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Microsoft Makes VoIP Phone Push

Microsoft this week detailed a new small-business VoIP phone system, code-named Response Point, plus vendor partners to deliver the systems.

The fact that Microsoft is partnering with handset vendors for its small-business solution is fairly interesting. I would have figured that Microsoft would have gone with a softphone solution (a la Office Communications Server). Perhaps Microsoft felt that going with handsets would provide a better user experience. Interestingly, voice-assessment company Psytechnics did a comparative study between a beta of Microsoft's Office Communications Server and "prototype USB handsets," and Cisco's CallManager 5.0 and 7961 IP phones. Psytechnics found that "Overall, the one-way listening speech quality provided by the combination of Microsoft's client and a USB handset was consistently better than that provided by Cisco's IP phones and CallManager, whether using G.711 or G.729." I, for one, was surprised.

Sean Ginevan
NWC Contributing Editor

Response Point, now in beta testing and shipping later this year, supports both VoIP and conventional POTS service, and includes a voice-activated interface. Three vendors are developing phones based on Response Point specs: D-Link DVX-2000, Quanta Syspine and Uniden Evolo.

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