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Microsoft Kills Response Point
Response Point is Dead, Long Live OCS

By Alex Lewis / Network World
July 8, 2009

The sharks have been circling for awhile and now it looks like it's official. Response Point, Microsoft's SMB VoIP platform, is dead. Earlier this summer Microsoft announced its first substantial layoffs in memory and with it purged most of the Response Point team.

Current customers have been eagerly awaiting a new version of Response Point, something they've been promised for well over a year now. You see, Response Point is like a lot of Microsoft 1.0 products. It had a lot of bugs but the promise of a bright future. Now, unfortunately, that future will never be realized. And current customers will be stuck with a poorly supported, buggy VoIP platform. The VAR Guy compares it to IBM's OS/2.

Most SMBs choose "simple" products because they don't have dedicated IT resources nor the time to build expert-level knowledge on their own. Companies like Evangelyze built their reputation on being able to make Response Point work well and keep it working for a number of SMB customers. Unfortunately RP never was much of a do-it-yourself type platform.

So, where does this leave current Response Point customers? Well, it's not like Microsoft doesn't have a credible VoIP platform. Microsoft has been ramping up OCS, Office Communications Server, over the last 2 years and it's now a common name in most companies. Right now it's targeted at the mid-market and small enterprise, 500-2500 users with hopes to jump into many larger accounts soon. However I've done plenty of small OCS implementations as well. It's outstanding as a pbx-replacement for 25-100 users (and larger). It can be done in just a few servers and be basically zero-touch day-to-day.

With the death of Response Point Microsoft will need to start directing customers to OCS. And, it will need a lot of help from SI's and VARs. SMBs will also need to get over the intimidation of deploying a true enterprise platform with little to no in-house support.

Thanks to Dave Michels for breaking this news on Twitter.