Microsoft has set its sights on yet another industry space, preparing a telecommunications platform and product strategy that leans heavily on Windows NT Server and BackOffice.
The main thrust of Microsoft's telecommunications push is to make NT a platform for Signaling System 7 (SS7) networks, thanks to the work the company has done with a "leading international supplier of telecommunications software" that officials would not identify. SS7, developed by Bellcore, is the operating system platform telephone carriers use to run the public switched telephone network.
Microsoft tried to answer critics who do not consider Windows NT an equal to Unix as a reliable operating system for mission-critical tasks - such as managing a telephone system - by demonstrating NT's scalability at an event last month hosted by company chairman Bill Gates.
Clustering software that is due out this summer, code-named Wolfpack, would offer further stability for telecommunications support, Microsoft officials said.
But some observers are still not convinced.
"Microsoft has been working on SS7 for a while, but I have some doubt here," says Steve Sazegari, president of Tele.Mac, a telecommunications consultancy in California. "The SS7 process requires fault tolerance and redundancy. This is not an easy market, and this may be premature for them."
At the June 3 Supercomm '97 conference in New Orleans, Microsoft will tout its Microsoft Commercial Internet System as a robust platform for Internet service providers to deliver their services.
Also, Microsoft has been working with Vertel to enable telecommunications management network compliance for NT Server. Web-based enterprise management technology, which aims to consolidate and unify data from various management technologies, also will be shown.