Verizon Business, Microsoft Partner on Cloud-based Online Services

By Nathan Eddy

Verizon Business and technology giant Microsoft Corp. announced they are jointly delivering Verizon unified communications (UC) and collaboration capabilities with Microsoft Online Services, a cloud-based platform designed specifically for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs). The platform combines Verizon voice, Internet, security, mobility and backup services with a host of Microsoft capabilities that can be packaged together and delivered via the cloud.

The combined solution suite features Microsoft applications such as Exchange Online for advanced messaging capabilities, including shared calendaring and contacts; up-to-date anti-spam and antivirus, access to Microsoft Outlook via a PC or a Web browser and support for mobile devices including Google Android and Research in Motion BlackBerry devices.

Also included is SharePoint Online, a single location for document sharing and collaboration, featuring collaboration sites for teams, meetings and documents, access to Outlook, forms, and workflow and portal sites and content management and search. Office Live Meeting enables online meetings, presentations and training sessions, featuring desktop sharing and whiteboard tools, rich media, hi-fi recording, live Web cam video, multiparty video, VOIP/audio and Web client support for remote attendees.

"This new solution can be a catalyst for more efficient, automated and interoperable business processes for our small- and medium-sized-business customers," said Carrie Gray, executive director of solutions marketing for Verizon Business. "Together with Microsoft, we're delivering a simple, cost-effective opportunity for businesses to adopt cloud-based messaging and UC&C capabilities and improve their business performance.  This solution is ideal for companies with limited resources to take advantage of these advanced communications capabilities, which are becoming a business essential." 

In addition, the suite includes Office Communications Online (OCO), which enables business-class instant messaging and chat among users, featuring seamless presence awareness, one-to-one video, and voice and integration across Microsoft Outlook calendar and contacts and other applications. Verizon will offer Lync Online, announced Wednesday, as it becomes available in 2011. Since Verizon UC&C with Microsoft Online Services is a hosted solution, customers pay a subscription fee for each user, and then single-price subscription and features are billed monthly for each worker.

"Microsoft Online Services delivers the most popular productivity applications in the cloud and offers the same world-class services to small and medium businesses that are available to larger businesses," said David Scult, general manager of Online Services at Microsoft. "Verizon is a key strategic partner for us to bring these capabilities to small and mid-sized businesses in the United States today and will be a launch partner for Office 365."

This article was originally published on 2010-11-18