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9/20/2005
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Microsoft Partners With Qwest On VoIP

The resulting service package will combine Internet phoning and hosted versions of server products including Microsoft Exchange server 2003, among others--all geared to small and medium-sized businesses.

Microsoft continued its push into VoIP announcing a partnership with Qwest Communications that seeks to bring the Internet phoning service to small and medium-sized business customers.

Announced at Tuesday’s session at the Fall VON VoIP meeting, Microsoft said it will mate its Solution for Enhanced VoIP services with Qwest’s OneFlex Voice over Internet Protocol services. The solution also entails Qwest offering customers a combination of managed services including in addition to VoIP, e-mail, Internet access, collaboration, presence, instant messaging and desktop services.

Three weeks ago, Microsoft signaled that it planned to move deeper into VoIP when it acquired VoIP provider Teleo Inc. and the offering with former Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) Qwest extends the software giant’s drive into VoIP. The two firms expect their service will be available next year.

Microsoft’s offering will combine hosted versions of its server products including Microsoft Exchange server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 and Windows SharePoint Services with Sylantro Systems’ Applications Feature Server.

The two firms are stressing the importance of product depth in their joint offering. “Although pricing has certainly been a key factor in the early development of the VoIP industry, we believe that it’s the richness of the customer experience that will ultimately drive mainstream adoption of VoIP,” said Michael O’Hara, Microsoft’s general manager of marketing, Communications Sector, in a statement.

The firms said Qwest is the first telecommunications service provider to integrate Microsoft’s Solution for Enhanced VoIP services.

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