Mitel to Acquire Polycom: How Will This Affect Microsoft & Skype for Business?


There have been rumblings that Mitel is interested in acquiring Polycom and now that is no longer rumor: Mitel announces a definitive agreement to acquire Polycom in a press release this morning.

Polycom currently is a major partner of Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365 Cloud PBX. How could this affect this partnership?

  • The press release notes Polycom will be retained as a brand
  • The press release mentions “Deep product integration with Microsoft solutions” as a key customer benefit.

Currently Mitel (previously Aastra) has 1 Skype for Business certified IP phone at and if my memory serves me correct they had 2 at acquisition time. Polycom has 15 for comparison. The highest next vendor in IP phones is AudioCodes/Yealink at 3.


In Skype for business certified meeting room systems Polycom has 14 and the next vendor, SMART, has 6 to give a bit of a sense of the Polycom/Microsoft partnership compared to other vendors.


One observation from a Skype for Business perspective is that in Mitel’s past acquisition of Aastra (which included Lync Phone Edition IP desk phone models) and Prairie Fyre (a Lync Contact Center which Mitel has branded as MiContact) the Skype for Business (Lync) assets did not seem to maintain as high visibility in the Skype for Business eco system.

Polycom is far stronger in the Microsoft/Skype for Business eco system than either Aastra or Prairie Fyre. Polycom is Microsoft’s strongest IP desk phone and video partner at this time and recently has done, and is continuing to do, a lot of aggressive work at making their devices integrated with Skype for Business & Office 365 Cloud PBX. In Mitel’s “key customer benefits” calls out “Deep product integration with Microsoft solutions” as a value which Mitel wants to bring this value to their portfolio.

How will this affect Microsoft & Skype for Business? I would like to hear your opinions.

Skype for Business CCE–Cloud Connect Edition Has Been Released

Microsoft wants you to be able to use Office 365 Cloud PBX even if you still want to use your existing PSTN connections and the solution is a suite of virtual machines that enable a PSTN gateway on your premise.

In the past we have helped various customers that wanted a small Skype for Business (Lync) implementation and even wrote Technet article that dealt with the issues of small implementations. Interestingly the CCE is attempting to address a somewhat similar scenario and a somewhat different way: Have the Skype for Business Cloud PBX workload being handled by Office 365 Cloud PBX and a lite suite of VMs that essentially enable a gateway to connect to Office 365.

A question that might come up for very small sites: Why not use the VM’s to run Skype for Business Server itself ? Here are some reasons I think of immediately:

  • Office 365 Cloud PBX also includes the Voicemail workload (which would be another server in Exchange UM if doing on premises setup)
  • No need for an onsite SharePoint Server for hosting PowerPoint for meetings
  • Ability to do Skype for Business Broadcast Meetings
  • Get Office 365 resiliency you likely won’t have on a small Skype for Business Server setup

Go get it!


Plan for Skype4B CCE: