On The Competitive Threat From Microsoft (Pt. 1)
The general context is that I've probably fought Microsoft four times in my career, in different technologies. Their successes would not be seen as iconic in realtime communications. In the mid-1990s, Microsoft went into the business of software routers with the intent to put companies like Cisco out of business. By 2000, they exited that business. Another [area] might be mobile software, where there's been a decade and a half investment, and that may have reached double-digit market share at some point but is now in single digits. I could give you two more examples that I won't put you to sleep with. While huge a Goliath -- a proprietary bearer, and we have to be reverent -- real time communications has not been their centerpiece for longstanding success.
What's happened in the last nine months, and what I think is important, is that in the customers we're interacting with, we're answering questions about Microsoft at a lesser rate today than we were nine months ago. I don't exactly know why but I can offer hypotheses, and they come not in the questions Avaya is answering but in the absence of questions about Microsoft. One question I'm being asked is, 'Well, we've got more Macs and iPads in our enterprise, and can we get your Flare software on iPad?' It's about Apple and iPad. It's about Apple, and iPad, and using Flare there. It's not about people asking me about Microsoft per se, although we'd like to interoperate in a Microsoft environment.