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Nortel, Microsoft extend unified communications work

Carrier-hosted converged office solution unveiled at conference

ORLANDO – Nortel Networks and Microsoft Corp. expanding their efforts to drive the widespread adoption of unified communications among businesses around the world.

The companies’ new carrier-hosted converged office solution was revealed here at Inform 2007, Nortel’s carrier user group conference that is attended by more than 300 global carrier customers.

Building on their existing Innovative Communications Alliance, the companies plan to offer solutions that will enable service providers to deliver comprehensive unified communications services to small and medium business (SMBs) and enterprises.

Carriers will be able to host unified business communication and collaboration services for their business customers, including e-mail, instant messaging, VoIP, click-to-call, video conferencing and other multimedia services. This will enable carriers to derive greater value from their existing network investments and resources, the companies said, while allowing SMBs and enterprises to benefit from unified communications without bearing the burden of purchasing, installing and managing additional network infrastructure.

Nortel will integrate its Communication Server 2000 (CS 2000) softswitch with the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration, which incorporates hosted versions of Exchange, Office Live Communications Server and SharePoint Services.

In addition, Nortel will provide a full range of convergence integration services from the Nortel Global Services portfolio that can accelerate and expedite all stages of a unified communications deployment to unify disparate modes of communication into a seamless model integrating business processes at the applications level.

The companies intend to begin field trials the second half of 2007 with general availability planned by the end of the year.