Vendor consolidation is in full swing: Ericsson announced today that it's selling its PBX business to Aastra, which in 2004 acquired the former Intecom from EADS. The key passage from Ericsson's announcement:
Vendor consolidation is in full swing: Ericsson announced today that it's selling its PBX business to Aastra, which in 2004 acquired the former Intecom from EADS.
The key passage from Ericsson's announcement:
Ericsson has a strategic focus on telecommunication operators and service providers, hence considers its enterprise PBX solutions business to be outside its core focus. In addition, the enterprise communications industry is becoming increasingly global and is clearly gravitating toward consolidation. Therefore, Ericsson believes that the enterprise PBX solutions will add significant competence and value to Aastra Technologies, adding leading products and a significant customer base for PBX solutions. This will also be a positive step for Ericsson's enterprise customers, partners and employees, combining Ericsson's and Aastra Technologies' leading product portfolios.
Ericsson's PBX business had suffered what Allan Sulkin of TEQConsult has characterized as a "major global market share decline, especially in North America" (that's from the Market Review session that Allan will deliver next month at VoiceCon). Sulkin also cited marketing resources that "appear limited" in North America, and a shift from direct to indirect distribution channels, as potential contributors to Ericsson's falling market share.
In a recent No Jitter feature, Sulkin wrote:
Ericsson's PBX market downturn in North America coincided with a corporate decision to devote ever-increasing resources to the wireless carrier market. The strategic decision to divest itself of direct sales/service operations was the point of no return for the North American market. This was followed by staff downsizings, delays to replace the aging MD 110 PBX platform with the IP-centric MX-ONE, and a failed attempt to set up a master distributor to create and support a dealer network. There are currently no signs that Ericsson's stated plans to leverage its strong relationships with cellular carriers to help market and sell its enterprise offerings have borne fruit.
UPDATE: It's noteworthy that, prior to today's acquisition, Aastra/Intecom opted to address the pure-IP voice market for large enterprises via a partnership, announced last year, with Broadsoft, which manufactures carrier-grade IP softswitches. The result was the Aastra Clearspan offering, an OEMed offering of Broadsoft's BroadWorks platform. With the Ericsson deal, Aastra will be acquiring Ericsson's MX-ONE platform for large enterprises. MX-ONE is a SIP-capable IP-PBX that can scale to 50,000 endpoints.
So it'll be interesting to see how aggressively Aastra continues to pursue the Clearspan strategy. Aastra could rationalize the product lines, or, given that Ericsson's continued enterprise voice strength had been in Europe, Aastra could decide to pursue parallel strategies for North America ande Europe with Clearspan and MX-ONE in the respective markets.