Dell Jumps Into VoIP With Microsoft, Nortel

VoIP communications

In a partnership unveiled Tuesday as part of the launch festivities surrounding Microsoft's entrance into the unified communications market, Toronto-based Nortel said Dell will sell its Enterprise Solutions portfolio, including its VoIP, data and wireless networking products.

Dell will also be selling products developed jointly by Nortel and Microsoft via their Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA) unified communications partnership.

A long-time Microsoft partner, Round Rock, Tex.-based Dell will also be selling the new Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products launched by Microsoft this week in pre-tested configurations with its hardware.

Dell will be backing its unified communications product sales with a suite of professional services by tapping Nortel's own Nortel Express Services professional services offering.

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"Services is a huge area. There is space for everyone," said Ruchi Prasad, Nortel's vice president and general manager of ICA. Nortel offers its Express Services through the channel so that partners have a choice on whether they invest to build their own services capabilities or not, she said. "Microsoft's big distributors and resellers will absolutely sell Nortel services because they want to get in the game."

Ettienne Reinecke, CTO at systems integrator Dimension Data, Herndon, Va., said the partnership with Dell is not a channel-friendly move for Nortel. Dimension Data's partners include Microsoft and Nortel.

"I'd guess they're trying to establish their professional services and have a channel to take them to market. From a systems integration point of view, we would be competitors," Reinecke said. "I'm not too sure what this means for us, if it's significant at all. It will be interesting to see what they're actually achieving."