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The Gold-Laying UC Egg

You've probably heard Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., and others making a lot of noise, recently, about unified communications (UC).

There's a reason for that, experts say: There are profits to be had in UC. The market itself grew by 20 percent in both 2007 and 2006, according to market-watcher Infonetics Research.

On a related note, the IP contact center (IPCC) segment also surged in both years, growing by an average of 25 percent in 2006 and 2007. Predictable expansion of this kind is a gold-laying-goose that Cisco, Microsoft and others just can't ignore.

What's more, according to Infonetics, UC and IPCC sales eclipsed the $1.05 billion mark in 2007, with "healthy growth" projected through at least 2011.

"As a key component of unified communications, sales of communicator software clients are taking off. The Nortel/Microsoft alliance drove growth in 2007, and Microsoft captured close to half the communicator market," said Matthias Machowinski, Infonetics Research's directing analyst for enterprise voice and data, in a statement. "Market share will likely bounce around in the coming years, as vendors from different backgrounds try to establish themselves as the leader in the nascent UC market and promote their offerings aggressively."

Infonetics' research paints a picture of an UC and IPCC free-for-all. Microsoft, for example, recently unveiled its own UC entries -- and promptly catapulted to first place in communicator revenue market share last year.

Unified messaging, meanwhile, is a more stolid segment: It accounts for the bulk of the UC market entire and, at this point, it's led by Avaya, which accounts for about one-third of unified messaging revenues.

Avaya is flat-out dominant in the IPCC market, where it accounts for more than half of worldwide revenues, according to Infonetics; Cisco is second in this segment, the market watcher said.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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