Microsoft OCS update promises to replace PBX

Communications Server “14” could help companies move of aging legacy systems

By Denise Dubie, Network World, March 24, 2010 04:08 PM ET

Microsoft unveiled its updated unified communications software that the company says will help customers move off PBX systems, but industry watchers wonder if the previewed Communications Server “14” will integrate with more than just Microsoft-approved software and hardware.

Vendors ally with Microsoft at VoiceCon

“Obviously this release has been much-anticipated. The industry was waiting for the release when OCS became a full PBX replacement,” says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group. “Microsoft has a good vision of where they want to take this industry, and it is similar to other vendors like Cisco, except Microsoft will argue they don’t make the hardware. Yet the company does dictate with which hardware the unified communications software will work, and it’s only a handful like Polycom.”

Microsoft Wednesday introduced its updated Office Communications Server – code-named Communications Server “14” — at VoiceCon Orlando 2010, and company executives demonstrated during a keynote presentation there how the next version of Microsoft Office Communication Server integrates with applications such as SharePoint, Exchange and Office. Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group said during the keynote address that the company’s updated unified communications software, Communications Server “14,” will provide IT organizations with the next-generation platform on which to collaborate with voice and video applications as well as a simple, cost-effective alternative to aging PBX systems.

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