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Author Topic: Polycom acquires Obihai Technology  (Read 11186 times)
Taoman
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« on: January 04, 2018, 01:58:25 pm »

Didn't see this one coming:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/04/business-wire-polycom-announces-agreement-for-strategic-acquisition-of-obihai-technology.html
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drgeoff
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 03:45:51 pm »

Hmm!

Could be good.  Could be bad.  Time will tell.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 04:48:17 pm »

I exchanged emails with Obihai today.  They're all very happy about this, as it will enable the combined company to provide more products, better documentation and support, and greater market share for future company stability and growth.  It's bad news for their competition.   Wink

There is no impact to any of the current OBi products from an operational or warranty perspective.

Personally, I've used Polycom conference and speaker phones for decades, and they're outstanding products.  I see this as very good news for both companies.
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Taoman
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 05:10:35 pm »

I exchanged emails with Obihai today.  They're all very happy about this, as it will enable the combined company to provide more products, better documentation and support, and greater market share for future company stability and growth.

It would certainly be nice to have better documentation and support.........especially on this forum.

Can't help but wonder if CEO Jan Fandrianto is going stick around after the acquisition, though. He hasn't in the past.

https://plus.google.com/+w8sdz/posts/F28wyWW6MJP
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 05:59:58 pm »

That's glass-half-empty speculation.  If you look at that article, he spun off the technology to Sipura, and then started Obihai to continue developing and selling SIP VoIP products.  He hasn't been like the typical "serial entrepreneur", who jumps from one start-up to another, different type of venture.
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ceg3
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 06:28:50 am »

Nobody knows at this point, but I wonder if the take over will mean new life for ASP's?
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RFC3261
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 11:35:51 am »

....especially on this forum.
While making predictions is hard (especially about the future), I would actually expect that this forum will (eventually) get migrated (or closed) in preference to the existing Polycom community (one community to rule them all) as part of any eventual rebranding and integration.
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RFC3261
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 11:50:23 am »

...  as it will enable the combined company to provide more products
But there is also some product overlap (VoIP desktop phones), which in most acquisitions tends to mean some consolidation/alignment will occur for future products.

Do you have any experience with the current Polycom IP phone line compared to the current OBi IP phones?  What features would a best of both worlds IP phone have (and which features would come from which line)?
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 02:56:27 pm »

...  as it will enable the combined company to provide more products
But there is also some product overlap (VoIP desktop phones), which in most acquisitions tends to mean some consolidation/alignment will occur for future products.

Do you have any experience with the current Polycom IP phone line compared to the current OBi IP phones?  What features would a best of both worlds IP phone have (and which features would come from which line)?

I do expect that they will eventually merge the two companies' IP phone product lines somehow, but not in the near term.  Polycom's products have had outstanding audio quality and reliability for years, and I suspect they'll evaluate many factors, such as manufacturing cost, market surveys, support cost, and features, before changing anything.  Since the SIP IP phone market is pretty mature, the features and settings available on the two companies' products won't be that different, nor that big of a decision-point as the other factors (with the obvious exception of Google Voice, and of Obihai's remote management and provisioning expertise for carriers and ITSPs).
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Marc
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 08:45:31 am »

As someone who has come to rely on the Google Voice since it's beginnings in 2009 and the OBi products since 2011 for my telephone, it worries me that a large company like Polycom may not choose to maintain the relationship that Obi/Google have nursed along.  I didn't read anything in the Polycom press release to indicate one way or another.

I certainly hope OBi made it a priority in their agreement that the GV connection service would remain a stable part of their portfolio.
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OBi110 (stored in closet now,) OBi202 x 14, OBi1032 x 3, OBi1062 x 3
IterationIsFailure
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 06:00:00 pm »

"Polycom Announces Agreement for Strategic Acquisition of Obihai Technology"

Lovely....The keyword that says it all is right in front of us...."Strategic", which means... OBI has a huge user base, so let's monetize it.

Translate to.... Expect to get screwed over as the end user consuming a product you were sold and marketing as never having a monthly fee. They will find ways to screw with us to eek in MRC (monthly reccuring charges). They always do.

Once the "just out of college, gotta justify that loan" kid consultants enter the fray and due-diligence begins (which I'm sure it already has), we will look like low hanging fruit and we'll be added as a contribution "savings" spreadsheet. Then comes "Change in terms in conditions", which will probably knock off all your connections without warning (BAU with acquisition incompetence) to force you to sign with heavy hand a new agreement which states they can charge monthly, then come the fees and nickel and diming...

