Microsoft “secret” Telecom Product Group

Microsoft has not had a lot of success in the telecom world in the past. It is now building a new group in Israel which aims to change that. They are recruiting some of the top telecom\communications experts from companies like Comverse, Amdocs, Juniper, Check Point, Verint and Nice. It seems they already have around 100 employees with ambition to grow much bigger. Rumors claim Microsoft is building a new building in Herzelia just for this group.

Although it is quite public ,  there does not seem to be a lot of web reference to this activity or its exact purpose.

Sample quotes:

The Microsoft ILDC (Israeli Development Center) Telecom team is paving the way for mobile operators to offer the next generation of innovative services. Services that will reshape the way we communicate and interact with our family, friends and co-workers. We have a great vision, powerful technology, a world-class team, and an aggressive schedule to get the first version shipped.

Our product provides solutions mobile operator’ communication services enabling seamless inter-working across different networks such as fixed & mobile legacy , as well as future IP & IMS. This is a carrier-grade solution, designed for mobile operators, with 24/7, 99.999% reliability requirements, huge scale (100s of millions of concurrent users) and performance requirements.

The Microsoft optimistic view is:

Microsoft grabs the brightest people from the legacy telecom software players. They are tired of Cobol, RMS, HPUX, Solaris and organizations which block innovation. These companies are full of politics and competing SMS\WAP\CRM\Unified projects. These experts build a new, modern, C#, .Net, Internet like architecture which revolutionizes the entire industry. With tons of money and a powerful ecosystem Microsoft is going to win this one as well. It will do it with cheap solutions that provide ten times the benefit. The big operators of the world would be glad to stop paying millions of dollars to their current suppliers.

The Microsoft pessimistic view is:

Microsoft is going to fail again like it did in the past. Its whole culture and process are not geared towards the telecom world. The telecom world is conservative, values the operator control and hates passing the value to someone else. Why would an operator switch to Microsoft when it is actually competing with them as one of the biggest content provider in the world?

No one is going to replace an excellent operational billing system with a new, unproven, ASP.NET based solution.  If anything, Microsoft should base its new offering on Linux.

Small disclaimer:

This is not really my exact domain of expertise, so take it for what it’s worth. Seems it would be interesting to watch how it turns out.

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