microsoft-response-point1After weeks of speculation, Microsoft has essentially killed Response Point -- the company's former VoIP system for small businesses. According to a Microsoft Town Hall meeting today with VARs, the product is in maintenance mode with no future releases planned. Sorry for the following comparison, but Response Point has become Microsoft's modern day OS/2. Here's why.

Alas, Response Point is a product with an eager, niche following that didn't officially die. Instead, Response Point will fade away (quickly, The VAR Guy predicts) through maintenance mode support. IBM used the same strategy to walk away from OS/2 a decade ago.

Of course, comparing Response Point to OS/2 is a bit of a stretch by The VAR Guy -- since OS/2 gobbled up millions in IBM R&D and generated millions in financial losses for Big Blue. In stark contrast, Response Point was a very small, targeted R&D effort by Microsoft. But our resident blogger does like to pump up the drama with crazy comparisons from time to time.

You'll find the back story on Response Point's demise here, plus a recap of today's Town Hall call here.

Microsoft Partner Opportunities Elsewhere

Response Point VARs invested time and money in the VoIP system so they have a legitimate gripe. But in the bigger picture, Microsoft continues to invest heavily in Small Business Server and a range of cloud services. There's going to be some pain, friction and confusion as VARs shift to some of those cloud services.

Microsoft has beaten the odds (and the competition) before. The VAR Guy bet heavily on Microsoft when Windows NT debuted in 1993 and was essentially dismissed by the Unix and NetWare advocates. And our resident blogger is guessing Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) SaaS applications will be a big hit with partners and their customers over the long haul. Short term, no doubt, the transition will trigger some channel pain.

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