VTN Gives Microsoft Unified Communications Thumbs Up

Microsoft's unified communications portfolio of products

"I think it's going to be pioneering," said Scott Goemmel, executive vice president of PVM Technologies, Troy, Mich., at Ingram's VTN Invitational in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Bill Gates launched the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's entrance into the VoIP market on Tuesday in San Francisco. The line-up includes Office Communications Server 2007, the Office Communicator 2007 unified communications client, the RoundTable videoconferencing system and Office Live Meeting 2007 hosted conferencing.

Adam Eiseman, CEO of The Lloyd Group, New York City, hasn't had much experience with Microsoft's unified communications products, but he says they will likely transform the market.

"I think it has tremendous potential," he said.

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The Lloyd Group should be selling the products within six to 12 months. "I think everybody is going to have to," said Eiseman.

While the product might become a must-sell for Microsoft and unified communications resellers, not all are sold on it so far.

One partner who asked not to be named said he thought the products were too expensive.

Lester Keizer, president of Las Vegas-based Connecting Point Technology Center said he thinks it's an interesting new product, but "the jury is out on whether it works."

Meanwhile, Harlan, Iowa.-based Heartland Technology Solutions has been using the suite in its own offices for a few months, and CEO Arlin Sorensen said he thinks there's nothing else like it on the market. So far the multi-branch company has been able to use videoconferencing application to reduce its budget for conference calls and executives have taken advantage of the OCS presence function when communicating with each other.

Sorensen said he thinks the product is going to sell well, but not for the SMB.

"It's not going to be for small businesses, but we're definitely going to sell it to the midmarket," he said.