Microsoft Advances Into Small-Business VoIP Market

With a focus to become a more prominent player in the small business VoIP market, Microsoft plans to release a powerful service pack to dramatically improve its Response Point software. Available this summer, the free service pack update will offer far more VoIP capabilities to current and future users than the system currently does. The software giant hopes the more sophisticated features will offer a compelling new reason to pick or stick with their phone system technology. Response Point is designed to give small businesses a more robust, yet easy to manage, voice-driven phone system. Users can manage the system through administrative software to add, change or move phones with the click of a mouse. Many features are built in such as voicemail and Microsoft claims the system is so easy to use that no special phone training or networking expertise is necessary. The service pack update, Response Point SP1, will offer the ability to compliment traditional phone service with VoIP. Microsoft says small businesses will be able to scale their telephony operations faster and more cost-effectively than with traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) lines. Using the new VoIP setup wizard customers will will be able to acquire additional phone numbers in minutes versus days or weeks. Another new feature with Response Point SP1 will be DID (Direct Inward Dialing) which will give users the ability to forward calls to particular phone extensions in house. As Microsoft strategizes and moves to position itself as a major telecom player, expect the company to partner with and invest in companies that can deliver a broad range of IP small business communication services. For now the service pack is free to existing customers, but in the grand scheme of things, this could be where the software giant captures the attention of other prominent small business VoIP providers.