key aspects of the "Innovative Communications Alliance" include:

  • the companies will enter into a four-year alliance agreement, with provisions for its extension.

  • Nortel will be Microsoft's strategic partner for advanced unified communications solutions and systems integration.

  • The two companies will form the Innovative Communications Alliance ( as a go-to-market vehicle.

  • Microsoft and Nortel will deploy the other's technologies in their enterprise networks.

  • Nortel becomes a strategic systems integration partner for the advanced unified communications solution.

  • Nortel believes it can capture substantial new revenue through service offerings such as convergence planning, integration, optimization, monitoring and managed services.

  • Nortel and Microsoft will form joint teams to collaborate on product development that spans enterprise, mobile and wireline carrier solutions.

  • The two companies will cross-license intellectual property. There will be a payment from Microsoft to Nortel for key intellectual property. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • Nortel and Microsoft will engage in early-stage integration and testing.

  • Nortel will deliver solutions that complement Microsoft's unified communications platform, including enterprise contact center applications, mission-critical telephony functions, advanced mobility capabilities and data networking infrastructure.

  • Microsoft and Nortel will jointly sell the advanced unified communications solution and integration services. The plan is to develop a training and incentive program for the companies' sales teams.

  • Both companies will invest substantial resources in marketing, business development and delivery.

  • Microsoft and Nortel will build a joint channel ecosystem using both companies' systems integrator, reseller, and service provider relationships.

  • The two companies will develop a series of compelling solutions for a range of customers, including small and medium-sized business, large corporations and service providers.
  • In June 2006, LG-Nortel, a joint venture of LG Electronics and Nortel, will develop and market with Microsoft an IP desktop phone that will work with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to provide presence-awareness, IP call management features and enhanced instant messaging capabilities.

  • Also in June 2006, Microsoft made a series of key partnership announcements in conjunction with its Unified Communications initiative: Siemens -- Siemens Communications and Microsoft will expand their global collaborative efforts focused on the convergence of telephony, audio, video and web conferencing, instant messaging, and e-mail into a single unified communications platform. The new agreement expands on ongoing efforts by the two companies to integrate technologies around Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server. Anchoring the initiative will be new products and Siemens systems integration and support services to integrate Siemens HiPath 8000 softswitch real-time telephony with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server utilizing the OpenScape communications broker capability. The joint solution will provide enterprise customers with the ability to transition from conventional PBX and voice-mail communications systems to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.

    Motorola -- Microsoft and Motorola have entered into a multiyear joint marketing and development alliance to deliver unified communications solutions using Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 across Motorola mobile devices and network hardware. The collaboration is intended to enable enterprise customers to seamlessly connect and share information in real time regardless of location, network or device.