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Nortel and Microsoft ICA offerings announced

Coming on the heels of five new commercial offerings introduced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for the Nortel and Microsoft Innovative Communications Alliance, Nortel also announced last week that it had entered into a “stalking horse” asset and share sale agreement with Avaya with plans to sell “substantially all of the assets of the Enterprise Solutions business globally as well as the shares of Nortel Government Solutions Inc. and DiamondWare, Ltd.”

The commercial offerings announced as part of the Nortel and Microsoft ICA demonstrate both companies' commitment to a continued relationship and are “designed to accelerate deployment and simplify the transition to unified communications UC.”

The new solution bundles include:

* SIP Contact Center 7.0 + Microsoft Office Communications Server, which brings unified communications(UC) into the contact center by integrating OCS2007 presence capability.

* Web Services, which enables UC capabilities with presence and click-to-call into other business applications and processes for the 100 to 500 seat business.

* Enterprise Lighthouse, which includes deployment services to enable UC integration, including Office Communications Server Voice and Conferencing and Microsoft Exchange Voicemail for 2000-plus user deployments.

* Enterprise Mini Lighthouse, which is service for deployments starting at 250 users.

* UC Conferencing:, which is designed for very large-scale conferencing capabilities (minimum 500 users) with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2.

Commenting on Avaya's agreement to buy Nortel's Enterprise Solutions Business, Avaya President and CEO Kevin Kennedy said: “This is a strategic opportunity to acquire talent and complementary assets that position the combined company for growth and success. We are committed to protecting the communications investments of the customers of Avaya and Nortel, and to effectively executing the integration of Nortel Enterprise Solutions and Avaya.”

The acquisition is subject to a competitive bidding process and approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice along with customary conditions and regulatory approvals.

Our observations: While we've been sad about the turn of events that put Nortel into bankruptcy, we're encouraged about the prospects for Nortel's customers stemming from ICA news and about the potential Avaya acquisition. We’ve seen some great talent on the Nortel team and some industry-leading VoIP and UC features come Nortel's Enterprise team over the years, so we're glad to see both the feature development and customer support continue for what we hope is a long and prosperous future.

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