Avaya…. And the PBX Industry

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

Why go private? The costs to be public are transparency, shareholders and regulatory. Between SOX and GBL and all the other rules, it is an expensive venture to go public. The options mess and executive compensation only add to the headache.

Yet public means access to monies (ask TowerStream who went from OTC to Nasdaq and release $40 million worth of stock). Of course, investors and bankers like public companies. Cablevision is looking to go private – and so are a bunch of companies.

But why didn’t Avaya just sell to Nortel or Cisco? No idea. Maybe that is the end game for the investors.

The telecom industry is changing and no one has a handle on it, really.

In the phone hardware space, it is a mosaic. Will it be hosted or hardware or a mixture? Will it be open source or propriety? Where does a company like Avaya put its energy? Would Nortel be in the same situation if it didn’t have telco gear to fall back on? Probably.

The enterprise space consists of 5,000 companies that about 10 companies target (Cisco, MS, Avaya, Nortel, Inter-Tel, Shore-Tel, et al). That is too much competition. Especially when the telcos are trying to push phone systems too.

The SMB market is really made up of three sectors: very small businesses, small businesses and medium business. Medium is still a target for the Big 10. But there is no cross-over for them to the very small and small space. They cannot service that market too costly.

The very-small business space will likely be won by Linksys and hosted PBX providers, like PBX-Change, Intelliverse and M5. Innovative in this space from Voice 3.0 companies like TalkPlus, Jott, Jajah, et al, may change the landscape even more. There are companies like Sutus who will be bringing a different angle to this space. Best Buy/Speakeasy may be a player here as well.

The small bussiness space is anyone’s guess. Cbeyond wins more than their share in this market. And with their FMC option (BeyondMobile Service) they will likely win more in the small and medium space. Hosted PBX VoIP providers like this space, but we don’t know how it scales yet. This is the space that the channel targets 20 to 99 employees.

It is the sweet spot. This will likely be the most segmented space unless a provider or vendor decides to hit a vertical. If they can make a package tailored for a vertical, it will be a win. You see it shaping up in health care and dental offices as well as in legal firms. Innovative hosted VoIP providers are taking these verticals.

Polycom ends up in place of Avaya.

Note to SilverLake: buy Aastra and their new kick-butt VoIP phones with DECT. Take some share from Polycom that’s where the phone hardware money is: on handsets. (Cellular is all about handsets and so is this market.)

Peter Radizeski is president of


. He can be reached at


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