Verizon, Microsoft Tighten Cloud Communication, Collaboration Pact


Verizon Business and Microsoft have teamed up to deliver collaboration capabilities via the cloud.

Verizon on Wednesday said it is now offering SMBs an all-in-one offering that takes Verizon's IP networking and mobility components and wraps in Microsoft's Online Services, or cloud computing offerings. The services bundle is designed to let users connect, communicate and collaborate from the cloud, said Carrie Gray, Verizon's director of SMB marketing.

"We're bundling them into a single package and delivering them via the cloud as SaaS [Software-as-a-Service]," she said, adding that it lets users access Microsoft's cloud collaboration tools anytime, anywhere and from any device.

The move to offer more collaboration via the cloud comes as Verizon promises a massive investment in its cloud computing offerings. In September, Verizon said it will invest roughly $17 billion in building, operating and integrating its networking and computing platforms, a big chunk of which is designed for the cloud as Verizon adds more muscle to its push to deliver Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS). So far, Verizon's cloud push includes Computing-as-a-Service (CaaS), cloud security offerings and cloud storage services.

The new set of cloud services extends the existing relationship between Verizon and Microsoft and is designed to couple Verizon's suite of voice, internet, security, mobility and backup services with Microsoft's cloud computing capabilities and deliver them to SMBs in one fell swoop, dubbed Verizon UC&C with Microsoft Online Services.

Gray said the offering gives SMBs the access to Microsoft Online Services for $10 per user, per month, a roughly 40 percent savings compared to licensing each component individually. The UC&C with Microsoft Online Services offering features Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting and Lync Online, the latest version of Office Communications Server.

Gray said Microsoft will still host the Online Services in its cloud, but Verizon will offer it to customers over its network and Verizon will become the single source for communications and collaboration services and monthly billing.

Along with boosting its cloud collaboration capabilities with Microsoft Online Services, Verizon on Wednesday also added a host of new professional services around Microsoft's new Lync Server 2010, the software giant's next generation communications server, said Mike Holtgrefe, Senior Consultant, Verizon Professional Services.

New Verizon services include workshop and strategic planning services; assessment services; architecture and design services; deployment and integrations services; and unified communications application enablement planning services.

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