This week saw the HP announcing the closure of future development on their IP telephony product, the VCX. Although not entirely unexpected, but it’s somewhat unusual since HP has pledged to continue with just about every other product acquired as part of the 3Com purchase. Further HP has been pledging to the reseller base to maintain the product over time but has now decided to discontinue any future development.
By “future development” they mean that there will be no more research and development or features added but the existing product will be maintained extensively as this : Setting the record straight on VCX, VoIP and UC& . If you take the view that the current product is feature complete and needs no further enhancements then this might be worthwhile but it seems clear that the long-term future of the product is over.
What does this mean for IP telephony?
In short this leaves the IP telephony/unified communications market to Cisco and Microsoft to duke it out for competitive placement. Let’s forget about minor players such as Avaya, Mitel blah blah blah blah, since their market penetration is limited to specific niches.
The Microsoft Unified Comms product is vitally important to Hewlett-Packard since they already have extensive partnerships with Microsoft to sell the product. There have been several announcements over the last year or so that are clearly alignments between HP and Microsoft in terms of IP Telephony/Unified Comms and in the end the bigger partnership seems to have become dominant.
Impact on strategy?
The VCX products were clearly targeted at SME markets which is not a market that HP traditionally is attacking. HP partners and resellers may well be disappointed about the loss of this product providing a rounded out portfolio, but it does look like a legacy PBX play and does not offer a long-term future in terms of presents telephony video and so forth.
The EtherealMind view
While it’s disappointing for HP resellers who feel the product should have a future frankly it doesn’t and you need to think bigger about the impact of software driven voice as well as the impact of mobile telephony to see that it never had a future. What’s far more interesting is that HP has chosen to align with Microsoft and clearly outline a competitive stance to Cisco in the unified comms space. Given that many companies are looking for a full spectrum solution to include voice technologies, then this makes considerable sense. It also confirms the competitive landscape between HP and Cisco is head-to-head.
By choosing to partner with Microsoft, this may also lead to further partnerships that include technology such as Hyper–V to directly oppose Cisco and VMware positioning. Although Cisco continues to protest its vendor independence it is also clear their primary partnership is with VMware and this includes a 5% financial stake.
The competitive landscape between Cisco and HP is clearer with this announcement.