Lync, Microsoft's unified communications platform that combines voice, Web conferencing, and instant messaging is reportedly poised to become the next billion-dollar business at Microsoft. That's good news for Microsoft, but those billions of dollars come out of IT's pocket. It's time you considered alternatives before Lync becomes ingrained in your IT environment, much like SharePoint has for many companies.
Lync follows in SharePoint's billion-dollar footsteps
According to reports from Microsoft's recent Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, the company has high expectations for Lync, with several Microsoft managers telling MSPmentor's Joe Panettieri that sales trajectories place Lync as Microsoft's next billion-dollar platform.
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With Lync, formerly Office Communications Server, Microsoft is following a similar strategy to that of its SharePoint, another billion-dollar-plus business. As with SharePoint before it, Microsoft has built a set of applications that leverages Microsoft Office's massive install base. Microsoft is now accelerating partner involvement to shift Lync from a set of applications to a platform that partners can manage and customize.
Microsoft expects to target the 10 million legacy VoIP phone lines that Cisco Systems currently controls, largely in the enterprise space. However, as Panettieri explains, Microsoft has the installed base and partner channel to grow Lync in the small and medium-size business market.
Lync is available on the Office 365 cloud, but is expected to garner higher on-premises interest, an attractive point for Microsoft's managed service provider partners, thanks to its more complete feature set on premises than in Office 365.