Avaya laid claim to about 25 percent of worldwide PBX revenue in the second quarter of 2011, keeping ahead of Cisco for the third straight quarter, according to Infonetics Research.
Infonetics' second quarter report on Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP and TDM Equipment, released earlier this week, has Cisco as a close second to Avaya and leading Avaya in overall line shipments for PBX equipment.
"The top enterprise telephony vendors remain in a tight battle to gain new customers and hold onto existing ones as enterprises migrate to IP and unified communications solutions," wrote Diane Myers, Infonetics' directing analyst for VoIP and IMS, in the report summary.
Overall, said Infonetics, global PBX/KTS phone system revenue declined 2.3 percent from the first quarter of 2011, to about $2.02 billion. Still, it's up 3.9 percent from the year-ago quarter -- enough that Infonetics described the market in a state of "slow and steady recovery."
Global unified communications (UC) revenue increased 2.3 percent sequentially and hit about $112.4 million. Microsoft UC solutions are a big factor in that, continuing "to gain in deployments worldwide," according to Infonetics.
Pure IP PBXes are growing faster than any other line segment, and saw line shipments from 10.6 percent from the year-ago quarter, the researcher said.
Geographically, PBX revenue in Asia Pacific is up a sizable 29 percent year-over-year, while growth in North America and EMEA remains sluggish.
Even with Avaya and Cisco the dominant brands in the space, smaller UC companies see an opening.
Indeed, it was those smaller companies that made gains int eh second quarter, according to Infonetics. Aastra, Mitel and ShoreTel were the only vendors posting positive PBX revenue gains in the second quarter over the first quarter, the researcher said.
At the recent ShoreTel Champion Partner Conference in Chicago, for example, ShoreTel CEO Peter Blackmore urged channel partners to strike while the industry's major players are distracted, such as Avaya with its pending IPO and Cisco with its restructuring.
"The whole industry is distracted," said Blackmore. "Eventually competitors will get their act together. Let's not miss out on this opportunity."
Mitel, too, has charted a course for channel growth behind new CEO Richard McBee, who told CRN that Mitel has addressed its long-held channel conflict issues and is in its best position for growth in years.
"We're not the biggest in the market," McBee told CRN in June. "Cisco, Avaya, they're going to do what they do, they have a lot of channel partners. We want to be number two for a channel partner that has two lines. That 2,500 down to 100 marketplace, it's not as important to them to have Cisco or Avaya [products], and they're not going to get locked into an architecture with us."