Microsoft uses software edge on Cisco in Unified Communications war

There is an interesting article over at about how the tables have turned between Microsoft and Cisco in Unified Communications.  Two years ago the Yankee Group recommended Cisco, but that now seems to be changing.

Quote from the article:

"It's pretty safe to go with Microsoft now," Kerravala said. "The thought process was that VoIP is the foundation for unified communications, which meant Cisco was pretty safe. I think the conversation has changed."

Gurdeep Sing Pall commented on this recently at the OCS Team Blog:

In early 2007, Cisco was touting their three year lead on Microsoft in UC.  Now, Cisco seems to have decided they were running in the wrong direction - and perhaps even in the wrong race. In the last month, Cisco has added two new software pieces to their UC puzzle and are now playing catch up to companies like Microsoft and Nortel who have long seen that the path to UC was in powerful, well-integrated software, not wires. 

Cisco’s offering is the definition of “un-unified” communications. With more than 40 products, their solution is a patchwork of technologies and networking. The risk for customers is that a patchwork system is slower to roll out, harder to train users, and more expensive to manage and maintain over the long term.

By contrast, software-based unified communications is just that: “unified.”  It provides customers with the power of one – one infrastructure and one user experience that simplifies and speeds deployment and adoption, and it interoperates more easily with existing systems. Businesses save costs with software-powered UC – an all-important consideration in today’s financial climate. Our customers tell us that our system slashes their overall telephony costs by 30 to 60 percent, with their long distance charges reduced by up to 76 percent, and almost one-third sliced off their mobile telephony overhead.  Those are some pretty compelling economics. 

We shipped Microsoft’s UC platform in Office Communications Server and Exchange Server 12 months ago, and today, more than half of Fortune 500 companies are using the technology.

My question is……  what do you think is more likely to happen – Microsoft becomes good at telephony, or Cisco becomes good at software and collaboration?

Watch this space.

Comments (3)

  1. jkruse says:

    This is what I hear from my customers too – the real challenge for an IT organisation deploying Cisco UC is the requirement for multiple systems, multiple client applications and multiple admin tools.

  2. Jack Frost says:

    Cisco is challenged to deliver a consistent strategy, for IM, you have CUPC, Jabber and Saometime plus something from Webex. The user is tasked with many plug ins, disperate technologies and bolt ons that do nnot work well together. Cisco is all about VOIP and Infrastructure, somethng whose days are numbered.

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