Microsoft to Halt Response Point Offering

Microsoft reportedly is scaling back its Response Point small business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and unified communications solution, citing a lack of synergy with the company’s larger unified communications strategies.

The advanced application, which was geared toward small businesses, included Microsoft’s voice recognition software, unified messaging that linked voicemail and email, Microsoft Outlook integration, auto attendant, telepresence, multiparty calling, call forwarding, and more.

Microsoft first rolled out the solution in 2007, and was supposed to be releasing an enhanced version later this year. Microsoft internal blog posts as recent as late June had the company looking at “the next version” of Response Point to “ensure it addresses the needs of small businesses.”

With the latest news, though, it would seem the company has now reversed those plans. But, according to a blog post on a Microsoft-run Response Point Web site, the company plans to continue supporting the current version so that current customers—mostly small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and limited IT resources—would not be impacted.

“We will continue to support current [manufacturers], service providers, and resellers that are selling Response Point v1.0. We will also continue to promote the product and our partners on-line,” the blog post said. “We believe there is a plenty of room for delivering breakthrough products in the communication space and will continue to investigate the opportunity in the small business segment.”

Though it was unclear at the time, Microsoft in May started laying off or reassigning several key figures in the Response Point Team, and then late last month, the team’s leader, Xuedong David Huang, announced that he would be leaving the unit to take a new job in Microsoft’s Online Services Division to help new mobile search and advertising efforts.

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