Will Microsoft Make it in the SMB Telephony Market?

Published: 11 May 2007

Microsoft continues to impress the market with its innovative spirit and ability to tap into new opportunities, quickly and unexpectedly and, more often than not, quite successfully as well.

With everybody’s eyes on unified communications and Microsoft’s efforts to eventually establish itself as a one-stop shop for business communications, a surprising and somewhat overlooked announcement offered yet another proof point of the entrepreneurial spirit within the giant Microsoft organization. A small group within Microsoft has come up with a telephony solution intended to compete in a different paradigm from the Office Communications Server (OCS). Where unified communications, in its full flavor, will most likely first penetrate the large-business space due to the cost of both the applications themselves and the integration efforts needed, Microsoft’s recent invention – Response Point – is targeted primarily at businesses with between one and 50 employees.

Microsoft’s Vision for the Response Point System

Announced at the Microsoft Small Business Summit in March 2007, Microsoft Response Point is an IP telephony system specifically designed for small businesses. Currently in Beta testing, the Response Point system is touted as being very easy to install, manage and use. One of its key features is the voice-activated user interface. The solution will become commercially available later this year.

Microsoft has developed partnerships with three hardware vendors in order to be able to offer an end-to-end solution to small businesses. Customers will be able to choose from three phone brands including D-Link DVX-2000, Quanta Syspine and Uniden Evolo, all running Microsoft Response Point software.

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