Telstra to sell Microsoft products

Telstra and Microsoft today announced a strategic alliance that will bring together the companies’ business software applications, mobile services and devices and integrated computer and telephone services over Telstra’s Next IP and Next G networks.

Telstra and Microsoft today announced a strategic alliance that will bring together the companies’ business software applications, mobile services and devices and integrated computer and telephone services over Telstra’s Next IP and Next G networks.

Telstra group managing director of product management, Holly Kramer, says the alliance will combine telephony, email, mobility, conferencing, collaboration and tools, and the first products will be introduced into the market by mid 2009.

“Our customers are seeing convergence between networks and applications and between fixed and mobile services. We are turning this convergence into meaningful products,” she says.

The alliance also intends to provide small and medium businesses with access to products and services that were formerly only available to larger companies, says Tracey Fellows, Microsoft Australia’s managing director.

Fellows says the alliance will also benefit thousands of Australian IT businesses, consultants and partners who resell or distribute Microsoft and Telstra products.

It is proposed that services under the alliance will include:

  • Hosted business applications: Through Telstra’s T Suite portal, businesses would be able to access Microsoft business software hosted by Microsoft in the cloud and delivered as a subscription service.
  • Mobile services and devices: An all-in-one mobile email, calendar, contacts, web browser, business software and phone solution including security features, automatic software upgrades, support and data plan.
  • Unified communications: Integrating Telstra’s hosted IP telephony service (TIPT) with Microsoft Office applications.

SmartCompany blogger and PC Rescue principal Paul Wallbank says the alliance may encounter some problems. He points out that the market share of Windows mobile has been in decline since the launch of the popular iPhone. “There is no iPhone support and apparently they have no intention of providing any as there is only support for phones running on Windows mobile,” he says.

Another weakness is there is no support for office applications such as PowerPoint or Excel, which puts it as a major disadvantage to Google Apps.

While Microsoft dominates the SME marketplace in software, it is looking at Telstra to reach the many SMEs that it does not deal with directly.

But Wallbank predicts that Telstra will have trouble selling these web applications through the Telstra network and shops. “Mobile phone people don’t care or understand about web services. It is a different selling model,” he says.

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