Wake up! Why Microsoft could be missing the opportunity of a lifetime with Lync – Part 1 of 3
I may not be the worlds foremost expert on video-conferencing systems, but I do have a central role in purchasing them for a company of 40.000+ people, so when I see a new player in the market, I get interested. I expect them to step up and challenge status quo. I don’t expect them to just do what the others do with a new logo on top.When I see a new player in the market, I don’t expect them to just do what the others do with a new logo on top.
In 2013 Microsoft decided to move Lync into the corporate conferencing space with their Lync Room System (LRS). Until then, Lync had been primarily a client for chat, video, and desktop sharing in a crowded market. They’d bought Skype, presumably to get some traction in the consumer space, but to companies, Lync was still mainly “that client we get for free when negotiating enterprise agreements”. For real video-conferencing it was all a “Cisco game” with big dusty rooms and expensive hardware.
So what do you do in a market like that? You disrupt. You throw a wrench in the wheel. You do something they never saw coming and you do it in a way that will take them years to get over. You claw out your own niche, take ownership of the Gartner challenger quadrant and encroach on the leaders from there.
Well, with hyperbole like “the biggest transformations in the way we work since the advent of the PC”, you’d think Microsoft had understood this, but what did they do? They built LRS.
To be fair, LRS did bring a big improvement to Lync. Instead of executives having to fiddle around with USB hardware on their own, they now had an integrated conference room experience on par with the best in the market. The problem is that “on par” doesn’t cut it. What Microsoft brought wasn’t new, it was just Microsoft-based, and they could have done so much more.
In the next two posts I’ll dive into why this is a problem and what I think they could have done instead.