Unified Communications Industry Consolidation – Lessons Learned from Ericsson Acquisition

Published: 12 Oct 2009

By Dorota Oviedo, Research Analyst, Unified Communications and Collaboration

The unified communications (UC) industry has seen a strong consolidation trend, which we also expect to dominate the competitive landscape in the near future. Over the last years, Mitel acquired Inter-Tel, Aastra bought Ericsson's PBX business, and NEC purchased Sphere. More recently, privately held Avaya won a stalking horse auction for Nortel Enterprise Solutions, while Cisco announced that it will follow its previous acquisitions of WebEx, Jabber, and Postpath with that of Tandberg. Further industry announcements are anticipated, and are likely to include non-traditional telephony players.

Aastra's analyst event held earlier this week in Stockholm created a perfect opportunity to hear about the challenges an acquisition can create for both buyer and seller, and how these can be faced. In order to better understand Aastra's position, let us first look at the journey that led Aastra to the Ericsson acquisition.

Aastra Technologies is one of the largest players in the European business telephony market. Its aggressive strategy of organic and acquisitive growth has positioned it among the top three European vendors and one of the leaders globally in enterprise communications. While other industry players are currently struggling, Aastra has had over a decade of consecutive profitable quarters. It has successfully moved up the infrastructure value chain in the enterprise communications business.

Founded in 1983 and based in Toronto (Ontario, Canada), Aastra Technologies was initially an engineering company providing services to aero-industry and defence markets. In 1993, the company started to specialise in telecommunications to develop and market products and systems to access communication networks. Since then it has had a history of acquisitions that shows a consistent growth strategy and total focus on enterprise communications.

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