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Toshiba Telecom Dealers ‘Blindsided’ by Shutdown

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Dealers across the United States, Canada and Latin America were caught off guard by Toshiba’s plans to shut down its business phone division.

In a letter this week, Brian Metherell, vice president and general manager of Toshiba America Information Systems’ (TAIS) Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD), notified dealers of the pending closure.

Toshiba has “deemed it necessary to wind down our Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD) business starting immediately,” he said. Toshiba Canada also will be announcing the wind-down of its telecommunications business, and TSD will no longer be selling in Mexico, he said.

TSD is a manufacturer of IP business telephone systems designed for small-to medium-size businesses and larger enterprises with multiple locations.

Snaptech IT's Ben StieglerBen Stiegler, Snaptech IT’s vice president of business development for Northern California, said his company is one of about 250 authorized TSD dealers in the United States. Dealers in the U.S., Canada and Latin America were all “blindsided” by the news of the closure, he said. Snaptech IT has sold Toshiba IP and digital phone systems since 2002.

“Toshiba was one of the last manufacturers standing which built both digital and IP phone systems,” he said. “Although VoIP is the wave of the future, there are many campuses and environments where digital is still the best solution.”

Many environments, such as large education campuses and nonprofits which occupy large amounts of space with substandard network cabling, and retrofits into environments like retail where there are phones in many places that Ethernet doesn’t reach, cannot be easily rewired for VoIP for either physical or budgetary reasons, Stiegler said.{ad}

“The closure impacts all of our Toshiba customers,” he said. “Two months is a very short ramp-down time. Toshiba is going to honor extended warranties … but when you think about a customer who banks on the Toshiba name and plans … to open an office in Chicago in two years, their option to extend with the solution they have already committed to is not going to be open to them.”

Outside of Toshiba, the digital market is “very sparse at this point” with Mitel and NEC remaining as the major players who offer both digital and IP solutions, Stiegler said.

In his Talking Pointz blog, enterprise communications analyst Dave Michels said Toshiba’s decision to shutter the business is “both surprising and not at the same time.”

“Toshiba sales have been declining for some time and the company has become far less visible and innovative than many of its competitors,” he said. “It is a bit surprising they didn’t sell the company, but perhaps there were no buyers. Toshiba made an excellent PBX that competed with small business systems from the likes of Panasonic, Mitel, and NEC.”


2 comments

  1. kapil June 22, 2017 @ 11:26 pm

    Toshiba is one of the leading brands in the world originated from the Japanese multinational company which provides quality and trustworthy services to their customer.

  2. Louis H Gillespie Jr September 12, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

    It is extremely sad and I really could not believe what I was reading. I first became Toshiba Certified in 1984 . I started on the Strata III all the way to the CTX and IP systems and refused to install or promote any other communication products. My career ended in 2015 when I had to close my company Performance Telcom Inc. . The Toshiba systems were bullet proof. I have a CTX 100 and IES 32 installed in my home its 10 years old, that’s quality. When my daughter went to college in England I sent her a IP phone and we talked for free for three years. I can honestly say that the only time we saw our clients was when they had a MAC order or programming changes or upgrades. I am quite sure that ALL of the players in the Telcom Industry were delighted to see Toshiba exit the Telcom Industry because there products could not compete with the quality or warranty of the Toshiba Products.

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