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Polycom to acquire SpectraLink for $220 million

Deal gives Polycom Wi-Fi VoIP technology, stronger partnerships with VoIP system makers Avaya, Cisco and others

By Phil Hochmuth, Network World
February 07, 2007 05:19 PM ET

Network World - Polycom this week announced plans to acquire SpectraLink, a maker of Wi-Fi VoIP handsets, for $220 million.

The deal gives Polycom a complete wireless IP phone product set, and also strengthens its ties with such IP PBX system makers as VoIP Avaya, Cisco and Nortel, which resell SpectraLink technology and products as part of their respective wireless VoIP offerings.

SpectraLink makes 802.11-based IP telephone handsets and gateways. SpectraLink also makes devices that prioritize SpectraLink wireless LAN VoIP signals over other 802.11-based traffic, to provide QoS. The company's handsets are used in deployments with mobile workers, such as hospital, warehouses and public safety organizations. The company also makes dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets, which can operate on a corporate WLAN and PBX infrastructure, as well as on carrier cell phone networks.

Founded in 1990, Spectralink has 440 employees and is publicly traded. Polycom was founded in 1990 and has 1,200 employees worldwide.

Polycom makes traditional telephony conferencing equipment, teleconferencing gear, as well as Session Initiation Protocol and H.323-based IP telephones that are interoperable with a number of vendors, such as Avaya, Cisco, the open source Digium IP PBX and others.

The $220 million SpectraLink buyout could be a good bet for Polycom if industry analyst predictions on the Wi-Fi VoIP market pan out. Infonetics says the Wi-Fi IP phone market was around $535 million in 2006 — a 13% increase from the previous year. The analyst firm predicts shipments of Wi-Fi VoIP handsets will increase by 1300% by 2007, with consumer-focused providers such as Netgear, Cisco's Linksys and Skype driving the volume.

Polycom says it expects the all-cash SpectraLink acquisition to close in the second quarter of 2007.

Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.

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