Saturday, March 27, 2010

Microsoft endorses software based PBX for Windows


Last week Microsoft announced that the next version of Microsoft OCS 2007 will include PBX functionality and will be renamed to Communications Server. The product will be released some time late this year.

So what does this mean to the PBX market and in particular to 3CX and our partners? Well first and foremost it’s a huge endorsement of what we have been doing until now: The market is heading towards software based PBX, and away from proprietary systems such as Cisco and Avaya and away from Linux black box systems such as Trixbox or Switchvox.

Microsoft’s marketing investment in communicating this to customers will significantly enlarge the Windows based software PBX market. This is likely to be a huge shot in the arm for 3CX marketing – we now have an ‘ally’ in explaining why your next PBX should be Windows based.

At the same time, we have ‘gained’ a significant competitor and the question is how much of this now huge Windows PBX market will choose Microsoft Communications Server over 3CX Phone System.

The days that Microsoft would enter a market and take it over are long gone. Look at Microsoft ISA server or One Care Anti Virus. Microsoft has a hard time competing against VMware. Does everybody use Sharepoint or even Internet Explorer? And in the case of telephony it does not have a big strategic advantage in terms of integration with other Microsoft products. The Office 2010 communication APIs will be available to 3CX and we will achieve a similar level of Office integration.

Sure the Microsoft brand is strong, and Microsoft will capture significant market share. But there are millions of companies out there that are searching for an easy to use, open standard and inexpensive solution and that is something that Microsoft Communications Server most definitely is not. And they will look towards 3CX........

7 comments:

Bruce G. Kreeger said...

Nick,

I agree with you emphatically. The day of the Microsoft giant overpowering the small technology company is near end. So long as the playing field is nearly level many purchasers of VoIP telephony will realize that the consistent development offered by smaller players usually will yield a more robust and scalable product. Supplement that with the greater interaction and support of the smaller developer and you have an indication why there are so many who seek alternatives to big M. I for one believe that Microsoft is the biggest and the best. I also have difficulty getting the support that we and our clients so often need from Microsoft but which we easily get from 3CX.

Igor said...

I am not sure that OCS 14 tend to be a direct competitor of 3CX. OCS is a Goliath. It will go to compete with Siemens Enterprise Communications, Cisco, Avaya and other "monsters", that average SMB company can not and does not want to afford.
E911 service, for example, is useless outside US. Office(and all the more Sharepoint) integration is a questionable advantage for many companies that simply does not using Office. I'm using Lotus Symphony for Windows, for example...
The advantaged of OCS that I can see now are:
1. Nice looking unified client, including mobile version (although not standards based)
2. Videoconferencing (although not standards based, as I know)
3. Active Directory integration (although this tight integration can become an issue in case of problems with AD)
4. Wide partner network
5. Maybe more advanced statistic and user control (permissions, rights and so on)
6. Inter-site user presence notification

I am not an OCS expert, so maybe I'am missing something?

Anyway, I sure, that most of this advantages will be implemented in 3CX in more smart and standard way :-)

Nick Galea said...

@Bruce,

Thanks for the heads up! Yes i believe as a more focused company we can deliver better support to our customers and partners and cater better for the needs of the SMB market.

@Igor
Yes i agree OCS is more enterprise focused. That said, 3CX scales to larger installs easily. Regarding the points you mentioned, we still have 9 months to deliver those :-) Video, remote site presence and better looking client are all slated for v9. Improved reporting and mobile client is the next step.

Active Directory integration sounds nice, but AD schema updates brings its own set of problems - still its an area we are looking at.

Kris said...

More on what Igor stated, I believe the target will also be large enterprises only, this is in line with their current OCS marketing & pricing.

At teched last year I sat in the lecture hall & the Microsoft OCS presenter mentioned the licensing models were those over 5000 seats & those over 10,000 seats then asked for a raise of hands from these Microsoft engineers who has customers over 5,000 seats (1 of the 1,000 MCP's raised their hand). I would expect those other 999 MCPs would be much more interested in 3CX scale & licensing)...

Nick Galea said...

Hi Kris,

Thanks for your feedback - Thats my thinking too. OCS is by design enterprise and more of a competitor to say Cisco Call Manager then 3CX.

Igor said...

I would wait for OCS 14 and will see.
Microsoft can make some sort of simplified version of OCS (OCS Small business) just like Cisco Call Manager Express.

Bobby said...

Microsoft's business model is antiquated.