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As financials go, things haven't been entirely rosy. Following several strong quarters in 2011, Polycom during its first quarter of 2012 reported lower-than-expected revenue and a whopping 56 percent profit decline. Things looked up in second quarter, with $359 million in revenue, up 5 percent year-over-year. Third quarter was less certain: revenue of $335 million, down 6 percent year-over-year, though as Polycom indicated, at the higher end of its expectations.
But if Polycom has a tough time convincing some financial analysts of its growth prospects, it's made up for a lot of that skepticism in tech industry analyst notices, which are currently some of the best in its history.
The consensus of several analyst reports was that despite a softening videoconferencing market overall, Polycom in the first and second quarters of 2012 gained about 8 points of enterprise videoconferencing market share. Much of that came at the expense of Cisco, whose overall collaboration business has struggled in recent quarters, and in 2010 and 2011 angered many a partner during the messy integration of Tandberg.
Miller is confident Polycom seized that opportunity appropriately and earned partner loyalty as a result.
"I wouldn't use the word 'exploited' because I think we outmaneuvered them. Nothing was a gift," Miller said. "We knew they were going through challenges in terms of product, people and consolidation and I think we did a good job leveraging our product road map for the channel. We want our partners going in leading with Polycom, and feel that they're selling better products for more margin."
Forrester Research's third-quarter "Wave" report on room-based videoconferencing, released in August, detailed how Polycom is set up to thrive in an environment where businesses want to use videoconferencing both in the office and via mobile devices but need integration with SIP-based UC environments, better pricing and better skills to bring down some of the barriers to use.
Forrester put Polycom slightly ahead of Cisco in terms of overall market leadership with products, strategy and partner programs each taken into account.
"Polycom has a diverse portfolio of endpoints including a range of options for immersive telepresence," wrote Forrester analysts. "It is not an end-to-end provider of UC, networking equipment and collaboration software, but through technology partnerships (with Microsoft in particular), it provides video endpoints that work well in multivendor environments. Many of its endpoints also interoperate natively with popular nonstandard protocols and codecs."
The CloudAxis launch itself brought a lion's share of accolades. Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner with Wainhouse Research, described it as akin to the "innovation and vision that made Polycom an early market leader in video collaboration."
"Make no mistake: We are seeing Polycom 2.0," Weinstein said at the time.
NEXT: Polycom's Channel Chops