Authors: Julia White
In November 2009 Cisco Mail was introduced to the world, but yesterday Cisco announced that they were abandoning this hosted mail service. It should come as no surprise that we have been watching the coverage with some interest and have some thoughts of our own to share.
The Wall Street Journal, in Cisco Pulls Plug...
Authors: Dean Howarth
Last Wednesday I posted that we'd released Lync to manufacturing, meaning our code is locked and the product is ready. We received some great questions as a result, so I wanted to address a few of them here.
First, there are still a few more steps before Lync is officially available. As I noted in the blog our worldwide...
It’s a pretty big day for the Office Communications team here at Microsoft. I’m excited to share that we’ve met a major milestone and are making the release candidate of our ‘wave 14’ communications products available for anyone to download. In addition, there has been much speculation on what the new name for the release would be, so I get to officially announce that here too – the new name is Microsoft Lync.
Let me provide a little more detail on both the release candidate and the new name than you’ll hear in the press release.
First the new name. For those of you who have followed the Office Communications business over the past several releases, you’ll know that this is an important milestone in a journey that started more than five years ago with a vision to transform communications with software. This vision, set out by leaders like Bill Gates, Jeff Raikes and Gurdeep Singh Pall, included bringing together various and “siloed” real-time communications systems and creating new ways for people to connect with each other. Lync 2010 is the release that delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conference – all within the same user experience and back-end infrastructure, as well connecting people in new ways through things like integrated expect search and interactive contact cards throughout Office.
As we watched Lync 2010 develop into reality, we wanted a new name that reflected the major product transformation. In that sense, Lync – a combination of “link” and “sync” – is about connecting people in new ways, anytime, anywhere. Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator. If you’ve ever worked on a branding process, you know how personal it can be. Everyone involved has their favorite name (and of course none of them are the same!). So we were pleased that most people in research and internally gravitated toward Lync. We hope you like the name as much as we do.
With the 2010 release, we will use Lync as the ‘family’ brand and within each of our communications products:
|Product||2010 Release||2007 Release|
|Family||Microsoft Lync||Microsoft Office Communications|
|The server||Microsoft Lync Server 2010||Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2|
|The client||Microsoft Lync 2010||Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2|
|The service||Microsoft Lync Online||Microsoft Office Communications Online|
|The web client||Microsoft Lync Web App||Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access|
Now about the release candidate. With nearly 20,000 people inside Microsoft and more than 100 enterprise customers already using the Lync 2010 beta, the R&D team is on track to deliver the product to market before the end of the year. I’ve been using Lync 2010 for about six months now, both in conjunction with a beta IP phone from Polycom, as well as via my laptop on its own (primarily when I’m traveling or at home).
Some of the new ways of communicating that I’ve grown attached to over the last six months include:
Switching between my head-set and laptop or speakerphone, in the middle of a call with device switching.
Selecting multiple people in my contact list and initiating a group call. If I need to add someone else, I can ‘drag’ their name from the list to the call.
Leaving the office and taking my call with me on my mobile phone.
Having Lync test my network connection before I start a video call or meeting.
Going from IM, to voice, to video to app sharing, all within the same client experience.
The R&D team has gathered and incorporated tons of great feedback in the release candidate, including many suggestions from previous releases (check out the new dial-pad in Lync 2010 as just one example). After testing, we essentially freeze the code, and make this near final cut of the software – i.e., the release candidate – available for broader use. As of today, you can download it here, as well as get more information on the release here.
We hope that many of you will take a look and like Lync 2010 as much as the early beta testers have.
Over the last several weeks, I've been proud to highlight why customers of all sizes, geographies and industries have picked Microsoft over Google Apps. Some have left Google after realizing 'it's more pony than horse', others gave it a test drive and found out quickly it was 'more showroom than track ready'. (Sorry, I couldn't resist) . Despite the hype machines running overtime at the GooglePlex in Mountain View, customers are voting with their feet to pick Microsoft.
This is why I am excited to highlight two more customers who have decided to share their reasons why Microsoft has become their trusted software vendor. As always, if you want more customer examples or content that outlines how our solutions differ to Google, you can always visit this website.
