With Toshiba Exiting North American Telecom Market, UC Specialist Teo Starts Wooing Partners With New Channel Program

In the wake of Toshiba America Information Systems saying last month that it is exiting the telecommunications market in North America, unified communications specialist Teo Technologies launched a new partner program aiming to win over the company's channel partners.

Toshiba will shut down its Telecommunication Systems Division in North America, a subsidiary based in Irvine, Calif., that sells VoIP offerings, according to a letter from Toshiba to partners dated March 21, 2017, that was obtained by CRN.

"Toshiba is just another example of a technology player that is realizing that making a transition to cloud is not just an important offering, it's an absolute necessity -- especially in the SMB marketplace where most of their base resided," said Joe Rittenhouse, president of business development and managing partner at Converged Technology Professionals, a Crystal Lake, Ill.-based solution provider that specializes in unified communications.

[Related: 5 New Partner Programs That Networking Partners Need To Know About]

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Teo is trying to capitalize on Toshiba's departure by wooing over its partners with a new on-boarding program designed to help former Toshiba resellers hit the ground running.

The program includes free online technical training and certifications, online sales training, PC/Mac and iOS/Android UC applications, and a reduced-price endpoint demo starter package.

Teo also will provide bottom-line price-matching on all outstanding customer proposals as well as a special system change-out pricing to support installed customers looking to make a transition, according to Thomas Beck, director of marketing and business development for Teo, Mukilteo, Wash.

"There's a lot of value in the Toshiba channel," said Beck in an interview with CRN. "These resellers have been around with Toshiba for 30 years and have the depth of technical expertise and a domain knowledge that we would really love to tap into and become part of the Teo program.

"Toshiba's decision to exit the market was as surprising to us as it was to much of their reseller network," said Beck. "We've got a great program and it's very familiar to what we've heard from other Toshiba resellers."

Toshiba did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Teo touts itself as a leader in unified communications and contact center targeting the commercial, government and public sector markets. Teo has "invested heavily in automating our learning environment," Beck said.

"We have one of the easiest-to-manage and -deploy platforms out there, very partner-friendly technology. We're able to deliver a lot more applications and a lot more value to the end users and partners because of it," said Teo's Beck.

Toshiba Telecommunication Systems Division partners have until May 22 to place their last orders, according to the letter sent to partners.

"To make the change in corporate strategy now, I presume [the company] realized that the costs to change the business model are too big and they are too late to react, thus they need to abandon the marketplace altogether," said Converged Technology Professionals' Rittenhouse. "8X8, RingCentral, Vonage, ShoreTel, Mitel, etc. -- they all made these moves years ago and they still are fighting through the change, and the business impact to every manufacturer and VAR is very real."