UPDATE: A senior executive at a major competitor to Microsoft weighed in on the middleware juggernautÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence from TelcoTV, too. His take? Why would Microsoft show up to the conference and set up a booth showcasing their productÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s functionality Ã¢â‚¬Å“when everyone on the floor knows itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a faÃƒÂ§ade?Ã¢â‚¬Â He also agreed with other industry insiders who characterize the TelcoTV show as one catering to Tier 2 and Tier 3 telcos, a market Microsoft has yet to tackle. Once again the notion that Microsoft follows an enterprise business strategy, whereby they resell their product through a middleman like Alcatel seemed like a key factor in the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence as well. Ah well, maybe if AT&T gets things rolling soon, as expected, Microsoft will demonstrate its productÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capabilities next yearÃ¢â‚¬â€many hope such a demo will push other middleware developers to better their products too. At least, that's according to those who believe Microsft's middleware offering is better. Original post: Microsoft didn't come to TelcoTV. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they weren't here last year either. They have taken a serious flogging in the press lately for being the alleged root of delays for operators as diverse as AT&T to Swisscom. A rep from a security firm told me Microsoft's absence is easy to explain, because they don't target the Tier 2 or Tier 3 telcos, while TelcoTV does. Others found this explanation wanting and attributed Microsoft's absence to a desire to avoid more questions about delays. The harshest critics claimed Microsoft probably doesn't have TelcoTV on it radar, because they are so out of touch with the industry. Ouch. The smaller telcos were a bit more optimistic about Microsoft's middleware, despite not being the target customer for it. After talking to some Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators, it sounds like many of them are excited about the ongoing launch of Microsoft's middleware solution for AT&T's U-Verse, because they hope the middleware will have a trickledown (or tricklesideways, if you like) effect on competitors' like Myrio and Minerva's middleware. Truth be told, vendor aside, no one is perfectly happy with their middleware provider. At least none that I've run into. I'd certainly like to meet such a service provider.