InformationWeek published an article with a Comparison between IBM and Microsoft on the Unified Communications front.
… Presentations at the VoiceCon show this week show how similar the two companies are in their services, yet vastly different in their core strategies.
IBM’s plans to ship next year telephony integration technology as a foundation for its Sametime unified communications client highlights the company’s approach to the emerging UC market, along with its key differences with rival Microsoft. …
… The partnership also demonstrates a difference in approach to the UC market between IBM and Microsoft, which has yet to partner with infrastructure companies like Siemens in delivering its UC platform in the fall. IBM’s announcements came one day after Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate VP of Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group, told VoiceCon attendees that Microsoft would ship Office Communications Server 2007, Office Communicator 2007, and Office Live Meeting Oct. 16.
IBM has chosen to approach the market with technology that can leverage companies’ existing telephone systems, while Microsoft has made it clear that it hopes to one day replace those systems with software-based communications running on servers. “When you don’t have a software-centric point of view, then you’re heading in the wrong direction,” Pall said at VoiceCon….
To my opinion this comparison is not accurate. Microsoft has the same capability IBM claims … and for some time now.
Microsoft’s approach is software all the way; this is the vision.
Today Microsoft already has many partnerships in place with the major IP Telephony vendors. These partnerships allow for integration with new and existing PBXs
The VOIP As You Are campaign is a good example of that.
You don’t need a forklift to install Microsoft unified communications technologies because Microsoft uses software instead of hardware. Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007–the server that delivers presence, instant messaging, and audio- and videoconferencing–integrates seamlessly with your existing telecommunications infrastructure, including your current PBX.
(VOIP As You Are explained on the Microsoft UC site)
The InformationWeek article continues with a conclusion by IBM’s Mike Rhodin:
… IBM also looks at Microsoft’s UC platform as catch-up technology, arguing that the software maker is just starting to deliver capabilities that can match those of IBM, which has been in the UC market years longer than Microsoft. “We think we’re in the lead here … and we plan on staying ahead,” Rhodin said. …
Nice try … Microsoft playing catch up with IBM ? Sure IBM has been in IM for a number of years prior to Microsoft. Microsoft’s true journey began with LCS 2003 and in my opinion Microsoft did not catch up but passed IBM at warp speed.
A good example is a blog post Carl Tyler did 2 years ago. This clearly shows how innovative IBM was with regards to SameTime. Very much a sleep, it was Microsoft that woke them. Did IBM catch up ? Yes in my opinion they are doing a good job, but they are not leading
I recommend reading the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant on Unified Communications.