Leaving Google. Why Even Free Google Apps Wasn't Worth It
Jared Morgan from Bradshaw and Weil in Paducah, KY has written a guest post over on the MS Online blog about their experience leaving Google Apps Standard Edition for MS Online. Standard edition is a free offering from Google that is limited to 50 users. They see the tremendous value in BPOS to now pay for the suite of services. Jared shares why as a small business the cloud offers a cost effective way to remain agile while gaining access to technology previously out of reach due to cost and on site company support. My favorite part about Jared's post is his singling out of SharePoint Online as a key benefit of the BPOS Suite, "What I thought I was getting as a simple throw-in with BPOS, SharePoint Online has turned out to be as valuable as Exchange Online, if not more so."
SharePoint is the fastest growing product in the history of Microsoft. It's received numerous accolades from industry analysts including top placement in all related Gartner Magic Quadrants. Imagine being a small business with under 50 employees and having access to such a product via the cloud? It's no surprise why SharePoint is a winner for Bradshaw and Weil and 'Why Microsoft' is an affirmative statement and not question at all.
Future Proofing Your Business - Cloud on Your Terms with Microsoft
On the Exchange Blog, David Aird, Head of IT for MITIE, a strategic outsourcing and asset management company, shares his insights into why they selected Exchange over Google Apps. He explains how Microsoft provides flexibility they need and how Google is an ultimatum full of hidden costs. We are the only company in the industry that allows you to run your solutions on prem, in the cloud, hosted with a partner or a hybrid. That means that companies like Bradshaw and Weil who are 'All In' can embrace the cloud immediately and for companies like MITIE, they can still run the systems themselves but by being on Microsoft, they have a product that is 'future proofed' because it allows them an 'on ramp' to go to the cloud on their terms.
"We looked at Google. They were competitively priced but with only three years in the productivity space, they lacked maturity and seemed like a risky investment… Ultimately, we choose Exchange 2007 for its manageability, reliability and enterprise class support. Despite all the recent focus on the cloud, we're not quite ready to move our data outside of our immediate control. When we do, we'll do it on our terms rather than being forced into a fit that's not right for our business." (see post for full transcript. I pulled from two paragraphs)
Stay tuned for more customer stories in the coming weeks as we continue to highlight 'Why Microsoft'.
It has been a few weeks since the Cisco Cius announcement and I have now had some time to reflect on it and talk to some of my IT friends and I have come to wonder if the product is DOA.....stay with me for this.
I have come to the conclusion that Cius is a great example of a concept that has been implemented in a way that ensures "Death in the Middle".
Death in the Middle refers to products that find themselves sandwiched between a higher value/higher price product and a lower vale/price product or in some other way caught between the extremes. In virtually all cases, products in the middle are doomed as buyers tend to cluster at the poles of the buying spectrum; they either buy for low price/capability or for maximum capability regardless of price. Innumerable marketing and business analysis have shown this to be true. If the market cannot be redefined so the product in the middle is in a different market it dies.....
With Cius, Cisco has created a product that finds itself squarely in the middle of the hand-held business device spectrum. By choosing a size of 7 inches, the Cius device is neither a pocket-able all the time device like the iPhone nor is it a reasonable carry type tablet. The following illustrates the conundrum of being in the middle in the device marketplace.
As can be clearly seen, the combination of screen size and device size lead to a clear segmentation that creates the "Death in the Middle". In screen size, screens 7" and smaller are not large enough to do multi-party video, have true windowing, enable text reading for page views of forms or documents. They also will not enable desktop virtualization in a meaningful way as they are just too small to replicate in any way the experience on a 15-25" monitor. To see this effect, using a cut out window of paper will show how little of your PC screen can be seen at 7 inches. It is critical to remember that usable screen is the square of the diagonal measure, so a screen with 9.5" has twice the area of a 7" screen. This is critical as displaying multi-party video or seeing real response expressions in video requires a minimum size. Note that all of the iPhone video screens shown are a single headshot......conversely, any screen larger than about 4" precludes the device from being small enough to fit into a pocket easily. So, devices with both mid and large size screens are relegated to being carried as a hand-held all the time.
In this combination of factors lies the challenge that the Cius will face in the market; it is too large to be a reasonable pocket-able device and its' 7' screen is too small for either serious video or business applications. So Cisco has created in Cius a superb example of a product that will die in the middle.
So in the end "See-Us" is a near miss of real value and will in fact be DOA.