Microsoft and Vodafone have announced an agreement under which Vodafone will offer businesses a single communications and collaboration solution composed of fixed and mobile voice and data, customer equipment and handsets, and Microsoft Online Services.
Hosted by Microsoft and available through Vodafone in this offering, Microsoft Online Services deliver enterprise-class communications and collaboration software as subscription services to businesses of all sizes.
Online applications include Microsoft Exchange Online for e-mail and calendars through the PC, phone and browser, SharePoint Online for portals, collaboration, search and customised team sites, Office Communications Online for instant messaging and presence and Office Live Meeting for webconferencing and videoconferencing.
Microsoft Online Services are available today in the United States and will be available in other markets in the first half of 2009. Vodafone will initially offer the combined solution in Germany and Spain beginning later in 2009. Following the German and Spanish launches, Vodafone will offer the solution in additional markets.
“The demands on our customers are changing dramatically in today’s complex business and economic environment,” said Tom Craig, Global Business Services Director, Vodafone Group.
“By combining Vodafone’s fixed and mobile communication services with Microsoft Online Services we can provide all the elements of a fully hosted communications solution, delivering the real benefits of agility, flexibility, productivity and choice that our customers are demanding.”
With the Microsoft and Vodafone offering, business customers will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Online Services and Vodafone’s voice and data services in one easy-to-manage solution. The fully hosted Vodafone and Microsoft services will help reduce routine maintenance and management tasks, allowing IT staff to concentrate on more business-critical objectives.
Customers will be able to take advantage of the range of services offered, with one bill and one provider, making the experience fast, easy and effective.
Vodafone will support the customer directly, while Microsoft will host Microsoft Online Services in its datacenters.
“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in our partnership with Vodafone,” said Martha Béjar, corporate vice president of the Communications Sector at Microsoft. “Through our work with Vodafone, we’re aiming to provide solutions for a growing number of businesses that are looking for new ways to control costs and do more with less, without impacting the productivity of their people, their most valuable asset.”
Microsoft and Vodafone intend to continue to grow the partnership through future collaboration and development that will yield business solutions and capabilities that integrate Vodafone Voice Services and Virtual PBX, which will ultimately provide a fully converged fixed and mobile communications solution for businesses.