Microsoft Partners Announce New Phones, Devices

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-05-14 Print this article Print

Microsoft will use its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference to announce 15 new phones and devices that work with its unified communications software from nine of its partners.

As Microsoft continues to ratchet up its focus on unified communications, it will use the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Los Angeles the week of May 14 to announce 15 new phones and devices from nine of its partners. This is part of the Redmond, Wash., companys drive to provide customers with devices that connect their workplace phones to e-mail, instant messaging, real-time presence information, conferencing, VOIP (voice over IP) and mobile communications.
The new phones and devices include IP phones, USB phones, wired and wireless headsets, Bluetooth devices, conferencing phones, portable speakerphones, LCD monitors and laptops, Chris Cullen, director of product management for Microsofts unified communications group, told eWEEK in an interview.
Microsoft has provided the device manufacturers, which include LG-Nortel, NEC, Plantronics, Polycom and Samsung, with design specifications to ensure that they work easily with Microsofts unified communication software: Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007, Cullen said. Click here to read more about the betas for Microsofts unified communications server and client. All of the products are nearing the end of Microsofts qualification cycle and will be available for use in the public beta program of Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 starting May 14, he said. "Todays enterprise voice workplace is about vertically integrated solution sets, and our approach to this is to focus on the software, through open standards and published APIs, and using that to enable multiple partners to offer a wide range of phones and devices, resulting in more choice for the end-user at a range of price points," Cullen said. In addition to the broad range of user choices that will deliver more value for less cost, devices will be tailored to the needs of specific types of workers, he said, noting that a January 2007 Gartner report found that handsets typically cost around 40 to 45 percent of a total telephony installation. Microsoft unveiled its unified communications vision and road map in 2006. Click here to read more. Microsoft is also predicting that, over the next three years, 100 million people will be making calls from within the Office suite of products, which would be some 20 percent of the total current Office user base and larger than the IP phone market that exists today, he said. "We also expect that VOIP deployments will rise by 50 percent in the enterprise over the next three years, while the average VoIP solution for business will cost half what it does today, as VoIP systems move from hardware to software over the nex three years," Cullen said. While there were always market leaders who adopted new technologies early, Microsoft did not see any particular market segment adopting these technologies any quicker than the others, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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