Nortel and Microsoft have announced the first products in their convergence collaboration, with more products and services in the pipeline. 


About six months ago, the two companies agreed to work together to advance unified communication, bringing together voice, video, e-mail, instant messaging and other communications media.
"We're really trying to accelerate that transition in a way which is very positive and drives new scenarios for end users in business, and helps IT people both extend the solutions they can provide and drive cost and complexity out of the IT infrastructure," says Steve Ballmer, CEO or Microsoft. "So, we're trying to simplify and enhance things, and really extend VoIP, as it's known, broadly across the business."
Ballmer shared the stage with Mike Zafirovski, CEO and president of Nortel at a New York conference on unified comminications.
"I think what we put in place six months ago was very powerful, but the question that we received, of course, at the time was where's the beef, show us the specific products, the services and solutions," Ballmer adds. "Today we get a chance to share with you the first real, concrete deliverables and output that you'll see this year, as well as we'll continue to talk to you about the roadmap on where we really go for the future."
He adds that the companies share a broad relationship that is supported by joint R&D and services investments.
Zafirovski explains that the announcements are part of Nortel's delivery on the promise of transforming the enterprise. "One of our key strategic objectives has been to have Nortel to become a very relevant player in the enterprise space, and to work with users to help transform how systems and processes really are redefining business on all fronts: productivity, go-to-market activities and customer service.
"Both teams have worked really hard these past six months to drive this vision into a reality."
The foundation of the latest offering is Nortel's CS1000 PBX which, working with Microsoft servers, offers a converged solution for SMBs.
"During the second half of this year we'll be able to upgrade this with our new CS2000, CS2100 and CS2000," says Zafirovsky. "This will allow the same converged office capabilities for large enterprises."
The converged solution will help to empower enterprises by giving users access to powerful telephony wherever they are. It combines instant messaging, presence, business grade telephony, and Office and Exchange Server capabilities.
"It really lets you build on what you have today, a significant protection of your investment – and it's very easy to deploy," Zafirovsky adds. "It's one software upgrade with existing capabilities to allow for this to happen."
In addition, Zafirovsky announced two new solutions, which will be available later this year..
"The first will be integrating Microsoft new Exchange UM with our PBX solutions. We'll be using our native SIP interoperability to ensure the smooth inter-working of the two solutions. This will be available in the second quarter of this year," he says.
"The second will be integrated our powerful and simple Multimedia Conferencing solution with the Microsoft OCS, and this will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The result is going to be able to give you users a powerful, single experience for instant messaging, presence, and, of course, conferencing."