Andy makes some valid points as he ponders the world of SIP without Microsoft. It would seem to me that with many of the service providers bailing out of the softphone services business that maybe the market is either already saturated or that the offers in the market are still not seamless enough for the average user to get excited about it.
From my own experience I know that getting people to strap on headsets or talk into a laptop is not only confusing for the user but even when you get them there the quality usually isn’t that great or predictable, regardless of the softphone you are using. Sometimes this has more to do with the connection and bandwidth and less to do with the softphone. At any rate, I think softphones have a future but they need to be invisible to the user and QOS (Quality of Service) must be addressed.
I think the boys at Microsoft might agree as they get ready to roll SIP Trunking for their new Response Point SIP-enabled SMB PBX. Response Point is probably the best SMB PBX I have had the opportunity to install, configure and play with recently. Btw, the customer I installed this for is loving it.
So, is Microsoft throwing in the towel on the VoIP front? No, I don’t think so. They are likely focusing on what they know best, bundling software with hardware to fill a niche. Response Point is a great example of that.