Since the news emerged that Cisco would be acquiring videoconferencing vendor, speculation has run rampant as to what the next move would be for the only major independent player left in the space - Polycom.
Reportedly, the Pleasanton, California-based company has been exploring its options with the help of Morgan Stanley, including the possibility of a sale of the company. In fact, the company was in discussions earlier this year to merge with Siemens Enterprise Communications, but those talks stalled last month. A Siemens
deal would have been logical, bringing a vast voice and video communications
portfolio to a seasoned unified communications product line.
Is today's news that Robert Hagerty is stepping down as CEO, president, and chairman of Polycom part of the company's move to the future? It would seem so, based on comments from new chairman David Dewalt, who had been Polycom's lead independent director, noting that new CEO and president Andrew Miller "has been transformative in leading Polycom's shift to a more customer-centric execution model, which has already resulted in significant growth for the company."
There is little question the Cisco/Tandberg deal placed immense pressure on the Polycom Board to develop a new future roadmap for itself, which has included forging strategic alliance with HP, former suitor Siemens Enterprise
, and the #2 networking hardware manufacturer, Juniper Networks - in addition to existing partnerships with Microsoft
, and IBM
Despite relationships, the rumor mill continues to spin, looking for the next sign as to the direction Polycom will take. According to a Bloomberg report last month, figures from the 41 networking industry acquisitions over the past year suggest a Polycom acquisition could cost a bidder $3 billion. The
The question is, who will pay? What about HP?
It already bought smartphone maker Palm
, and last week, TMCnet's Alice Straight suggested
it could well be the Silicon Valley partner Sangoma has struck an OEM deal
with for its NetBorder Express gateway cards. Factoring in its relationship with Microsoft and integration with OCS, and looking at a broader unified communications portfolio, adding Polycom's product line and video expertise is an interesting - albeit expensive - proposition.
But, if HP is looking to make a major splash, adding Polycom into its fold would give it a product line few can compete with.