Citel and MCK Communications

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Citel and MCK Communications

That's funny... I came across an announcement I didn't hear much about in the VoIP blogosphere - that is Citel acquired MCK Communications last week. MCK Communications "pioneered" the idea of "remote voice extenders" (along with Datarace - now defunct I believe) - and their later models leveraged VoIP.

I've tested MCK's remote extender products in the past, which basically are remote extenders to remotely extend your office extension. They were initially ISDN-based extenders (not IP-based), allowing you to receive/make phone calls using a digital phone in your home which was then routed to your office's PBX over the ISDN connection.

Essentially, you could hook up your digital phone (Lucent, Nortel, Comdial, etc.) to the device and it would emulate the proprietary digital phone's signals and then transmit the signals to the office PBX where a MCX server connected to the PBX. I should point out that in addition to ISDN they then offered an IP-based model that worked pretty well.

The technology was certainly sound, but I guess it was surpassed by newer technologies such as ATAs with call forwarding, SIP-based gateways, etc. That and the fact that people are trying to get away from proprietary digital phones. Still, there are plenty of digital phones on the market and I'm sure there is still a strong market for IP-based remote extenders that can emulate digital phones - especially in the SMB, which cannot afford to swap out their PBXs with a new fandangled IP-PBX.

In any event, here's the release:

Citel Technologies Acquires Assets of MCK Communications from Verso

(Seattle, WA--January 24, 2005) -- Citel Technologies, a global provider of IP telephony and communications solutions, announced that it has acquired the assets of MCK Communications, Inc. (MCK), a leading provider of distributed voice solutions for the extended enterprise, from Verso Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSO), an integrated communications solutions company.

Citel issued Verso a $3.5 million secured interest-bearing note, payable over three years and has assumed certain obligations associated with the MCK business. In addition, most of the Verso employees working in the MCK business will become employees of Citel or its subsidiaries.

"As we discussed in our mid-quarter update call and as we have stated over the last several months, Verso intends to focus on next generation carrier solutions," said Steve Odom, Verso's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "To that end, we believe that the disposition of the MCK business makes sense at this time. Verso has benefited from the relationship with MCK with regard to our carrier strategy, specifically in gaining a better understanding of the opportunity of handset technologies that can be sold through carriers. Furthermore, we believe that the MCK business will be better positioned for growth as part of a company that focuses on the enterprise segment. We wish all the MCK employees the best."

"We are delighted to add MCK to our product portfolio," stated Michael Robinson, Citel's Chief Executive Officer. "The MCK products are an excellent fit for Citel in terms of technology and platforms, and acquiring access to MCK's distribution channels will expand the market reach of our award winning CitelLink Handset Gateway product line. Citel welcomes MCK's talented employees to our team. Together we will accelerate our mission to deliver advanced telephony applications to a broad range of enterprises in a very practical and cost-effective manner. Given the synergies between MCK and Citel, we expect this to have a positive impact on Citel's earnings from day one."

About Verso Technologies
Verso is a leading provider of next generation communication solutions for carriers and service providers that want to lower their communication infrastructure costs and enhance service capabilities without sacrificing reliability, scalability and quality of service. With an extensive solutions portfolio that extends from the core to the edge of a network, Verso enables customers to leverage legacy technology investments towards converged networks that are faster and more cost-effective to deploy and easier and more flexible to manage. Verso solutions are currently deployed in thousands of customer networks in over 120 countries around the world. For more information, contact Verso at www.verso.com or call 678.589.3500.

About Citel Technologies
Citel Technologies is a global provider of unique IP telephony and converged communications solutions, which bridge the two worlds of traditional PBX telephones and next generation IP PBX and SIP systems. Citel works in partnership with world leading telecom equipment manufacturers and suppliers with the goal of simplifying and accelerating the transition to next generation communications solutions. The CitelLink Handset Gateway product line enables enterprise customers to migrate their telephone networks from traditional PBX systems to IP Telephony while still retaining their existing traditional business telephones, thereby saving half the cost of migration. Citel is a private company with offices in Nottingham, England (UK), and Seattle, Washington (USA). Citel's products are sold through a global network of independent dealers and computer resellers, as well as through strategic relationships with industry leaders such as 3Com, BroadSoft, Mitel Networks, and Sylantro Systems. For more information, please visit www.citel.com.

About MCK
MCK Communications develops and markets distributed voice solutions that cost-effectively create a more open and interconnected business telephony environment, providing enterprises with extended business reach, lowered communications costs and options for flexible migration to next generation environments, while empowering individuals with portable business telephony. With more than 400,000 ports shipped worldwide, MCK EXTender products are highly-scalable distributed telephony gateways capable of simply and cost-effectively implementing telework, virtual call center, or other remote program.



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