Microsoft and Nortel held a “virtual press conference” today (didn’t we used to call those conference calls?) to announce a new partnership to develop unified communications systems (read IP PBXs). Both company’s CEOs were on the call, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Nortel’s Mike Zafirovski, to promote their shared vision for future business communications, and they seem to be uninterested in any consumer plays in this space.
Tom Keating has posted a good summary of the call and analysis of the partnership, explaining that they hope to “combine Nortel’s network quality and reliability with Microsoft software’s ease of use and to accelerate the availability of unified communications.” And to make more than a billion in revenue over the next 4 years by doing that.
Beleaguered Nortel has far more troubles than even Microsoft and its EU fine-I spoke with Mike Zafirovski earlier this year and he described his mental state as “forceful optimism.” Nortel’s stock is just above $2 today, but rose in recent trading this morning. Nortel will likely benefit from the team, as the company needs more business software deals. But we’ll just have to wait and see how much of an upside Microsoft will get.
Katie also takes a little jab at the ugly PR-speak in the joint press release, which I have to completely agree with. Let’s just start with the headline: “Nortel and Microsoft Form Strategic Alliance to Accelerate Transformation of Business Communications”. Ugh. Wake me when there’s a product.