Microsoft Corp. in mid June revealed plans to buy social media giant LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. The deal, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close by the end of this year. LinkedIn will keep its name, CEO (LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella), and independence following the deal. Microsoft said this deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network. With LinkedIn in the Microsoft fold, the company aims to drive increased engagement across LinkedIn as well as Office 365 and Dynamics, and accelerate monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising. For example, the companies said, today data from people’s profiles are scattered across various endpoints and include incomplete or outdated information. However, the two companies once combined can unify those profiles and present them in an app, or via Office, Outlook, Skype, or elsewhere. The companies also talked about bringing together news so professionals have what they need all in one place. And Microsoft discussed the digital assistant known as Cortana, and said that in the future Cortana will be even more useful since it will know users’ entire professional networks. Social selling, organizational insights and transformation, and just-in-time social learning were among the other themes the companies are talking about as fueling this combination.
Intellinote Purchased by BroadSoft
BroadSoft in late May announced it is buying enterprise messaging company Intellinote. Intellinote delivers virtual spaces in which groups and individuals can manage and track projects and tasks, and share and store documents. Fonality earlier this year had announced an integration with Intellinote.
Uber Doesn’t Pick Up the Slack
Rumor has it that Uber has curtailed its use of UC solution Slack because it didn’t scale. According to The New York Times and Business Insider, Uber is now instead using Atlassian HipChat.
Old Xerox = New Xerox & Conduent
Xerox recently announced the names of the companies that will be created when it breaks into two separate organizations. The business process outsourcing company, it said, will be named Conduent. Meanwhile, the document technology company will continue to be called Xerox Corp. With approximately $7 billion in 2015 revenue and 96,000 employees worldwide, Conduent will focus on transaction-intensive processing, analytics, and automation.
ALU Enhances UC Offerings
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has introduced OpenTouch Suite 2.2, which now features a single client interface called OpenTouch Conversation. It also includes integration with popular third-party productivity suites such as Google Apps for Business, Domino 9, IBM Notes, and Microsoft Office 16 and 365; support for all Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise-compatible phones; a built-in visual automated attendant; call log and messaging indicators on OpenTouch Conversation One; and more. The company in late June also unveiled enhancements to the OpenTouch Suite for SMBs.
UC&C Company Adds to Univago
Yorktel has enhanced its Univago cloud video platform as a service with new call control capabilities, a self-test tool, single sign-on with ADFS or SAML integration, support for the Google Chrome version 50 browser, and support for Microsoft Azure as well as for the Microsoft Edge browser.
Lenovo Unleashes Flurry of Data Center News
Lenovo has several new data center group offerings and capabilities. That includes a new networking OS and expanded offerings through a Juniper Networks (News - Alert) partnership; that it has set 17 industry benchmarks with high-performance servers; and that it is expanding its HX Series portfolio of hyperconverged appliances.
RingCentral Adds New Microsoft Integrations
Cloud business solution provider RingCentral has new integrations with Microsoft Outlook and Skype for Business, adding to its integration with Microsoft Office 365. “In today’s multi-vendor cloud application environment, enterprise customers are empowered to choose best-of-breed software solutions,” said Marco Casalaina, vice president of integrations for RingCentral. “With our open platform, we make it easy to have a seamless experience with RingCentral’s cloud communications capabilities embedded into many popular business applications. Our integrations with Outlook and Skype for Business are the latest examples of how we’re innovating and delivering a best-of-breed experience to fulfill the needs of enterprise customers.”
8x8 Still No. 1
8x8 is the leader in the UC-as-a-Service market for the third year in a row, according to new research from IHS (News - Alert) Inc. Analyst Diane Myers in the new report talks about the large and dynamic UCaaS solutions provider arena, which she notes has seen many mergers and acquisitions as companies seek to grab market share. “8x8 (News - Alert) maintains its leadership due to its large installed base of UCaaS seats, financial position and continued execution on its market strategy,” she said. “8x8 has consistently been near the top of our Scorecard and is a long-standing stalwart of the hosted PBX and unified communications market, with a strong position with small businesses and up-market growth.” Vonage and West follow 8x8 in the rankings.
Cisco Allows for Interoperability with Skype for Business
A new solution called Cisco Meeting Server enables Cisco meeting rooms to connect with Skype for Business users. “Connecting should not be hard,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s IoT and Applications Groups, in introducing the new solution in August. “But it has been, because certain vendors’ technologies have not played well with standards-based technologies, like Cisco’s industry-leading video systems. We just fixed that, and the impact is huge.” The impact is that users of Cisco’s meeting rooms and those of Microsoft’s Skype for Business can connect as easily as an iPhone user can call the owner of a Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy, or vice versa, the company indicated. In addition to the interoperability with Microsoft’s Skype for Business, the new Cisco Meeting Server features a consistent meeting experience across endpoints, optimized bandwidth use between sites, the ability to work with Cisco UCS hardware, the ability to scale from very small groups up to tens of thousands of users, a simple licensing model, and security.
Edited by Alicia Young