ShoreTel To Acquire Agito Networks

ShoreTel Thursday said it will acquire fixed mobile convergence vendor Agito Networks for about $11.4 million. The move gives UC-savvy ShoreTel a fast-growth vendor with both an intensive focus on the mobility space and an expanding channel footprint.

Founded in 2006, Agito has been focused on UC products that integrate with an enterprise's existing PBX infrastructure to enable voice calls over VoIP connections. International cell phone calls being as expensive as they are, Agito's aim has been to extend enterprise UC functionality to mobile devices while reducing calling costs and making mobile communications less cumbersome.

"The smartphone is changing the way people work, and knowledge workers almost universally have a smartphone in their pocket," said Kevin Gavin, ShoreTel's vice president of marketing, in an interview with CRN. "Not only are they communication devices, but they're also where people get their news, sports, directions, whatever, and the idea of essentially making that smartphone an extension of their work phone is a very powerful concept. That's the holy grail: a seamless mobility solution that just works where anybody is."

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Agito's 17 employees, including its co-founders, CTO Tim Olson and Chief Marketing Officer Pejman Roshan, will all join ShoreTel, based in nearby Sunnyvale. Agito's flagship RoamAnywhere Mobility Router will be rebranded as the Shoretel Mobility Solution.

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Earlier this year, Agito debuted Agito Global Enterprise, a slate of new products that included version 4.0 of RoamAnywhere, and enabling enterprise VoIP calls over 3G cellular networks.

NEXT: Converging Growth Paths

Agito's products are compatible with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as a number of Research In Motion BlackBerry devices, Nokia phones and Windows Mobile phones.

They're also UC vendor-agnostic, and include PBX and UC support for ShoreTel and many of ShoreTel's rival UC space vendors, including Cisco, Avaya, Mitel and Microsoft. That's not something ShoreTel plans to change, Gavin said, even as Agito becomes part of ShoreTel.

"We will continue to support the ShoreTel Mobility Solution with any flavor of PBX," he said. "Even if a customer is all-Avaya or all-Cisco, we will sell them ShoreTel Mobility on top of that PBX. Whether those vendors cooperate or not, we think that will be a big benefit to customers."

Agito's customers and emerging channel partner base also will give ShoreTel greater reach with enterprise customers, Gavin noted. While it does serve customers as big as 10,000 seats, ShoreTel is more traditionally known for its SMB and midmarket strongholds.

"But we have been pushing upmarket," Gavin added. "This changes the nature of the company in many ways. The Agito pipeline is far more diverse and skews larger."

NEXT: ShoreTel's CEO Search Continues

ShoreTel has continued to fine-tune its own UC platform and update its channel program, even as it searches for a new CEO.

Don Girskis, senior vice president of worldwide sales, was appointed interim CEO on Oct. 1 following former CEO John W. Combs' announcement this summer that he would step down.

"The search continues," said Gavin. "The process is thorough and the search committee is finding many good candidates. They're going through a vetting process but are not ready to make an announcement yet."

Combs had led ShoreTel since 2004.