Threat Level Rising: Microsoft to Sunset MaX UC, Confirming a (Not Too) Distant Reality

In the face of sunsetting technologies and OTTs that are plotting to poach customers in droves, moving to the cloud gets more urgent every day.
video conferencing
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In my last blog post, “Beware of Your OTT Frenemies,” I wrote about how OTT UCaaS providers like Ring Central and Ooma are dangerous frenemies that telcos should be wary of. In a moment of critical need for many early in the pandemic, these OTT vendors provided a lifeline by offering plug-and-play solutions that enabled telcos to quickly provide UC and videoconferencing tools to their end-user customers. But it is just a matter of time before the consequences of these decisions begin to show their true colors.

The longer that telcos rely on frenemies to deliver cloud-based services to their customers, the more vulnerable they are to losing brand equity and direct customer relationships to vendors who view telcos simply as a route to market. To neutralize this threat, telcos need an effective strategy for delivering modern UC solutions (voice, video and chat) from the cloud – a step that would mitigate the encroachment of OTT providers.

But that isn’t the only rising threat for telcos to be wary of. The other is coming from “inside the house,” to borrow a phrase from the horror movies. Their own legacy voice infrastructure is holding the axe looming ominously above them.

As an industry, telcos have often opted for the status quo to safeguard service reliability and protect revenue. Ongoing doubts about new technology and business models have fostered a certain inertia, leading service providers to rely on existing infrastructure or gradually implement bolt-on features. As a result, the voice and UC infrastructure of today is complex and difficult to scale. The lack of investment and modernization has led the safest bet to become the riskiest where telcos are beginning to cede market share to the same vendors that are also vital partners.

“But surely that’s only a worry for the distant future. Right?” Not according to the headlines. Metaswitch just sent their opening signal to the industry with an end-of-life notice for their UC app, MaX UC. To make Microsoft’s intentions even clearer, they recommend moving customers to Microsoft Teams and Teams Phone as the alternative – a move that threatens to fully remove or disintermediate telcos from their direct relationships with customers.

That should send shivers down the spine of any service provider still trying to maintain competitiveness by using their legacy infrastructure. And then what happens when the other shoe drops, and Microsoft retires Metaswitch altogether? I believe that day is coming sooner rather than later, and when it does, it will be too late for service providers who don’t have plans in place to move to an alternative platform, and they will be left scrambling with a network that is not future ready.

In the face of sunsetting technologies and OTTs that are plotting to poach customers in droves, moving to the cloud gets more urgent every day. Alianza provides a simple way for telcos to successfully move away from their increasingly risky legacy technology to a modern cloud-based platform. And by accelerating this cloud transformation, we enable telcos to provide cloud-native applications that meet the needs of commercial and residential customers on a dramatically streamlined platform without the reliance on third-party OTTs.

These rising threats have completely changed the math for how to minimize risk in the telecom world: Now, the riskiest thing for telcos is to keep leaning on their legacy systems and continue with the status quo. It’s more urgent than ever to get to the cloud, and Alianza is the partner that makes it a reality.

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