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Microsoft Beefs Up OCS

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.
This morning at VoiceCon Amsterdam Microsoft announced Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2 (which I'm guessing will end up being named OCS 2009 when it finally ships). This release beefs up Microsoft's telephony features and is designed to enable Microsoft to better compete in the VOIP/IPT market. It also delivers a number a new enhancements around mobility and real-time collaboration.Microsoft has not tried to hide the fact that it hopes to take a significant chunk of the IP-PBX market over the next several years by offering a system that is built around UC from the ground up. It faces increasing competition from the likes of Avaya, Cisco and Nortel (not to mention IBM Lotus) even as it builds on partnerships with many of its competitors. It also faces the challenge of trying to win a market in which most organizations are already moving forward with VOIP and have already selected strategic vendors. Participants in our recent Unified Communications and Collaboration benchmark largely discounted the ability of Microsoft to replace the PBX, citing concerns over features, scalability, and resiliency, concerns that Microsoft hopes to address with OCS R2.