Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Microsoft vs. Cisco

Microsoft will release his most anticipated Office Communications Server 2007 next month. For those who don't know this is an attempt from Microsoft to enter the Unified Communications market with a Personal Communicator (that is an application that you install in the computer, and enable several communication avenues between the company; for example, you get email, IM, phone, presence status, etc). This product's been anticipated because of the idea of having Microsoft, an end client and OS player, entering the communications arena. Will it succeed? - I doubt it.

Cisco released its Unified Personal Communicator, and believe it, they have a much better chance at succeeding here, and this is why.

Cisco's presence in the Unified Communications goes back several years. In fact, Cisco dominates the IP Telephony market. Visualize this battle in the following way: in the typical office cube, you have a desktop or laptop computer with Windows on it and Office installed. Used for everyday operations. You also have a phone (an IP Phone) used every day as well.
Unified communication will establish the link between these two main components: the user will use its computer to write Word Documents, to compute Excel Spreadsheets, and send them via email, contact someone via IM, and make a phone call to a customer or provider.
At one end, you have Microsoft owning the desktop, trying to grab the phone. At the other end you have Cisco owning the phone, trying to get to the desktop. Thanks to Web 2.0, the open-nature of software development, the odds are on Cisco's side. You are more likely to see a third-party application (Personal communicator in this case) installed in every desktop, than a proprietary Cisco protocol trying to gain access to a phone.
The truth is that the industry is the only one that will tell. And both companies have been sucessfull at their business. We'll see who wins that fight.


Greg K. said...

I think you are underestimating MS's power in the Office market. They have been rather inventive in the past and quite successful at pushing their products. Just wait until Cisco's IP phones are not longer compatible with MS's Office communications server.

Leo Boulton said...

I apologize if I communicate a complete and obvious failure on Microsofts side.
Both sides of the coin come very strong. Sort of the classic Software vs. Hardware war, this is a Telephony vs Desktop war.
Indeed MSFT has presence in the office space, and it's no secret that it's strong.
My article present my believes of what will happen, and how interesting I think this will be. Because contrary to Hardware vs. Software, this is going to be a full-frontal crash with a very clear winner.