Homepage This page's url is: -crn- Rankings and Research Companies Channelcast Marketing Matters CRNtv Events WOTC Jobs Dell EMC Newsroom IBM PartnerWorld Newsroom HPE Zone Tech Provider Zone

Microsoft Unveils Pricing for Small Biz VoIP System

Microsoft has released its Response Point VoIP system software to manufacturing and expects its hardware partners to soon begin shipping small-business phone systems based on the technology.

While solution providers anxiously await the release of Microsoft's unified communications product portfolio later this month, the company in the meantime is making strides to bring its small business VoIP wares to market.

Microsoft on Tuesday said it has released its Response Point phone system to manufacturing, meaning that OEM partners D-Link and Quanta Computer will soon have general availability for products based on the software. Microsoft also said both partners will be pricing their products below $3,000.

Microsoft joins vendors such as 3Com, Cisco Systems and Digium in recently targeting VoIP systems at small businesses.

The systems, which include VoIP call processing and features such as voicemail, call forwarding and integration with Microsoft Outlook, are targeted at small-business customers with up to 50 users, though they will scale higher, said Jeff Smith, senior product manager at Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft's small business VoIP move comes two weeks ahead of the planned launch of Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 and other communications products at a launch event in San Francisco on October 16. Smith noted that Response Point systems were built from the ground up as small business solutions and are not designed to work as branch office systems off of larger OCS deployments.

Two OEM partners, D-Link and Quanta, are preparing to ship product bundles within the next few months that package Microsoft software with their base hardware units, gateways and phones.

Systems based on Response Point software will be available to solution providers via the distributors working with D-Link and Quanta, including D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Tech Data and several others.

"I've looked into Response Point, and it looks like a compelling solution for small businesses who just want basic PBX features like dial tone and voice mail," said Travis Fisher, executive vice president at Inacom Information Systems, Salisbury, Md., via e-mail. "They say that it will support up to 100 extensions, but my guess is that businesses with 40-plus users will be looking for a more sophisticated solution [with] things like toll bypass, screen pops, SIP compatibility, custom apps on the phone, etc."

NEXT: Vendors outline their product plans

D-Link, Fountain Valley, Calif., plans to make its VoiceCenter phone system available during the fourth quarter. A starter pack, which includes a base unit, analog telephone adapter (ATA) and five phones, will be priced at $2,999. Additional phones will cost $149.

Taiwan-based Quanta will begin taking pre-orders for its Syspine system on Oct. 5. A package that includes a base unit with built-in ATA and secure gateway as well as four phones will cost approximately $2,500. Additional phones will cost $159 each.

Microsoft had also named Uniden America, Ft. Worth, Texas, as an OEM partner in March when it first introduced the product line, but Uniden has decided not to ship product this year, Smith said.

Smith stopped short of saying that Uniden America had pulled out as an OEM partner. "We continue to work with them and are positive about our relationship overall," Smith said.

Meanwhile, communications networking vendor Aastra Technologies, Ontario, Canada, has signed on as Microsoft's newest hardware partner with plans to ship Response Point-based phone systems with wireless handsets next year, Smith said.

In addition, Microsoft Financing will be available for all Response Point systems, enabling customers to pay for all associated software, hardware and installation fees over a three-year period, Smith said.

Microsoft expects to have about 1,000 solution providers trained on Response Point by the time products begin shipping. D-Link and Quanta are also training channel partners, Smith said.

Response Point is comprised of three software pieces: the call processing software that runs on the base unit; Response Point Administrator, a management console for monitoring system health and making moves, adds and changes; and Response Point Assistant software, a client application for Windows PCs that enables on-screen call notification.

Kevin McLaughlin contributed to this story.

Back to Top



sponsored resources