Nortel and Microsoft CEOs Outline Transformation of Business Communications

NEW YORK — Jan. 17, 2007 — Today, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer and Nortel* CEO and President Mike Zafirovski announced a joint road map to deliver their shared vision for unified communications. The road map is the result of an alliance between Microsoft and Nortel announced in July 2006, and includes three new joint solutions to dramatically improve business communications by breaking down the barriers between voice, e-mail, instant messaging, multimedia conferencing and other forms of communication.

Nortel CEO and President Mike Zafirovski (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) discussing the companies’ shared vision for unified communications. New York, NY. Jan. 17, 2007

Speaking at an event at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center to more than 100 customers along with reporters and analysts, Ballmer and Zafirovski outlined how companies can improve employee productivity and effectiveness and reduce the costs and complexity of communications. They also announced 11 new implementation services from Nortel and the opening of more than 20 joint demonstration centers where customers can experience the technology firsthand.

In just six months since the alliance was formed, the two companies have signed agreements with dozens of customers, and have developed a pipeline of hundreds of prospects who want to realize the benefits of unified communications.

“We are executing forcefully on the vision of this alliance and have made tremendous progress,” Zafirovski said. “We completed the planning stages and are now delivering unified communications solutions to businesses around the world. Our goal is to close the gap between the devices we use to communicate and the business applications we use to run our businesses, giving employees the power to use information more quickly and effectively.”

“The average employee gets more than 50 messages every day1 on up to seven different devices or applications,” Ballmer added. “Software can and will help address the ongoing challenge of managing communications and this challenge is the driving idea behind our alliance with Nortel. Together, we will evolve VoIP and unified communications to integrate all the ways we contact each other in a simple environment, using a single identity across phones, PCs and other devices.”

New Solutions to Improve Communications and Collaboration

Microsoft and Nortel formed the Innovative Communications Alliance to help companies transform business communications by speeding up the transition to voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) and unified communications. Delivering on the vision they outlined in July, Microsoft and Nortel today introduced three new solutions:

  • UC Integrated Branch. This new product from the alliance will incorporate Nortel and Microsoft® technology on a single piece of hardware that delivers cost-effective, high-quality and easy-to-deploy VoIP and unified communications in remote offices. The UC Integrated Branch is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007.

  • Unified Messaging. To simplify customer deployments, native session initiation protocol (SIP) interoperability between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging is planned to be available in the second quarter of 2007. The solution includes Nortel professional services for design, deployment and support.

  • Conferencing. This new solution will extend the rich feature set of Nortel Multimedia Conferencing to Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, delivering a single, familiar client experience consistent across applications such as voice, instant messaging, presence, and audio- and videoconferencing. The on-premise solution is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007.

In 2007, the companies also plan to extend their current unified communications solution — a unified desktop and soft phone for VoIP, e-mail, instant messaging and presence — to the Nortel Communication Server 2100, a carrier-grade enterprise telephony product supporting up to 200,000 users on a single system.

In addition, Nortel and Microsoft presented a road map for 2008 and beyond for moving business communications onto a software platform designed to drive a higher-quality user experience and reduce total cost of ownership. The road map outlines several key applications and technology developments including a unified communications contact center, Nortel feature server, expanded hosted UC solutions, mobility and client solutions, and application-aware networking enhancements.

“Innovative communications and collaboration technologies are critical to fully enabling Royal Dutch Shell’s global work force, and key to operating at top quartile in our industry. We believe in and support the vision Nortel and Microsoft have outlined,” said Johan Krebbers, group IT architect at Royal Dutch Shell, who joined Ballmer and Zafirovski onstage for today’s event. “Over the next several years, we plan to migrate our network to a software-based communications system built on technologies represented by the Nortel and Microsoft alliance.”

Experiencing VoIP and Unified Communications Solutions

The companies announced that they have equipped more than 20 joint demonstration centers in North America, Europe and Asia, with more than 100 additional centers scheduled to open by midyear.

In a related announcement, Nortel added 11 core integration services to help customers build, deploy and support joint unified communications solutions, including end-to-end project management. Nortel already has more than 2,200 VoIP experts to deliver these services and will add more as deployment ramps up. This group is supported by the 10,000-strong Nortel global services team and a large ecosystem of services partners.

