One of the questions I get asked at events, almost without fail, is 'Are Microsoft creating a PBX replacement?', hopefully this post and the relating web site should give you the answer if you have not already heard it from me directly.
If your PBX could speak, what would it be thinking right now? With all of the interest and focus around Voice over IP, I would imagine its quivering its air conditioned noisy corner wondering whether its going to get ripped out and replaced by a new smaller, shinier PBX with more flashing lights and lots of network cables dangling out the back. With OCS 2007 on the horizon, surely it is thinking its days could be numbered?
Quite the contrary actually, OCS will bring 'VOIP as you are' ... no need for rip and replace .... just add software to what you have already :-) With the launch of OCS 2007 in sight, we have started an ad campaign in the US which will slowly move across the world. Put simply, we will offer 'VOIP as you are'.
When you have a spare minute, go here and have a listen to the two PBXs discussing VOIP, their future, their kids, their lives and see a side of your PBX you have never seen before!
It's like, "VoIP is all about software, stupid!"
I think we're getting better at making this clear: at the end of the day, Microsoft is a software company and by getting into VoIP territory, we're making it a software business rather than a proprietary, "hardware" thing. I say "hardware" though in recent years, a lot of telecoms kit has largely been commodity-like hardware in a grey box but with proprietary software. What the industry seems to be doing now (and MS is active in that movement) is in making the software bit more standardised and helping make the hardware less grey box and more standard x86 server vendor kit.