Microsoft's Lync surging as PBX choice in North America

Orlando -- Microsoft's Lync communications platform is making big gains as the IP PBX of choice, particularly in North America and particularly among larger businesses, Enterprise Connect attendees were told.

Lync ranks 11th worldwide among IP PBX vendors, but comes in No.3 in North America among businesses with more than 100 phone extensions, according to Peter Hale, principal analyst with MZA, speaking at the conference.

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"Microsoft has gone from nothing to third in two to three years," says Jerry Caron, an analyst with Current Analysis. "It's become a very significant player in a very short period of time."

Cisco ranked first worldwide, edging out No.2 Avaya by just 1 percent, but in North America among large businesses, it blew away the field. Cisco sold 44 percent of the phone extensions, he says, with Avaya pulling down 20 percent. Microsoft landed 13 percent, Hale said.

The number for Lync represents phone extensions actually deployed, not those sold, he said. Because Lync comes bundled with other software and includes communications besides IP telephony, the number of licenses sold is actually higher, he said.

One problem Lync could face is the decline of the PC, Caron says. Part of its success so far may be that most corporate desktops run Microsoft software. As businesses use other devices, notably mobile devices, for their main computers, that could change, he says.

Cisco's worldwide lead in phone extensions is slight and fragile. It holds 13 percent this year, down from 14 percent last year. Avaya is breathing down its neck at 12 percent, the same percentage it scored last year.

Cisco dropped 2 percent in its North American large-business sales from 46 percent to 44 percent from 2012 to 2013, Hale said. During the same period Avaya went from 19 percent to 20 percent. Microsoft went from 12 percent to 13 percent.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

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Tags unified communicationsLANs & RoutersNetworkingMicrosoftbecansaAvaya

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