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What's the difference between UC-certified and MS-certified?

Both UC-certified and MS-certified products are available to enterprises. But one designation carries more weight than the other, our expert writes.

IT departments looking for enterprise-grade UC phones and peripherals often get confused when a vendor says its devices are either UC-certified or MS-certified.

This confusion is completely justified. There is little information surrounding what, if anything, these designations for hardware and devices mean. That said, let's take a look at each option to explain what vendors are attempting to tell prospective buyers -- and whether these certification claims are legitimate or not.

What does it mean for devices to be UC-certified?

The UC in UC-certified stands for unified communications. Right away, customers should be wary of this designation. Unified communications is a generic term that encompasses all enterprise-grade vendors and products. For example, a vendor touting its wireless headsets as UC-certified is saying it has run extensive tests with UC suppliers to prove its headsets are fully compatible with all the features and functionalities of the UC system. But, again, since the term UC is so generic, it's important the customer, before making the purchase decision, ensures its specific UC platform was one of the products the vendor evaluated.

What does it mean to be MS-certified?

This label is more specific, as the MS stands for Microsoft. Originally, this meant that devices and peripherals were fully compatible with Microsoft Skype for Business. However, now that Microsoft has abandoned Skype in favor of Teams, MS-certified means these devices work with the Teams collaboration platform, including support for some enhanced and proprietary features. MS-certified is far more specific than UC-certified. It's a more significant label, and businesses that exclusively use Teams should seek out tools that hold this certification.

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