Microsoft, Nortel Transform How People and Businesses Interact with New Joint Unified Communications Solutions

Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:26am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

 Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Nortel(1) (TSX: NT)(NYSE: NT) today
announced the availability of four new joint unified communications (UC)
solutions designed to transform how people around the world connect,
communicate and collaborate. The joint products include the Converged
Office unified communications suite, Multimedia Conferencing, and
solutions for branch offices and hosted service providers. Customer
adoption continues to accelerate with more than 600 wins for the
companies' unified communications products since the formation of the

    Research indicates that unified communications can improve business
productivity by up to 18 percent(3) with up to a 250 percent return on
investment.(4) With these new solutions, Nortel and Microsoft have now
delivered 10 solutions to market as part of their Innovative
Communications Alliance announced less than two years ago.

    "With the availability of these latest solutions, Nortel and Microsoft
have now delivered on the joint solutions that our two CEOs outlined in
January 2007," said Ruchi Prasad, vice president and general manager,
Innovative Communications Alliance, Nortel. "With these solutions,
enterprises can now choose to deploy unified communications via a
customer premise solution, managed service solution, or hybrid of the
two, helping accelerate the pace of unified communications adoption."

    "Customers and partners recognize the value of joint Microsoft and Nortel
solutions and we expect to continue driving the adoption of
software-based unified communications solutions in 2008," said Gurdeep
Singh Pall, corporate vice president, Unified Communications Group,
Microsoft. "In the coming year, we will extend the scope of our unified
communications collaboration to include areas such as Contact Center
integration and a mix of hybrid and fully hosted UC solutions."

    Gartner Inc, the world's leading information technology research and
advisory company, has positioned both Microsoft and Nortel in the Leaders
quadrant in the '2007 Unified Communications Magic Quadrant' report. To
view Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications, 2007(5) click

    New Solutions

    Enterprises can now choose from a broad portfolio of unified
communications software and supporting professional services that provide
the following competitive differentiators: a single user experience
through a common user interface; simplicity and cost-efficiency through a
common architecture; flexibility through the ability to implement either
on-premise, hosted, or hybrid solutions; and peace of mind through
carrier-grade reliability and the ability to support UC capabilities for
hundreds of thousands of users.

    Since the beginning of the year, Nortel and Microsoft have brought four
new unified communications solutions to market as a result of their close

    - Nortel Converged Office integrates the comprehensive voice
functionality of Nortel's Communication Server (CS) 1000 IP-PBX or CS
2100 IP-PBX with Microsoft(R) Office Communications Server 2007. CS 1000
is the world's first and only IP-PBX currently qualified by Microsoft's
Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program(2), providing
customers a seamless experience with setup, support, and use of Converged

    - UC Integrated Branch extends unified communications to branch office
and remote sites. It combines Office Communications Server 2007 mediation
server capabilities into the Nortel Secure Router 4134, while integrating
WAN routing, Ethernet switching, security and high quality VoIP
capabilities into a single cost-effective platform. SR 4134 has been
qualified by Microsoft's Unified Communications Open Interoperability
Program, providing customers a seamless experience with setup, support,
and use of the joint solution.

    - With the Nortel and Microsoft Carrier Hosted Unified Communications
Solution, service providers can offer hosted unified communications
solutions to SMBs and enterprises using Nortel's Communication Server
2000 softswitch with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and
Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging. The solution allows providers to
equip workers with instant messaging, VoIP, click-to-call, video
conferencing and other multimedia services through Microsoft Office
Communicator 2007(2).

    - Nortel Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 for Office Communications Server
2007 provides a reservationless audio conferencing solution that enhances
Office Communications Server 2007 conferencing with dial in audio bridge
capabilities, enabling external non Communications Server 2007 users to
dial into a conference.

    Through its extensive investment of resources in 2007, Nortel can now
provide a comprehensive portfolio of UC professional services that span
consulting, assessment and design, testing, deployment and support
services. This also includes new advanced services that enable the
integration of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007(2) with
existing business applications to create communications enabled business
processes. For instance, an employee receiving a customer call on his
Office Communicator client can be presented with the recent sales
activity from that customer.

    Global Customer Adoption

    With more than 600 wins for the joint solutions from Nortel and Microsoft
since the beginning of the alliance, customers are providing a strong
endorsement of the two companies' software-based approach to unified
communications. New joint customers announced today include Ringier AG,
Bosowa Corporation, FASA, KMITL and Sandler Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.

    Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. (ST&R(2)) is an international trade and
customs law firm concentrating on providing governments, manufacturers,
importers, exporters, retailers, and trade and logistics service
providers the information and support they require to meet the constantly
changing demands of global trade. The company, which is headquartered in
Miami, is deploying Office Communications Server 2007 and standardizing
on Nortel VoIP with CS 1000 in 11 offices across the U.S. ST&R is also
using Microsoft RoundTable to provide on-demand videoconferencing

    "Communications is one of our core competencies - if we aren't
effectively communicating with our clients and each other, we can't
operate as business," said Javier D Benvenuti, director of MIS, ST&R.
"Microsoft and Nortel's solution allowed us to address a multitude of
productivity and cost reduction requirements with one solution. We will
reduce costs by eliminating our third party conferencing service and most
long distance fees, and will be able to pass these savings on to our
clients. We have estimated a complete return on investment in 10 to 12

    The Road Ahead

    As the companies look ahead to the next phase of their alliance, they
plan to focus attention on delivering solutions which will include:

    - Fully Hosted Unified Communications provide the same user experience as
the on-premise Converged Office solution in a fully hosted environment
for all he UC workloads including voice, presence/IM, conferencing and
unified messaging.

