Is Shoretel the Next Nortel? – Part Deux

A Great Dialogue

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article about the competitive nature of PBX manufacturing and how the industry has always experienced a steady turnover of market leaders over time. 

It apparently hit a nerve.

The article’s main point was that while every dog has its day, those days are often numbered by rapid technology changes and the brutal nature of the competitive marketplace. 

I used Shoretel as an example of this phenomenon. 

I explained that Shoretel’s proprietary technology, fanatic following, premium pricing and sniffy management were common with many bygone organizations.

And by the way, they’re not alone. Much the same could be said about two or three other competitors in the business.

The Comments Tell the Story

Comments on the post came fast and furious:

Bernad Gutnick – Senior Director of Product Marketing at Shoretel

 “Thank you for your amusing post..…it’s so unfortunate you are under pressure to post such inaccurate information…..You may find attending an anger management class to be valuable.”

Ironically, Mr. Gutnick worked for Nortel, my primary example of a fallen giant. I could well have used GoBeam, another failed company Mr. Gutnick also worked for.

Mr. Gutnick went on to make the point that Shoretel was not the “Next Nortel”, citing Shortel’s 21,000 customers. I must remind him that Nortel had sold over 1 million phone systems before they ended up in the Telecom Hall of Infamy.

An End User Customer

“I recently got a Shoretel quote and to me it looked like an old-school PBX vendor quote with tons of add-ons, options, extras and technical jargon. Bad move. I was able to do the same project with a newer PBX entrant for about 50% less than the ShoreTel solution…”

An Anonymous Commenter

“Why buy a proprietary hardware based solution that (like Shortel) that requires that you stack all these boxes together? They should follow in the footsteps of Mitel and Cisco with solutions that can be virtualized. There should be no need for proprietary servers in this day and age.”

Brian Lemish 

“This useless negativity actually puts Digium and the combative sales person in a negative position…this whole Asterisk thing is a nice experiment for the 20 user community that has lots of time to fiddle”. 

Nice to see that not everyone agreed with my opinon of Shoretel and I thought that this was a good point. I don’t wish to be seen as combative. 


I found it refreshing to have a frank conversation about the ups and downs of going with a proprietary solution. By engaging the community, we get issues out in the open and have valuable discussions about problems that have dogged this industry for years.

Just as open source has had a huge impact on the computer industry, I believe it will have a similar impact on telephony. At Teledynamic Communications, we are committed to advancing open source as a viable and less expensive alternative to the overpriced, proprietary vendors many companies are stuck with today. 

I welcome more healthy debate in the future. 

If your company is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and you’re interested in saving money on your next phone system, contact TeleDynamic. We Get It.

We offer business-class communication solutions with responsive local support

To learn more, call us today at (510) 785-2480