Mitel partners have given a mixed verdict on the vendor's merger with Polycom, with one arguing that its failed acquisition target ShoreTel would have been a better fit.
The comms vendor announced today that it is acquiring its NASDAQ-listed counterpart Polycom in a transaction valuing the voice and videoconferencing specialist at about $1.96bn (£1.38bn).
The union will create a firm boasting a "complete communications and collaboration platform", 7,700 staff, and a revenue run rate of $2.5bn.
Richard Dendle, managing director of Britannic Technologies, which is one of only four Platinum partners for Mitel in the UK, welcomed the fact that Mitel had got its hands on a "turnkey" videoconferencing solution after several failed attempts to crack the market, but questioned the logic of the deal.
"Polycom has a great brand name and a lot of SIP capabilities with their phones, but I see [their videoconferencing solutions] as legacy technology," he said.
"I saw a lot more synergies with ShoreTel, as it would have given Mitel a great footprint in their core business."
Dendle added: "The video aspect [of Polycom's offering] is legacy. It has been around for 10 to 15 years. There are more cost-effective methods now. Google Hangouts has in-built video which is HD and Skype for Business is a decent video collaboration platform. The marketplace for a telepresence and major videoconferencing suite is very limited. Look at what happened to Tandberg. Polycom is similar, although they have branched out to SIP handset."
Rod Tonna-Barthet, CEO of Silver Mitel partner Annodata, welcomed the deal, saying it would help solve interoperability headaches for customers rolling out comms and collaboration solutions.
"Interoperability between disparate communications and collaboration tools often isn't all that straightforward, but I'd expect this acquisition to make that much simpler," he said.
"The combination of Mitel and Polycom should result in stronger, more innovative products coming to market that solve the collaboration challenges that many businesses face today. This is also good news for our customers as it enhances our overall offering and grants them a wider choice of collaborative solutions from a single provider."
James Banks, senior solution designer at Mitel Gold partner Charterhouse, also said he was "very excited" about the two firms joining forces.
"We believe it is well timed, and strengthens yet further Mitel's market-leading integration with Skype for Business – something that has generated a large number of enquiries from our clients and that we're well positioned to take advantage of," he said.
"We expect this move to be exceptionally well received by the market and look forward to bolstering our best-of-breed proposition as the integration work progresses."
Rufus Grig, CTO of Mitel Platinum partner Azzurri, also said he could see the logic of the deal.
"It's good to have a partner with ambition," he said.
"Mitel have lots of technology, but don't quite have the scale to compete with the Microsofts and Unifiys. So this has really lifted them into a different league."
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