Microsoft on Monday made a big move into the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) market by announcing strategic alliances with AT&T, Amdocs, and Sylantro.
Microsoft's goal is to provide VOIP providers with tools and services to deliver new integrated products to the industry, according to Michael O'Hara, general manager for the service provider business at Microsoft.
"We're focusing on collaborating with service providers to build software-powered service networks. We believe that by focusing on collaboration with service providers we can build software-powered service networks that will create new applications," O'Hara said.
Microsoft's primary offering in this space will be its Connected Services Framework, an integrated software product designed for building and managing complex services using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web service interfaces. Connected Services Framework will allow telecommunications operators to aggregate, provision, and manage converged communications services for their subscribers, regardless of network or device, according to O'Hara. .
"With Connected Services Framework, telecommunications providers can develop and deploy not only Microsoft applications, but also operator-developed services and other third-party products aimed at specific customer segments," said O'Hara.
The strategic alliance with AT&T connects AT&T's global IP network with Microsoft's Connected Services Framework. Using Connected Services Framework, AT&T will create new network-based IP services and applications, according to the two companies.
The two companies will also work together to develop an array of network-enabled messaging, collaboration, media, and business applications to expand AT&T's existing IP services line. These services will expand on AT&T's existing IP services portfolio, including the company's recently announced Dynamic Network Applications (DNA) portfolio, and Microsoft's set of hosted collaboration, communications, and business applications.
One of the first goals of the five-year road map will be an effort by Microsoft to Web services-enable AT&T's VOIP service so it can be delivered through the Microsoft Connected Services Framework to enterprise customers along with other communications services. This would give AT&T DNA end-users click-to-dial capabilities within any Microsoft Office application, according to Microsoft officials.
Microsoft and Amdocs announced that the two companies have signed a letter of intent to jointly develop, market, and deliver products that will combine Amdocs consulting and implementation services and software products with Microsoft's Connected Services Framework.
"The goal here is to speed up the development of products and services that help service providers to deliver converged network services that bring together voice, video, and data," said O'Hara.
As part of the agreement, Amdocs will expand its integration with the Microsoft Connected Services Framework to facilitate flow-through provisioning and usage collection for a variety of Microsoft services, such as the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration and the Microsoft TV platform. The companies will also make the Amdocs software available on Microsoft platforms and work together to develop industry-standard, Web services-based interfaces for faster development of new services.
Microsoft and Sylantro Systems announced that they have signed a letter of intent through which the two companies will develop and market enhanced VOIP solutions for telecommunications providers. Through this agreement, Microsoft and Sylantro will integrate Sylantro's Application Feature Server with the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration. The product is designed to enable service providers to offer subscribers combined VOIP, e-mail, collaboration, presence, instant messaging, and desktop services.
"Increasingly, businesses are looking to service providers to deliver rich communications services that bring together a variety of features and capabilities in a single package. The combination of the Sylantro platform with the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration provides the powerful, yet easy-to-use telephony and desktop capabilities that business users demand, and delivers a consistent experience across the PC, telephone and mobile devices," said O'Hara.
The letter of intent also calls for Microsoft and Sylantro to work together to integrate the Sylantro Application Feature Server with the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Version 3.0, as well as integrate the Sylantro solution with Microsoft Connected Services Framework, port the Sylantro solution to Microsoft's Windows Server platform, and market and sell the combined products to service providers.
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