Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration v3.5

Microsoft recently announced Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (HMC) Version 3.5. Key new features:

  • Mobile, push messaging support.
  • Easier deployment by service providers.

Many service providers would like to offer a hosted version of Exchange and Microsoft's other collaboration tools. That bodes well for HMC.

What bothers us about HMC is this:

  • Its core is Exchange Server, SharePoint, and Live Communications Server. It uses the standard off-the-shelf code.
  • Service providers need special capabilities, such as the ability for end customers to provision their own users, high scalability (millions of users per logical server), and integration with the service provider's billing and provisioning systems.
  • In our experience, such facilities have to be considered, and built into, the architecture of a product. In the case of HMC, Microsoft is gradually trying to add such features onto products that weren't designed for service providers.

It would be a good thing for SMEs if HMC were successful. And it may be true that no telco staff has ever been fired for buying Microsoft, at least for the last 10 years.

Nevertheless, those evaluating the software would do well to exercise caution. Microsoft's last messaging offering for service providers went the way of all flesh, rather prematurely.

... David Ferris

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