Microsoft: It's all about software

Tightly coupled software stack replaces the PBX in Microsoft's vision of unified communications

Similar to its famous "developers, developers, developers" rant, Microsoft is chanting "software, software, software" as it lays the cornerstones of its unified communications platform.

Microsoft's is an all-software strategy that weaves voice, e-mail, instant messaging, presence, and video conferencing into a suite of communication tools anchored by Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.

Read Cisco's approach to unified communicationsWatch a head-to-head comparison of Cisco vs. Microsoft UC solutions

The most dramatic difference between Microsoft's vision and that of the hardware-based unified communications players comes at the junction of the voice and data networks, where Microsoft believes the PBX will die and be resurrected as software. In other words, OCS 2007 becomes you new PBX.

Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Bill Gates in October was blunt in his PBX prognosis. "Once you get software in the mix the capabilities go way beyond what anybody thinks of today when they think of phone calls. This is a complete transformation of the business of the PBX," said Gates at the launch of the company's unified communications platform.

Gates likened the PBX to the mainframe of years ago, an all-inclusive system that lacked flexibility. Gates said moving voice to software would bring efficiencies to workers and IT, and reduce infrastructure and operating costs.

This approach also allows Microsoft to more easily integrate directory services, desktop applications and system management tools.

Click to communicate

The company believes that its voice-enabled unified communications platform will give more than 100 million corporate workers the ability to "click to communicate" by the end of 2010.

Gates says megatrends, such as hardware improvements, abundant bandwidth and a digitized economy have "laid the foundation for voice integration via software and unified communications."

Microsoft believes that as the phone call is revolutionized, the change will bring along screen sharing, video, collaboration and the ability to put rich unified communications capabilities into business applications.

In the Microsoft nirvana, all that will remain at the network's edge is a gateway to translate signaling and media between the Public Switched Telephone Network and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based OCS 2007.

Certainly such a dramatic switch comes with pros and cons.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Fontana

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?