Alec Saunders on the Microsoft Threat

by Bruce Stewart

I always enjoy it when Alec Saunders writes one of his longer, deep and meaty posts, and he's done it again with Aikido, Retreat or War. What’s your Microsoft strategy?. While many may tend to not take Microsoft seriously as a threat in the communications space, Alec has a unique and informed perspective on this issue as he previously worked for Microsoft, where he ran the Windows CE planning group in the late 1990’s, when the first Microsoft smart phones were being designed. If you're in the telecom business and not thinking about Microsoft, I strongly suggest reading Alec's latest piece.

I confess to being one of those who hasn't spent much time thinking about Microsoft in this space, but the recent rash of communications-related news coming out of Redmond and Alec's sobering essay are changing that.

Three years ago, upon first seeing Live Communications Server and the RTC platform, I called back to friends in Ottawa and told them that I thought Mitel and Nortel’s PBX business would be in trouble. They scoffed. Microsoft would never get voice right, they said. My friends failed to internalize the fact, articulated in the Voice 2.0 Manifesto, that voice is just a big application. Intellectually they understood this fact, but software isn’t in their genes – not the way it is at Microsoft.