"Jury’s out” over 8x8 Solution's battle with Microsoft Lync for UC supremacy


by Joe Curtis| 21 February 2014

The former Voicenet Solutions firm believes it can challenge the giants with new financial backing.

A UK-based unified communications firm is set to take Microsoft Lync "head on" after being acquired by 8x8 late last year.

Voicenet Solutions was rebranded 8x8 Solutions after the $18.4m take over, and its CEO told CBR its new financial backing means it is prepared to challenge UC stalwart Lync.

Kevin Scott-Cowell said: "We can take them head on, particularly Lync. I think we have a good competitive product that will challenge that in many cases. The jury's out.

"[The acquisition was] a massive shot in the arm. 8x8 is sitting on a couple of hundred million dollars in cash and no debt, so we can invest that to build a base for the long term."

8x8 extended its reach into the UK with the purchase of Voicenet last December, and Scott-Cowell said the British company will be used as a platform to grow out across Europe.

Under its new owner, 8x8 Solutions' market spend is tripling, as well as the number of staff growing by an extra 15-20 employees to hit around 60.

But Scott-Cowell admitted that the UC business's mobility and interoperability strategy will have to improve as it competes with the likes of Lync.

"I guess there were a lot of things in our past that weren't fully featured," he conceded.

"We will focus on full functionality for various mobile devices and interoperability with laptop and smartphone. That is a must.

"Going back two or three years we didn't have that, we had clunky add-ons which didn't quite reach our targets. That fully-featured mobility is important."

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