Google opens new battlefront: Should Microsoft bundle OCS with Exchange & BPOS?

To PBX manufacturers and Telcos this represents a serious threat- why would you kit out your company with phone lines and extensions when you can have this for free on your PC? Or if you're not at your PC, have your calls follow you on your mobile phone. That's a serious amount of cost reduction- especially when you add in free in country calls and low cost foreign calls, and an improvement in functionality.

Last month, Google announced the integration of Google Voice into Gmail. Gmail users can now make calls right from within their email.

Google Voice in Gmail

Many analysts are citing this as a direct attack on Skype- but I think they're wrong- I think it's a direct attack on Microsoft, Telcos and PBX manufacturers. Skype has had similar functionality for a number of years, but it's business adoption isn't large enough for this to be an attack IMHO. Yes you can now call from your PC, but phones have long been the bane of businesses- especially smaller ones. They're expensive and never function as you would really like them to. And although this is currently on Gmail only and not available today for businesses on Apps- it's coming soon.

When it becomes available on Apps to businesses, it's going to make a very compelling ROI case to use Apps.

Microsoft has had similar functionality available in Office Communication Server (OCS), but it's been a separately installed and licensed application. To respond- I think Microsoft needs to put a more compelling value proposition around OCS- should they bundle it free with Exchange and BPOS? What about bundling free calls?

This is classic disruptive innovation- create a product that's good enough for a small segment of the market and grow that into the mainstream. Google will soon be putting within reach of businesses a very powerful unified communications tool- and Microsoft needs to respond.