We are and will be viewed as freeloaders (in their view - even though they, OBIHAI marketed and sold their product as never having a monthly fee). When and if this should occur,  I hope the class action lawyers are geared up and ready to jump on this. Since idiot MBA's seem to be behind nearly every bad decision nowadays, keep an eye out for the internal decision makers that possess this "quality". It will be painful. Time to look for alternatives.

And to OBIHAI - If I'm flat out wrong on all the above, now would be a good time to put your post acquisition commitment in writing. Please release a statement with specific guarantees to existing users that no change in service will occur and existing services will remain without incremental (gotta pay for that acquisition) costs passed to the end user.  If you fail to do this, then you choosing to passively acknowledge what is stated above.
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WelshPaul
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2018, 02:56:37 am »

OBIHAI prices doubled here in the UK just after the announcement so it doesn't look good!
https://www.ukvoipforums.com/viewtopic.php?p=5147#p5141
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RFC3261
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2018, 10:16:55 am »

Lovely....The keyword that says it all is right in front of us...."Strategic", which means...
Strategic means that OBi had *something* Polycom wanted.  It could be the potential of service fees (as you jumped to), but it could also be that there is some specific IP, or specific people, that OBi has/had that were desirable to acquire (often multiple of those things).

While it is certainly possible to spread FUD, facts still usually matter for the educated, and we have very few facts at this point as to what the direct impact will be on the OBi products, capabilities, and support going forward.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 11:06:10 am »

Quote
While it is certainly possible to spread FUD, facts still usually matter for the educated, and we have very few facts at this point as to what the direct impact will be on the OBi products, capabilities, and support going forward.

Exactly this.  Without any actual evidence, speculating about this is of no value.
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IterationIsFailure
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 02:10:38 pm »

Lovely....The keyword that says it all is right in front of us...."Strategic", which means...
Strategic means that OBi had *something* Polycom wanted.  It could be the potential of service fees (as you jumped to), but it could also be that there is some specific IP, or specific people, that OBi has/had that were desirable to acquire (often multiple of those things).

While it is certainly possible to spread FUD, facts still usually matter for the educated, and we have very few facts at this point as to what the direct impact will be on the OBi products, capabilities, and support going forward.

I understand what you're saying, and I respect your point of view, but would like to understand how you personally define "fact"? A press release? An official posting in the forums? You also seem to imply (although perhaps it wasn't your intent) I am not educated yet ironically no "facts" are provided to back such a statement.  Wink

To clarify my post, it was actually intended to avoid FUD, thus my ask to OBI to make their position known.

All of the alleged "FUD" was based on historical fact with M&A activity (especially with tech companies) as I encourage anyone to name one acquisition that was net-positive for employees and customers which either didn't lead to immediate product retirement, new fees, massive layoffs, pass-the-buck outsourcing with reliability going down hill (with later layoffs), and/or massive firmware issues and non-responsiveness.(i.e. tenured people bail, newbies have no clue and jack it up).

Failure on our part to be proactive as consumers means the inverse opposite reaction becomes true in that we are forced to be reactive. Not sure about you, but I'd rather ask, make concerns known upfront, then sit around and wait for the outcome, which historical fact says is not good.

Bottom-line - I really want to be wrong about all this. I really do. But history says otherwise. I've been using my OBI202 for years without as even having to worry. That won't be the case now. After OBI's forced firmware update which blatantly disrespected user settings to disable FW updates, this only amplifies the point I'm trying to make above.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2018, 09:29:45 pm »

I have to agree with RFC3261:  you may not be aware of the opinions and assumptions behind your posts, but you are starting off from the position that mergers are almost always bad (completely unfounded) and companies are evil, not interested in customer satisfaction (completely unfounded).  So you are making baseless accusations first, then insisting that they be disproved.  

This is not much different than saying "The sun isn't going to come up tomorrow.  I won't believe anything to the contrary unless you can prove otherwise".

If you would simply read the press release (click the banner at the top of the forum), it clearly states:

Quote
After completion of the deal, Polycom expects to add more cloud-based capabilities and Analog Terminal Adapter solutions to its solutions portfolio. The combination is expected to expand the markets available to Polycom solutions for both the company and its worldwide network of channel partners.

The deal is expected to close early in first quarter of this year.

If the leaders of the two companies posted here, swearing on a stack of virtual bibles, and put one billion dollars in escrow, would you then trust them?  I suspect not.
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IterationIsFailure
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2018, 06:47:54 am »

I have to agree with RFC3261:  you may not be aware of the opinions and assumptions behind your posts, but you are starting off from the position that mergers are almost always bad (completely unfounded) and companies are evil, not interested in customer satisfaction (completely unfounded).  So you are making baseless accusations first, then insisting that they be disproved.  

