After years of quietly building a voice over VoIP strategy on a number of fronts, Microsoft has begun stepping up its efforts in preparation for major initiatives in both the enterprise and carrier spaces.
According to newly published research from IDC, the centerpiece of this increased focus on VoIP activity is Session Initiation Protocol-based collaborative applications being developed for Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005.
The analyst firm pointed out that Microsoft has traditionally kept a low profile concerning its development and marketing strategy for VoIP, but predicts that "all that is about to change".
Microsoft has developed partnerships with major IP-PBX vendors, including Siemens and Alcatel, to help jump-start the move into enterprise IP telephony, representing an important step towards strengthening its position in the VoIP space, according to the analyst.
On the flipside, however, IDC's study noted that many IP-PBX vendors worry about Microsoft as a competitor, especially in high-end collaborative applications.
Real-time collaborative applications, such as instant messaging and web conferencing, increasingly have VoIP features, and this association will dramatically enhance the technology's stature.
"VoIP has become a lightning rod for a new competitive dynamic between IT and telecoms vendors," said Tom Valovic, programme director for VoIP infrastructure at IDC.
"A battle for the enterprise desktop is looming between these vendors, and at the centre are innovative types of user-defined communications and the marriage of telecoms-based convergence and IT-based desktop collaboration."
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