Microsoft today announced that it enlisted the help of communication technology powerhouse Nortel to drive its "unified" communications platform forward. According to the announcement, Microsoft will take advantage of Nortel's influence in corporate communication and network infrastructure technologies and promote the firm's technologies, while Nortel will be using Microsoft's software to deploy new communication systems that are software-based at their core.
Microsoft envisions that a unified communications approach will enable users to be reachable by e-mail, voice mail, VoIP voice calling, instant messaging and video on multiple devices and through a single identity. According to Microsoft, the transition from traditional business phone systems to software will allow customers to reduce the total cost of ownership of such solutions.
As part of the four-year-agreement, the two companies said they will cross-license intellectual property and build a joint channel "ecosystem" using both companies' systems integrator, reseller, and service provider relationships.