Gartner’s 2010 Magic Quadrant report for Unified Communications has just been published and Microsoft placed in the Leader quadrant, furthest up and to the right!  Microsoft has full reprint rights to the report, so please share the link to the online reprint with your customers today.

Microsoft is credited for having a strong history with collaboration and OCS is noted as having the ability to integrate with collaboration solutions like SharePoint. Microsoft’s position is strengthened through strategic partnerships with Aspect and HP as well as numerous partnerships for IP phones, audio conferencing, SIP trunking and other critical telephony needs. Other noted Microsoft strengths include the upcoming launch of Communications Server “14” which will add several critical telephony functions, Exchange UM’s gain in acceptance and maturity in the market, and Microsoft’s broad UCC paradigm. Noted Microsoft cautions include Exchange UM limitations for users only wanting voicemail and the newness of OCS telephony, audio conferencing and videoconferencing.

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Notable changes from 2009 Magic Quadrant report for UC:

· Reduction in number of UC leading vendors - there are only three compared to last year’s report that named six!

· Strengths in Exchange UM include calendaring integration through Exchange 2010, as well as UM and text-to-speech rendering.

· Communications Server “14” is called out as a potential “stand-alone telephony service” with the ability to integrate with existing PBX’s.

· Caution is given for Exchange UM, noting it requires upgrades and an email license for all users regardless if they only want voicemail.

· The analysts cautioned customers about Microsoft’s upcoming Voice CAL and potential costs.

Key competitor placements compared to the 2009 Report:

· IBM fell from Leader to Challenger, having lost significant ground on the Completeness of Vision axis (Likely due to their ambiguous cloud strategy and lack of UC market traction)

· Cisco gained ground, landing just behind Microsoft

· Avaya primarily improved its foothold in Completeness of Vision, and slightly improved the Ability to Execute axis.