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MS and Nortel get together over comms

Microsoft and Nortel’s deepening co-operation has gone a step further, as the two companies announced a “road-map” for the development of new VoIP and messaging products and presented two major customers, Royal Dutch-Shell plc and International SOS of Singapore.

Microsoft’s big interest in this field is to get into the market for enterprise level comms applications running over corporate LANs and VPNs, in the hope of integrating voice into its office software as it did with MS Exchange Server email and Internet Explorer.

The tie-up with Nortel seems to be structured around the distinction of networks and applications, with Nortel specialising in the underlying Ethernet and TCP/IP routers and switches and Microsoft in the application-layer clients and servers.

Similarly, Nortel’s partnership with IBM in the IMS field is based on Big Blue doing the application servers and media servers and Nortel the Core Session Control Function (CSCF), Home Subscriber Server, and Media Resource Control Function.

It appears to be Nortel’s strategy to react to the disintermediation of telecoms services from network access by making its equipment indispensable to the application layer competitors.

For example, MS intends to add a variety of VoIP, IM, presence & availability, and email functions to Nortel’s 2100 Communications Server carrier grade voice switch. The two companies also intend to develop an integrated comms appliance to provide a full range of telecoms functions to a remote worksite, which would embody Nortel’s Ethernet switching and IP routing and Microsoft’s Live Communications Server software in one box.

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