About Nortel

Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that enhance the human experience, ignite and power global commerce, and secure and protect the world’s most critical information. Our next-generation technologies, for both service providers and enterprises, span access and core networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications, and help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people with information. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries.

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.

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Innovative Communications Alliance Customer Support


BT Global Services is the division of BT Group that provides networked IT services worldwide that enable multinational, multisite enterprises to thrive and grow in the digital networked economy

“The Nortel and Microsoft alliance has the potential to accelerate and simplify the realization of unified communications for a significant part of our customer base. BT leads by example, and we are already using Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging with our Nortel telephony system. From this experience and from our position as a leading supplier of networked IT services, we believe that the native, standards-based SIP interoperability that Microsoft and Nortel announced today should simplify deployments and reduce total cost of ownership.”

  • Tom Craig
    President, IP Networking
    BT Global Services


With operations in 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the financial centers of New York and London, CLSA is one of the leading financial powerhouses worldwide. Hong Kong-based CLSA is an award-winning firm that provides services in brokerage, investment banking and private equity.

“We had to connect our regional offices and headquarters, with more than 1,000 employees, with a system that enhanced our ability to execute trades and provide reporting data. The Innovative Communications Alliance is delivering a unified communications system that brings the power of Nortel’s IP telephony together with the collaboration of Microsoft Office Live Communications Server to provide a solution superior to anything on the market. It will allow us to meet the needs of our customers, meet our regulatory requirements across many countries and simplify communications for our employees. Because the Innovative Communications Alliance allows us to leverage our existing infrastructure, it is the most cost-effective solution available.”

  • T. Rajah
    Chief Information Officer

Fred Weber Inc.

Fred Weber Inc. is the St. Louis area’s leader in heavy and highway construction. Based in Maryland Heights, Mo., this $300 million-a-year, employee-owned business specializes in full-service concrete and asphalt paving projects and is the region’s largest materials supplier. The company’s work philosophies today are the same as those of founder Fred Weber 78 years ago. Of these, “The need to continually think and change business practices to better serve clients” led Fred Weber Inc. to leverage the Nortel and Microsoft relationship.

“At Fred Weber, our needs are different than other companies. Our business exists beyond four walls and a traditional office complex. This creates a critical need for effective and reliable integrated communications. Orchestrating 1,200 employees across our 25 construction and materials locations as well as our various subsidiary companies can be a logistical nightmare. The Innovative Communications Alliance solution provided by Nortel and Microsoft helps solve this problem, and allows us to spend more time with our customers and respond in real time to their needs.”

  • Phillip Hagemann
    Chief Information Officer
    Fred Weber Inc.

International SOS

International SOS is the world’s leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare and security services. With operations in 65 countries and a 4,500-strong work force, International SOS helps companies and organizations manage the health and security risks their travelers, expatriates and global work force face.

“Providing high-quality services to our customers globally requires effective communication internally and externally. Engaging Nortel and Microsoft’s Innovative Communications Alliance relationship gives us the opportunity to implement a blended technology solution that allows us to enhance our core business of providing healthcare and security services around the world.”

  • Todd Schofield
    Chief Technology Officer
    International SOS

Thomas College

Thomas College, a private college in Waterville, Maine, is dedicated to career training with a tradition of educating students in business, technology and education. With more than 950 undergraduate and graduate students, and a faculty of 66, Thomas is adopting cutting-edge Microsoft and Nortel information technology under the aegis of the Innovative Communications Alliance.

“While we are a small college, we have the goal of implementing unified communications capabilities to serve our students and faculty on par with universities that have higher enrollments and larger budgets. We have used the Nortel telephony infrastructure for two decades and are now using Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, so the Innovative Communications Alliance unified communications suite is a natural extension. The plan is to deploy the Innovative Communications Alliance solution to integrate communications, enhance online coursework, and provide a custom, campuswide instant messaging capability and a collaborative electronic blackboard capability. The net result is that we are a 113-year-old institution that is preparing our students for success in their personal and professional lives, and for leadership and service in their communities.”

  • Chris Rhoda
    Vice President of Information Services
    Thomas College

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