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Summary of the State of the Phone Industry

September 12, 2017

CONFUSION!  That is the word to start this blog.  The world of premise-based phone technology is in a state of absolute confusion. During the last three months, the playing field has drastically condensed with quite a few mergers and acquisitions. In the midst of this M&A free for all, Mitel is staging itself to “buy” the competition.  And one of their bigger plays (Avaya) continues to lay in bankruptcy.

Here is what has gone down this summer with Mitel:

  • In July 2017: Mitel picked up some of the physical assets of Toshiba’s $6.2B phone division.  And while you can’t buy a new Toshiba phone system, there are upgrade options for existing Toshiba systems, however, they are limited.  See Mitel buys select Toshiba Assets.  Mitel also purchased the rights for some of the legacy Toshiba phone system hardware.
  • Also in July 2017, Mitel acquired ShoreTel which was a more viable solution than Toshiba. You can still currently purchase Shoretel products, and if you are ShoreTel customer everything is status quo today. HOWEVER, Mitel will likely push ShoreTel to convert to Mitel technology sometime in the near future.

How this impacts you – the customer?  The Mitel’s reasons for acquisitions:

  1. Eliminate the competition – whether you are a Toshiba, ShoreTel, Avaya, Cisco, etc… the playing field to buy a premise-based phone system just got drastically smaller.
  2. If you are a Toshiba client, there is some hope that your existing Toshiba dealer will be able to support your phone system for a little longer.
  3. Mitel made these acquisitions to buy a client database to sell into and transfer from legacy Toshiba or ShoreTel technology to Mitel.
  4. As a Toshiba customer, expect a call from a Mitel representative trying to discuss with you the migration path from Toshiba to Mitel. This could be for premise based but most likely will also include cloud
  5. The ShoreTel purchase was primarily geared toward absorbing ShoreTel’s database of clients while also adding giving Mitel the ability to add Shoretel’s cloud phone offering to their portfolio. Although ShoreTel hasn’t turned a profit on its premise-based phone system in 13 years, their cloud offering netted significant profits.  Mitel’s cloud offering is not nearly as strong as Shoretel.

At the end of the day premise-based phone technology is not a long-term decision.  Mitel knows the direction of purchasing a new phone system is cloud based.  It is whether you feel your premise-based phone environment is solid today or if you need to address this in the future.


At Corporate Technologies Group, we can help you plan for the future if that means today or two years out.  Download the “VoIP Checklist” and see if your network infrastructure is ready for today’s technology.  We are here to help!

Regards –

Brett Harney