Microsoft Office Communication Server: Friend or Mortal Enemy to the Windows PBX?

Is Microsoft Office Communication Server a friend or mortal enemy to Windows phone system vendors?

3CX CEO, Nick Galea, noted that his company will not support integrations to OCS because it is essentially a competing product. "3CX sees OCS as a competitor and there are no plans to integrate with OCS. We are already going head to head with OCS and I believe we have a more appealing solution in many ways..." noted Nick Galea in a 3CX forum post on Oct 14, 2009.
Read More 3CX has added the 3CX Call Assistant to the 3CX Phone System which adds basic instant messaging capabilities along with PC call control, eliminating the need for another instant message server in a small organization.

ObjectWorld Communications makes a unified communication system that integrates tightly with Active Directory, features ODBC connected IVR and has a very mature software operator panel "while still costing less than providing employees with coffee service" says marketing director Vincent Guihan in a Channel Insider article. On OCS Guihan says, "Microsoft OCS is targeted for a desktop productivity play and is very useful for large organizations whose employees need to work more effectively with each other. Objectworld’s channel partners are focused more on customers who need end-to-end services that are more basic and allow them to work with external customers, like voice mail and fax capabilities." Read More

pbxnsip, an IP PBX vendor who makes a software based phone system that runs on Windows as well as Linux and Mac, notes that "pbxnsip & OCS have been tested and are interoperable". Read More. pbxnsip also provides a WIKI article that gives detailed instructions on integrating the two products and has an official forum dedicated to OCS/pbxnsip integration. Microsoft GOLD Partner ItACS says "pbxnsip and OCS is a great combination, especially for the small to medium sized business..." Kevin Moroz, CEO of pbxnsip noted "pbxnsip acknowledges that OCS is heading towards becoming a PBX but they are in different markets. OCS is geared more towards the enterprise market at this time. " He went on to say "Communication solutions is a big market and there is room for both of us. We see it as essential to make sure we interoperate with Microsoft products such as OCS and Exchange Server UM."

Christian Stredicke, CEO of SNOM says "OCS is the future..." .SNOM, maker of SIP based phone handsets, now has OCS enabled their entire line of SIP phones. Snom phones can connect to a SIP pbx at the same time as OCS providing traditional phone features as well as OCS's advanced instant messaging, presence, directory and Windows Mobile reach.

What is my opinion? I really think at the moment OCS is aimed at much bigger organizations than most of the listed ip pbx vendors so probably not a mortal enemy right now. Also all of the listed pbx vendors provide more traditional telephone system features many small to medium companies still want right now. What if OCS Small Business Edition was released? (my blog post on OCS "SBE") Ahem. I still think they would need to add quite a few telephone system features to make it compelling for the SMB market.
You can read more of my thots on my entire blog post on "Is OCS becoming a PBX?".

Is OCS the evil, malevolent giant that is out to crush traditional & Windows based phone systems? Can Windows PBX vendors survive? What do you think?

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