    - Contact Center Integration: Integrating Nortel's industry-leading
Contact Center application with Office Communications Server to deliver
real time multi-modal capabilities enabling new customer touch points,
while leveraging rich presence and collaboration capabilities to improve
first call resolution and as a result improving the efficiency of
communications between agents, supervisors and subject matter experts.

    About Microsoft

    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize
their full potential.

    About Nortel

    Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities
that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our
customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider
and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical
applications. Nortel's technologies are designed to help eliminate
today's barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying
networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they
need it. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the
world. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at
For the latest Nortel news, visit

    Certain statements in this press release may contain words such as
"could", "expects", "may", "anticipates", "believes", "intends",
"estimates", "targets", "envisions", "seeks" and other similar language
and are considered forward-looking statements or information under
applicable securities legislation. These statements are based on Nortel's
current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the
operating environment, economies and markets in which Nortel operates.
These statements are subject to important assumptions, risks and
uncertainties, which are difficult to predict and the actual outcome may
be materially different from those contemplated in forward-looking
statements. For additional information with respect to certain of these
and other factors, see Nortel's Annual Report on Form10-K, Quarterly
Reports on Form 10-Q and other securities filings with the SEC. Unless
otherwise required by applicable securities laws, Nortel disclaims any
intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise.(1) Nortel, the Nortel logo and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel

    (2) This is a 3rd party link as described in our Web linking practices.

    Use of the terms "partner" and "partnership" does not imply a legal
partnership between Nortel and any other party.

    (3) 2007-2008 Mobile Unified Communications State-of-the-Market Report(2)
Dec 2007 by Peter Brockmann and Steven Taylor

    (4) Based on Unified Communications ROI Calculator developed on behalf of
Nortel with Nemertes Research

    (5) Garnter, Inc. "Magic Quadrant for Unifed Communications, 2007" by
Bern Elliott, August 20, 2007. The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted 2007 by
Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a
graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time
period. It depicts Gartner's analysis of how certain vendors measure
against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner
does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic
Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those
vendors placed in the "Leaders" quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended
solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to
action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with
respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or
fitness for a particular purpose.

    Innovative Communications Alliance Customer Support

    Ringier AG

    Celebrating its 175 year anniversary, Swiss-based media group Ringier
AG(2) has 7000 employees in 10 countries and publishes over 120
newspapers and magazines, produces around 20 TV stations and operates
over 50 websites and 11 printing works. After a detailed and successful
test phase where the integration between Microsoft Office Communications
Server 2007 and Nortel Communication Server 1000 has been tested, the
company plans to roll out Office Communications Server CS 1000 across as
many as seven locations in a phased deployment.

    "We are thrilled with the benefits that Microsoft and Nortel's unified
communications solution can bring to our hectic and dynamic media
business." said Hansjoerg Grolimund, project leader & head of operations
in Ringier. "The single desktop interface for audio and video, desktop
calling, presence and instant messaging provides real value to editors
and journalists to work more effectively from anywhere and keep in touch
with critical resources at all times. We are convinced that all our
employees would benefit from rolling out unified communications
throughout EMEA."

    Bosowa Corporation

    With 30 subsidiary companies and more than 5,000 employees across the
Indonesian Archipelago, Bosowa Corporation(2) needed to find a way to
bring their employees closer together even when they were spread across
many locations. To do this, Bosowa is deploying a unified communications
solution integrating Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and
Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging with Nortel CS 1000.

    "We believe using unified communications from Microsoft and Nortel
provides a compelling glimpse into the future of collaboration,
coordination and communication working environments that can bring
Bosowa's employees closer together and change the culture of how they
communicate," said Sadikin Aksa, chief financial officer, Bosowa
Corporation. "With this unified communications solution, we can
capitalize on our existing IT investment and realize the benefits of
streamlined communications, greater operational efficiency, and a
future-ready IT foundation."

    FASA (Farmacias Ahumada S.A.)

    Based in Chile, FASA(2) (Farmacias Ahumada S.A.) is one of the largest
pharmaceutical companies in South America with almost 1,000 retail
pharmacies across the region.

    "We are constantly looking to position ourselves as cutting edge in our
market. Offering quality service in a globalized market, it is necessary
to maintain the levels of efficiency and quality that have always
characterized our business," said Eduardo Veliz, engineering director for
FASA (Farmacias Ahumada S.A. Chile). "When we decided to incorporate
Nortel and Microsoft's technology, we didn't do it solely on the
solutions we were acquiring, but on the impact that a unified
communications solution would have on our processes and results, while
helping us to maintain our high standards for efficiency."

    King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL)

    As one of the largest and most prestigious universities in science and
technology in Thailand, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
(KMITL(2)) accommodates more than 18,000 undergraduate and postgraduate
students across two separate campuses. KMITL is focused on providing
quality education and research to advance Thailand's development in
science and technology.

    "We needed a better way to help our students learn and connect to our
staff and available resources," said professor Akharin Khunkitti, Faculty
of Information Technology, KMITL. "Using a Nortel and Microsoft unified
communications solution that was integrated by 3DNetworks has transformed
the way we communicate and connect with our students. It allows better
collaboration between the students and professors and improves the
efficiency of our e-learning and teleconferences program. Students are
able to gain real-time access to lectures and research databases as well
as applying practical usage of technology as part of their learning path,
a true learning environment that equips students to work in the real

Bo Gowan
(214) 334-2474

Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft
Sarah Warrick
(425) 638-7000

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