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Unified Messaging Market Plummeted in First Half of 2009

November 23, 2009

Global mailbox shipments, a proxy for unified messaging, decreased by more than four million during the first six months of 2009 (down 28.4 percent) compared with the first half of 2008, said T3i Group’s latest data. Manufacturer revenue dropped even more sharply year over year, down 32.9 percent, to $405 million.

Given the "great recession" of 2008 and 2009, that likely comes as no surprise. The key point at this point in the cycle, though, is not to make the mistake of extrapolating a past trend into the future. That always produces mistakes, at inflection points, when the direction and volume are, by definition, changing.
The big question now is what the resumed growth curve will look like.
Avaya led in global revenues while Nortel experienced the most severe downturn in its messaging business, with shipments declining close to 50 percent. But Siemens, ShoreTel and Panasonic all managed to increase their global shipments during the first half of 2009, T3i said.
Unified messaging shipments, while down 12.4 percent in mailboxes and 21.3 percent in revenues, were the one bright spot.
For the first time, UM revenues exceeded those of voice mail, both globally and in the United States, and UM mailboxes exceeded voicemail in the United States, T31 said.
All global regions experienced declines, with the Caribbean and Latin America region down 43 percent, North America down 35 percent and Asia Pacific down 32 percent. Europe, Middle East, Africa experienced declines of about 13 percent each.
Manufacturers achieved success by bundling messaging with other applications, including unified communication packages.
“Despite price cuts and attractive bundling, the growth trend established during the past few years could not compete with the economy and resulting job declines, which forced enterprises to cut growth plans that could have required additional messaging capabilities,” said Ken Dolsky, T3i Group senior program director. “Going forward, we expect manufacturers to increase their use of UC bundling to offer attractively priced options, tie messaging to other powerful applications, improve mobile access and begin to reduce reliance on telephony sales as a pull-through for messaging.”

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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