Specifically, Polycom will develop a broad base of hardware and software products for Microsoft Communications Server '14' and beyond, including:
- New Polycom CX series endpoints optimised for Microsoft UC, featuring Polycom's HD video and voice technologies;
- New room-based video systems designed specifically for enabling direct integration with Microsoft Communications Server '14';
- Additional interoperable solutions between Polycom's existing and future videoconferencing solutions
The two companies plan to conduct integrated marketing campaigns and to collaborate in the development and support of channel partners. Polycom will participate in multiple Microsoft Technology Centers around the globe: active demos are already available in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, London and Paris.
The agreement makes Polycom a member of Microsoft's key strategic global alliance for it unified communications business, and both companies say they will invest in product development, sales and marketing.
Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of unified communication at Microsoft, said: "Microsoft and Polycom are committed to a roadmap that will deliver interoperable UC solutions with choice and innovation in videoconferencing and customer devices that will help transform enterprise communications.
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Polycom has been seem as the last major videoconferencing systems provider still independent since Cisco announced last October plans to acquire Tandberg, removing it from the market as an acceptable partner for the video component of other vendors overall unified communications offerings.
Since then Polycom has announced a number of significant alliances: with Juniper Networks in January to improve the delivery of videoconferencing over carrier and enterprise networks, and with Siemens Enterprise Communications to integrate Polycom products with Siemens OpenScape UC environment.
Then in March Avaya and Polycom announced plans to jointly develop and market integrated, end-to-end unified communications systems that use the Avaya Aura SIP-based platform and the Polycom Open Collaboration Network strategy.
There has also been much speculation that Polycom too would be acquired. Avaya was strongly tipped to be planning to acquire Polycom last year, but it is generally believed that the plan was abandoned after Avaya spent $US0.9b (almost double its initial offer) on Nortel's enterprise telephony business.