What Does the Plantronics / Polycom Deal Mean to the Marketplace?

Do we have a major new competitor in the UC industry?

What Does the Plantronics / Polycom Deal Mean to the Marketplace?

Recently, Plantronics announced that they would be purchasing Polycom in a cash-and-stock deal comprising of around $690 million in debt, shares worth about $358 million, and $948 million in cash. The board of directors for both organisations have already approved the deals, and the purchase is expected to close by the end of the third quarter in 2018.

According to the CEO and President of Plantronics, Joe Burton, bringing Polycom’s solutions for collaboration, audio, and video into the mix with Plantronics expertise in end-points and headsets will help them to deliver a more comprehensive service to channel partners and customers. Plantronics hopes to accelerate its portfolio with a range of complementary services and products and expand market opportunity with innovation in video and audio.

Dissecting the Details of the Deal

A privately-held company purchased by Siris Capital Group, Polycom should give Plantronics the ability to deliver a comprehensive solution for communication and collaboration. Since the two UC providers have worked together before, they shouldn’t have too much of a problem converging channel partners and customers.

For a while now, Plantronics has been the integration-friendly approach to UC sales, because the technology works with any video or communications services. However, now, the organisation could become more competitive with the addition of Polycom. Despite this, Plantronics isn’t planning on going head-to-head with providers like Cisco and Microsoft. Instead, they hope to simply acquire the market presence necessary to ensure better interoperability throughout the UC&C environment.

Serving a Diverse UC Marketplace

According to the Vice President of B2B marketing for Plantronics, Christopher Thompson, in a world where customers no longer rely on a single provider’s ecosystem to get the job done, UC providers need better interoperability to enjoy the best customer experience. Plantronics believe that if they do things right with the acquisition of Polycom, then their Alliance Partners like BlueJeans and Cisco will be able to make their products work better and provide a stronger support system for what customers already have in place.

In other words, the Polycom and Plantronics merger will be about developing a better unified communication and collaboration strategy for everyone. For channel partners, this will mean that there’s no longer a need to focus exclusively on price as a way of differentiating themselves to the end-customer. Businesses will be able to focus on more significant business issues while simplifying their communication architecture at the same time.

Looking into the Future for Polycom and Plantronics

Currently, Plantronics does most of its business through channel partners. As such, the company will be under a lot of scrutiny in the years ahead to prove that this acquisition isn’t just about consolidation. Channel partners will want to see Plantronics continuing to invest in new solutions in the research and development space, as well as looking for chances to invest in smaller acquisitions too.

Plantronics announced that it plans to fully integrate Polycom into the company when the acquisition is complete, with Polycom employees joining the brand’s ranks. However, they also want the resulting company to be something that harnesses an entirely new vision. According to Thompson, the future will be all about finding the right way to serve the market for open collaboration.


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AvatarTim Banting 12:04, 16 Apr 2018

Although you state that Plantronics isn’t planning on going head-to-head with providers like Cisco at does seem to me that Cisco is going head-to-head with Plantronics with the Cisco Headset 500 Series. I suspect many UC vendors, wedded to their revenue from endpoints, will make similar moves towards headsets.

As customers start to adopt more soft-phone and mobile client software, the need for good quality, affordable headsets are too much of an attractive market for traditional UC vendors not to pursue.

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