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On March 10, IBM vowed to make a major push into UC, starting with its new Lotus Sametime Advanced software and going far beyond that into a three-year plan that will encompass acquisitions, internal development and new services.

IBM dangled figures from IDC that predict the market for UCC (unified communications and collaboration, which includes e-mail, instant messaging and voice-over-IP products) will rise above the $17 billion mark by 2011. But conspicuously absent from Monday’s news was any talk of catering to the midmarket or smaller enterprises.

Instead, Steve Mills, senior vice president of IBM’s software group, put the emphasis on the enterprise, saying IBM is the vendor to go to for "carrier-grade" UCC, meaning UCC that’s ubiquitous, highly reliable and can scale to thousands of seats.

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