Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>

Eric Krapf | March 25, 2014 |


Cisco-Microsoft: The State of the Voice Market Share Battle

Cisco-Microsoft: The State of the Voice Market Share Battle Enterprise Connect's session on market share numbers shows an almost completely stable market--with one notable (small) exception.

Enterprise Connect's session on market share numbers shows an almost completely stable market--with one notable (small) exception.

This year's version of our annual Enterprise Connect Voice Market Share session drew bigger crowds than it has the past several years, likely because voice market share has become a topic of fierce debate, especially among the partisans of the Cisco-Microsoft battle. Again this year, Peter Hale of MZA and Jerry Caron of Current Analysis led the session, and they offered measured comments about a couple of charts that I found interesting. The first is vendor market shares for the total North American market; the second is the large (above 100 stations) market in North America:

Basically what you see here is a very stable market: In the overall market chart (top), no vendor gained or lost more than 1 point of share from 2012 to 2013. And in the large-customer segment (bottom), there was no more than a 2-point swing for any vendor.

But you also can't fail to notice that, within that very tight range, the one vendor that dropped the most was...Cisco. That's worth noting because it's the first time at least I can remember seeing Cisco lose share in the voice market since the early days of the IP-PBX market. Cisco has been taking share from incumbent providers since Day One; but now they clearly are the incumbent, and everyone's gunning for them.

Which is essentially what Jerry Caron and Peter Hale said in their Enterprise Connect session as they explained these market share figures: "When you're leading the market, you're always targeted by all the competition," Peter Hale told the crowd. He characterized Cisco's 1-point drop in the total market as a "marginal drop in share," and the 2-point decline in the 100+ segment as a "small decline," adding that, "They still absolutely dominate." Which the numbers clearly back up.

Jerry Caron, who adds market analysis to Peter and MZA's numbers in the Enterprise Connect session, elaborated, saying that everything's relative: "Cisco's all about growth," he said. "The fact that they declined a couple percent is a tragedy for them." That was clearly a bit of deliberate overstatement; the point being that it's rare to ever see Cisco give ground in a market.

Of course, the main company gunning for Cisco is Microsoft, and the MZA figures show that, in voice, Microsoft has come a long way very quickly, jumping into third place with 13% share of the 100+ station segment, a "quite significant market share in a very short space of time," as Peter Hale put it. Jerry Caron noted that there is a block of Lync licenses out there, and, "The challenge for Microsoft and their channel partners is to actually get that deployed."

Indeed, the MZA numbers suggest that, after strong initial success at this goal over the last few years, Microsoft's progress is becoming much more incremental. As noted at the outset of this post, nobody gained or lost a lot of share in either direction last year, according to the MZA figures. Microsoft may have leapfrogged the likes of NEC, Mitel, ShoreTel, and Unify, but their year-over-year share gain suggests that much low-hanging fruit has been snatched already.

In fact, the MZA chart challenges an assumption that many industry observers have been making, and that would seem logical: The idea that Lync (and when not Lync, Cisco) is taking share away from Avaya in large numbers. That may have been the case for 2012 and before, but MZA actually shows Avaya holding steady (overall market) or even ticking up a point (100+ segment) in 2013.

Make no mistake: Avaya's task is daunting. The company remains the installed base leader, which is as much a curse as a blessing: They have much more to lose than to gain in the voice market as systems continue to age. Meanwhile, the company's revenues continue to fall. Still, it's better to be gaining market share or holding steady than it is to be losing share, especially when faced with stiff challenges from competitors many times your size.

Remember too that these figures are for 2012 and 2013. Will 2014 see a resumed acceleration of the shift toward Microsoft, as enterprises decide they're more comfortable with Microsoft as a voice provider? Will it show a trend toward an emerging Cisco-Microsoft duopoly? Or maybe we'll simply see a continuation of the this year's flatness, as enterprises sweat assets and de-emphasize voice in general.

In fact, that's the bigger story in all of this: The voice market is looking like a zero-sum game for the foreseeable future: MZA predicts that the voice market will grow just 1% total between 2013 and 2018--that's not annual growth, that's cumulative growth. This market is flat, and the vendors will be fighting it out for a limited amount of business.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the enterprise communications market is a lot more than voice.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Eric Krapf on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.