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Unified Communications in a Box

Unison was founded in 2006, is headquartered in New York, and has about 40 employees, Bradbury told me. Its Unison Server is a Linux server that runs software built from a combination of open source (for the IM and email components) and in-house development (for the PBX).

Unison is initially targeting 20-300-seat companies, and Rurik Bradbury says the Fortune 500 is not in its sights for the foreseeable future. Unision server is meant to be "easy out of the box," he explained. "That's never the case for Fortune 500."

The server controls a lightweight Unison Desktop interface, which looks like most of the other UC clients, offering softphone, unified messaging and IM in a single view. The system uses SIP phones for the desk set component.

Bradbury said Unison hasn't announced pricing yet, but will offer the software as a free public beta starting next Monday, when the company officially rolls out the product at CeBit in Hamburg. Which gets at the Unison go-to-market strategy, which is heavily weighted toward Europe and Asia; Rurik Bradbury cited statistics that 75 percent of SMBs are located in these regions, and furthermore, "those areas tend to be less sympathetic to Microsoft," which he sees as the likeliest alternative to a solution like Unison's.

The Unison Server and Desktop are slated for GA in 2H08.