Is Microsoft “hurting” his UC partners ?

It has been a while since my last post. The reason was simple: too may work (including weekends), new type of projects (cloud) and a slow but painfull decline on the UC market.

On the last couple of months, almost 80% of our OCS/Lync customers gave up the product. The reasons were almost the similar:
* The current (country) crisis makes IT departments to make cuts;
* Microsoft licensing became too expensive, expecially if you plan to roll-out voice.

Fortunnaly, most of our customers that had integration of MS/Cisco moved to Cisco UC solutions. Cisco was aware of this market change and by offering Jabber to existing customers, it helped us to continue to keep our market and profit.

Returning to the MS Lync, we all know that Microsoft has the “Ferrari” of UC, but it demands that everyone should use and pay for it. It has been dificult latelly to upsell a complete MS solution in both possible ways:
* Service Provider: You can build and offer a multi-tenant solution, but you have to compete with the new Office 365 (how can you compete against a ‘free’ 25GB  mailbox?); And if you can implement VoIP integration, the SPLA licensing plus will make per user licensing at a very high cost;
* Service Integrator – you will resell Office 365, receiving your 4% commision and try to earn something with professional services. But with the current market margins you’ll have to choose to use persons less qualified just to keep customers with you.

And things doesn’t look to became any better. We the release of Office 365 Professional plus (and also Windows intune), the first impressions are not favorable: “Big changes in Office 2013 and Office 365 test Microsoft customers’ loyalty” (zdnet).

I believe Microsoft will noticed this, and will very soon smash prices, the competition and start recover the UC market that should be by now on the IT “top 5 hypes”.

I still think that the Lync solution and partner ecosystem is the ideal tool for the growth of your business… but there are some new and interesting alternatives 😉

This is just my opinion based on my latest experience. I would really like to hear from UC guys about this.

Additional sources:
Office 2013 licensing changes increase IT angst
Microsoft’s attempts to clarify Office licensing policies fall short
Microsoft Addresses Controversial Office 2013 License Lock-In
Microsoft Nearly Clarifies Office 2013 Licensing, Still Dithering Over Cloud Computing
Why Microsoft’s new Office 2013 license may send users to Google Docs


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