What is going on at ShoreTel now?
I very seldom comment, in this technology blog, on company policy and just try to stay focused on VoIP. This time I am speaking out as a ShoreTel Shareholder.You know, one of the people who bought into the $10 a share IPO (at about the time they were suddenly sued by Mitel for patent infringement)? ShoreTel stock (SHOR) is now trading at $3.50 or so? The company has been through at least three CEOs post start up. They are now scouting for yet another. Every key executive in the non-Engineering side of the house has jumped ship. What do you do when your key sales people go to work for a competitor, like Mitel? What signal does that send to the market?
ShoreTel had a real lead on VoIP technology. They make excellent products. They have had, and still have, some really great people! Leadership, at this point, is lacking.There have been some clear mistakes! Acquiring a “hosted PBX company” that cannot even use ShoreTel phones? Come on, I know I am a bit dense but really? (Note: “Follow the Money”.) The acquisition of the Mobility Router company, Agito Networks, made some strategic sense, but there has been no real follow through. (The secret weapon that was acquired from Agito was the SIP over TLS, which should have replaced the OEM VPN strategy ages ago, and built into ShoreTel phones and Gateways.) Just like their OEM acquisitions of previous products like the conference server, this will end up being yet another boat anchor!
I was hopeful that someone would buy ShoreTel before it becomes another Altigen (ATGN)! When I see Directors and the company’s own counsel filing Form 4s with the SEC, that does not sound very likely either. ShoreTel was the iPhone/iPad but like those products, it has fallen behind. The competitors are moving in with updated solutions and it has lost its luster. The adopted cloud strategy was a poorly placed wager on what could have been a winning strategy. They have missed the Virtualization market completely. Actually, very sad indeed! Maybe Mitel (MITL) does have it right? Maybe these two companies will merge? Why not, most of their executives have?