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Polycom, Microsoft embrace over UC

Polycom (www.polycom.com) and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) have declared their love, er a “global strategic agreement” for developing and marketing “integrated,” standards-based unified communications (UC) solutions.

The agreement makes Polycom a member of Microsoft’s “key strategic global alliance” for UC; both sides will invest in product development, sales, and marketing.

Polycom will develop a broad base of solutions for Microsoft Communications Server “14” and beyond, including lots of new Polycom CX series endpoints featuring HD voice and video, new room-based video systems designed for direct integration with MCS “14” and additional interoperable solutions between Polycom’s existing and future video conferencing solutions.

The biggest hoot out of this announcement is seeing a quote from Microsoft Corporate VP Gurdeep Singh Pall, the go-to guy when it comes to Microsoft’s telephony products. Two years ago at VoiceCon Orlando, he poo-poo’ed the traditional desktop handset, waiving around a cheap $300 netbook and saying one didn’t need all that dedicated hardware.

Today, Pall is singing the praises of one of the biggest phone guys in the business. “Microsoft and Polycom are committed to a roadmap that will deliver interoperable UC solutions with choice and innovation in video conferencing and customer devices that will help transform enterprise communication,” Pall said in a press release.

It’s a VERY different tune from “We don’t need no stinkin’ desktop phones.” Now Microsoft is the new BFF with the best desktop phone and videoconferencing company. Guess they figured out they can’t do everything standalone, especially when it comes to telepresence. Either that or the Acer netbook died…

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