Microsoft and Nortel Announce Unified Communications Alliance

Published: 20 Jul 2006

By Roopam Jain and Krithi Rao

The announcement this week that Microsoft and Nortel Networks have embarked on a broad, four-year alliance to develop and market unified communications products and services, is being seen as a significant development for the fast evolving unified communications market. The two companies will form the Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA), to collaborate at the technology, marketing, and business engagement levels to offer advanced unified communications solutions.

As a part of the agreement, Nortel will send potentially more than 100 of its developers to Redmond to work with Microsoft developers. The agreement also includes broad cross-licensing of intellectual property so that unified communications solutions can benefit from the combined expertise of Microsoft and Nortel. Nortel will deliver solutions that complement the Microsoft Unified Communications Platform, including enterprise contact-center applications, telephony functions, mobility capabilities and data-networking infrastructure. Their first task will be further integration between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Office communications products. Several unified communications products, including Office Communications Server 2007 that Microsoft will be rolling out in the second quarter of 2007, will include integrated Nortel elements. The alliance is aimed at creating a single Microsoft-based server for enterprise IP voice, e-mail, voicemail, collaboration, instant messaging and other communication software, with Nortel LAN, WAN, and wireless infrastructure.

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