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Nortel UC card going, Microsoft relationship already gone

Nortel’s asset fire sale “could possibly gut” its 3 year UC partnership with Microsoft, Network World says. Uh, yah think?   Given that HP and Microsoft swore to be friends and jointly invest up to $180 million at InterOp last month, I’d say both companies are in splitsville.

Back in 2006, Nortel and Microsoft rolled out a four year plan called the Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA), designed to jointly develop and sell UC and VoIP technology to enterprise customers.  Nortel brought the phone knowledge, some middleware, and its installed base while Microsoft brought Office Communications Server (OCS) and its brand name.

Sale of Nortel’s various assets and divisions could leave the ICA partnership without Nortel’s IP PBX platform, engineers working with Nortel on joint products, and – probably the biggest loss – Nortel Global Services, the consulting arm for ICA.

Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski predicted the partnership would generate $1 billion in revenue, but by 2008 Nortel was reporting a $3.4 million loss on the effort.

Avaya may pick up Nortel’s UC business for $500 million, one of Canada’s papers is reporting. If this takes place, Avaya would overlap with its UC own products AND Microsoft has a UC partnership with Avaya, leaving everyone guessing as to what redundancies would be chopped.

If Nortel Global Services goes out the door in the next wave of asset divestment, so does support for Microsoft’s UC try-it program for customers.

(Of course, this doeth beg the question why Microsoft isn’t putting down some cash to pick up some assets on the cheap, but it might be too busy with Bing to care…)

Besides, Microsoft and HP are already cozy with their own four year (hmm, where’d that come from?) “strategic global initiative” to deliver an end-to-end UC and collaboration solution, with the two companies earmarking up to $180 million in “product development, professional services, as well as joint sales and marketing, to help organizations lower costs and improve productivity.”

Further down the HP press release, there’s a lot of nice bullet points about how HP will have a dedicated team of service professionals (like they had with Nortel), as well as work with communication service providers for hosting solutions for SMBs (Like they did with Nortel).

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