In a column that is as overheated as it is vituperative, John Dvorak rails against yesterday’s news regarding Microsoft’s and Nortel Networks’ strategic alliance to develop and deliver unified-communications solutions that leverage Nortel’s telephony expertise and Microsoft’s prized desktop real estate.
This site was one of many that attempted to explain why Microsoft and Nortel combined forces on this strategic initiative. It’s clear to me what each party hopes to get from the partnership and why each of them felt this was a good idea to pursue. Whether that will translate into real traction in the marketplace, with the people who fork over their money in exchange for products and services, is another matter. Even if the strategy is right, the execution must be solid. A lot can go wrong with a partnership this broad.
That said, I understand the strategy, and I think it could turn out to be particularly beneficial for Microsoft, but only if Microsoft continually provides Nortel with enough incentive to follow the script. There’s a real danger that Nortel, if it can deliver itself into a position less desperate than the one in which it finds itself today, might become more than a little anxious about Microsoft’s ultimate motives unless Team Redmond restrains its hegemonic tendencies and empathizes, at least a little, with Nortel’s aims and objectives.
Microsoft wants to unify communications in Office and on Windows. It wants to run everything — telephony, email, instant messaging, videoconferencing, whiteboarding — on the desktop, with presence not only interwoven through its communications applications but also embedded throughout its personal-productivity and business applications. It’s a means for Microsoft to give a powerful second wind to its applications business, which is having an increasingly difficult time getting corporations to upgrade to new releases.
Dvorak misses all that, though, going off on a few tangents that are truly bizarre. He produces a textual rant that creates and knocks down a series of straw men at such a feverish pace that you leave with admiration for his imagination, if not for his reasoning.