The elephant in the room at last week's IP'07 exhibition was the launch of Microsoft's Office Communications Server. Several exhibitors were proudly announcing that their hardware, software or whatever was OCS-certified.

It was almost as if Unified Communications was something new. I suppose it's quite possible that in a decade's time, there will be people out there who honestly believe it was invented in Redmond, and who'll never have heard of Avaya, Mitel, Siemens and all the rest.

Hindsight might suggest that working with Microsoft is like supping with the Devil. You know that everyone else who's tried it lost out in the long run - or at least, didn't benefit from the deal as much as Mr Gates did - but you keep hoping that you'll be the one to break the trend.

As one CTO I talked to pointed out, "There's lots of people riding the coat-tails of OCS in the hope that Microsoft won't steal their lunch.

"Of course, Microsoft will steal their lunch," he added, "but it won't mean to."