This is not much different than saying "The sun isn't going to come up tomorrow.  I won't believe anything to the contrary unless you can prove otherwise".

If you would simply read the press release (click the banner at the top of the forum), it clearly states:

Quote
After completion of the deal, Polycom expects to add more cloud-based capabilities and Analog Terminal Adapter solutions to its solutions portfolio. The combination is expected to expand the markets available to Polycom solutions for both the company and its worldwide network of channel partners.

The deal is expected to close early in first quarter of this year.

If the leaders of the two companies posted here, swearing on a stack of virtual bibles, and put one billion dollars in escrow, would you then trust them?  I suspect not.

I promise, I’m not trying to be a downer here - just trying to be realistic. I do appreciate your optimism and in fact, I want to be wrong and perhaps this deal will be a historical first. As a consumer, I value OBI for being out of sight and out of mind. No fees. No worries. In essence, today’s model you pay a fair upfront  cost for the hardware and set and forget. I assume we’re both in the same boat of wanting one less product playing the “gotcha” game of chess with cost, service or features, so thus my concerns?

I actually do not think the vast majority of companies or people for that matter are evil. I do however think leaders and companies make bad decisions and then are forced to recover, which is exponentially costly and not linear as one might assume. How companies recover is the sum total of the concerns I’ve expressed. Not evil, but pun intended a “necessary evil” to cover bad decision making.

I’ll explain. Start with the understanding all companies, which Polycom is, are in business to make money, as they should. That in and of itself is not a bad thing and that’s capitalism. Understand no one in their right mind expends the human and financial capital to initiate an acquisition with the intent to take on and bear incremental cost (net of revenue) long term.

There is always a financial benefit and payback period associated with these type of deals. M&A at the highest level is solely for financial gain, which may be derived from acquiring a combination of human, intellectual and physical capital as part of the deal. People. Paper. Product.  

The marketing magic puff piece you reference (press release) I would pay zero mind to. I highly doubt this is about adding analog POTS equipment as quoted. Polycom is already one of the leaders in this space and if memory serves, that is the playground is which they stated. Adding cloud capabilities, perhaps.

So, in my experience, being on multiple ends of M&A activity (living through it, providing decision support for it and being the recipient as a consumer many times over and over) M&A activities are rarely good for the consumer and a crapshoot for the employees.

Should we worry for the next 6 months, probably not. Give it about a year. If financial and deal objectives are missed, then that will likely triggers typical knee jerk changes, which I’ve over simplify recovery options  to illustrate how this could impact us... some options are.... 1) Sell more 2) Borrow more 3) Downsize or “rightsize”, 4) Product retirement, which enables you to downsize 5) Addition of monthly fees or.....for the super lazy that which to only push paper .... 6) Outsource part of your operations. Everything is a push and pull and net positive is the game they’ll play.

Now, please don’t take my word on any of this... You can ask Harvard Business Review or the multiple studies which cite M&A failure rates ....HBR I do think sums it up best... “When a CEO wants to boost corporate performance or jump-start long-term growth, the thought of acquiring another company can be extraordinarily seductive. Indeed, companies spend more than $2 trillion on acquisitions every year. Yet study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%.

https://hbr.org/2011/03/the-big-idea-the-new-ma-playbook

So, to answer your last comment about leaders posting and believing them... I would believe them. Please go back and re-read my post. It was my specific ask for either OBI or Polycom to put their commitment in writing like many large companies do when M&A is announced. If they state in writing no changes, then.... hallelujah! Case closed. That would be great and this issue and thread would be put to rest. If they say nothing, as is the case in many instances, historical fact and personal experience by default serves as the guide of what to expect.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 06:51:25 am by IterationIsFailure » Logged
StevePierce
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2018, 04:58:37 am »

Anyone else notice the link to the Polycom site about this announcement no longer works. Is the deal dead?
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drgeoff
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2018, 05:30:11 am »

Anyone else notice the link to the Polycom site about this announcement no longer works. Is the deal dead?
Looks more like a general problem with part of the Polycom site.  I cannot find any press releases using http://www.polycom.com/company/news/press-releases.html
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Lavarock7
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2018, 07:12:20 pm »

https://web.archive.org/web/20180107094918/http://www.polycom.com/company/news/press-releases/2018/20180104.html
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