Microsoft and Polycom Work Together for End-to-End Unified Communications

8 Aug 2010

Polycom, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have signed a multi-year, strategic global agreement, in order to improve business productivity for customers and deliver end-to-end unified communications. Polycom will develop and market UC solutions for enterprises, small-to-medium businesses, and government markets, encompassing software, hardware, networking, and services, in order to help customers improve productivity while reducing travel and costs.

As Microsoft and Polycom both hope to create business productivity solutions built on standards-based platforms and working with today's tools and applications, the companies hope that the agreement will move them forward towards streamlining communications via messaging, video, and voice with connected applications and devices.

Both Microsoft and Polycom are gearing up for a tough competition with Cisco, and engaging in alliances with various vendors. Polycom has alliances with Hewlett-Packard and Avaya, in addition to Juniper Networks and Siemens Enterprise Communications.

"The new Microsoft/Polycom strategic relationship is a real win-win for both companies," says Jim Burton of UCStrategies. "Microsoft gets access to Polycom's world-class audio and video end points, as well as its conference room solutions, all tightly integrated into Microsoft's unified communications offerings. It addition, it now has access to Polycom's worldwide distribution and technology integration know-how. Polycom will leverage Microsoft's success in the UC space to help the company compete against Cisco/Tandberg offerings."

Burton goes on to add: "Interoperability is a major concern, and this relationship helps to ensure proper interoperability between Microsoft and Polycom. Interoperability with other vendors, such as Cisco, remains a concern for Polycom and Microsoft customer for the near term. The hope is this issue will be resolved by the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF) if and when Cisco and others join the forum. Enterprises need to understand where they may have interoperability issues, and where the integration will be more seamless."

Thanks to the agreement, Polycom is a part of Microsoft's global alliance for its UC business. Both companies are investing in product development, sales, and marketing, while delivering rich UC solutions through their resources, investments, and field engagement.

The agreement provides a roadmap in which Polycom provides a broad base of solutions for Microsoft, including new Polycom CX series endpoints for Microsoft UC, room-based video systems, and interoperable solutions between Polycom's current and future video conferencing solutions with Microsoft's Communication Server 14 and later versions.

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