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Mitel Buys prairieFyre to Extend Microsoft Play to Contact Centers

With its announcement today of the acquisition of contact center vendor prairieFyre for $20 million, Mitel is extending its aggressive plan of "co-opetition" with Microsoft Lync.

Mitel is clearly and forthrightly accepting Microsoft Lync as inevitable, but just as clearly trying to give enterprises a picture of a more limited role for Lync in the enterprise communications architecture. They began rolling out this strategy in last week's announcement, in which they highlighted "MiVoice for Lync" as an alternative for customers who have Lync messaging but would consider integrating legacy voice systems rather than buying into Lync Enterprise Voice.

The prairieFyre buy extends this strategy from call control to the contact center; prairieFyre has built its contact center business on its strong integration with Lync. In fact, if you want to learn about that integration, Enterprise Connect is hosting a webinar on the topic with PrairieFyre later this week, featuring our colleague Sheila McGee-Smith, and moderated by EC GM Fred Knight. As with the early days after any M/A announcement, I don't expect you'll get many detailed answers about the Mitel acquisition, but you'll get a close-up look at what Mitel is after in buying prairieFyre.

Mitel seems ready to go to market with the argument that a Mitel voice/contact center, integrated with Exchange/Lync, is easier and less complex than a pure-Lync play--which doesn't have its own contact center in the first place, and which has been dinged on third-party integration issues and costs when Lync includes voice. We've had a spirited discussion on these basic issues over on last week's Mitel post, so I'm interested to see what the community thinks of the prairieFyre deal.

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