Microsoft will stop selling the Response Point phone system on Aug. 31 this year, as it clears the way for Microsoft Office Communications Server to be the vendor's primary VoIP platform.
The move is no surprise, because Microsoft moved Response Point to "engineering maintenance status" last year and laid off some employees in the Response Point product group.
But Microsoft has now given a specific end date after which it will "discontinue the sale, development and support" for Response Point.
Response Point Phone systems will continue to work after Aug. 31, but Microsoft will not offer support for the product after that time. Customers who want refunds will have to contact the retailer or equipment reseller they purchased the Response Point system from.
The Response Point VoIP system was designed for small businesses with up to 50 employees. Microsoft said that sales were promising at first, but recently has put more of its development efforts into Office Communications Server, which supports VoIP, video conferencing and instant messaging.
"Despite favorable initial response from customers and channel partners since launch, we have not seen the necessary demand materialize to sustain Response Point as a viable standalone business," Microsoft said. "To continue to support the needs of the small business community, we expect to consolidate our efforts and offerings in this space around Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS)."
Microsoft in March announced an update to OCS that it said would help customers move away from existing PBX systems, while integrating with other Microsoft applications like SharePoint, Exchange and Office.
The new version of OCS will be available in the second half of this year, according to Microsoft, while several news reports say the release will occur in October or later. Microsoft faces major competition in the unified communications market from Cisco, Avaya, Siemens and IBM.