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Skype, SIPfoundry announce interoperability

Following on the heels of a similar interoperability announcement we reported on last week, Skype and SIPfoundry have announced that sipXecs has been certified as interoperable with Skype for Session Initiation Protocol. As was the case with ShoreTel, SIPfoundry is using a beta version of the Skype software. SIPfoundry is a nonprofit open source community, and the sipXecs IP PBX is free and can be downloaded by anyone.

Nonprofit users such as universities have taken advantage of the free software, as have Pingtel, OnRelay and Nortel, which have used the open source sipXecs for commercial purposes. Dell, IBM and other distribution partners also provide commercial support. Skype for SIP is interoperable with Nortel's Software Communication System.

Speaking of Nortel, in other news last week the company announced that Avaya has won the bid to acquire Nortel's Enterprise Solutions Business, Nortel Government Solutions and DiamondWare — subject to customary legal and regulatory approvals. In exchange, Avaya will pay Nortel $900 million in cash with another $15 million reserved for an employee retention program.

Our observations on the Nortel acquisition: While Avaya paid more than originally expected in a competitive bidding process, Avaya can now become a more effective competitor facing Microsoft, Cisco and others in the battle for UC customers because Nortel has had such a large embedded base.

Avaya's success will also depend on treating that customer base very well with continued support for Nortel products (in the near term) and a graceful migration to a rational product set (in the long term). Avaya and Nortel had also both had a successful history of professional services support — another key factor that we believe must be fully maintained if Avaya wants to keep the Nortel customer base happy. But al-in-all, we think most of Nortel's existing customers are breathing a sigh of relief that the sad tale of Nortel's woes just might have a happy ending with Avaya as the long-term Nortel successor.

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