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On May 22, Toshiba officially closed their business phone division. Understandably, many Toshiba customers and partners were very surprised by the abruptness of Toshiba's exit from the market, and many are concerned. Some of you have worked with Toshiba for decades and now have a major hole in your service offerings. 

What Happened And Why?

Toshiba was a major player in the traditional PBX market in the 1990s and early 2000s and was highly regarded by partners, customers, and competitors. However, the company never successfully made the jump to VoIP once that technology started gaining prominence. Toshiba's initial digital hybrid solution, CTX, was released in the early 2000s but was never competitive with companies who put a greater focus on software rather than hardware.

In 2011, Toshiba released IPEdge to compete with companies like Star2Star, ShoreTel, and Mitel, but they were already many years behind unfortunately. IPEdge was widely considered an inferior product, and it never had the level of support from Toshiba that competitors provided their offerings. Toshiba was never a VoIP innovator, but their offering fell further and further behind. Complicating matters was Toshiba's insistence on providing backwards compatibility with  their increasingly out-of-date premise-based systems, which made IPEdge cumbersome and confusing to use for most customers.

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What Happens Now?

The impact on Toshiba customers will be mixed. For some, the consequences will be devastating operationally and economically, while others will experience little more than a moderate annoyance. Toshiba will honor warranties, but only while supplies last. Once contract terms are up, they cannot be renewed. Companies with Toshiba systems who are planning on expansion will face particular difficulties, as system-specific hardware is sure to be harder to find as well as more expensive. Additionally, the regular feature enhancements and upgrades that VoIP customers have become accustomed to will cease.

Small local dealers who have the most investment in Toshiba will be among the hardest hit, as they are the least likely to have diversified product options. Although the timetable will be different for every Toshiba dealer and customer, eventually a replacement strategy will need to be devised.

What Options Do Toshiba Dealers Have?

While Toshiba no longer offers Unified Communications services, Star2Star's unique Full Spectrum Communications will stand the test of time. Star2Star wishes to support Toshiba partners to help get them through this transition. Providing unparalleled reliability, call quality, and business continuity for your customers and unmatched flexibility, support, and earnings potential for you, Star2Star is here to fill whatever gaps your business or your customers might experience. 


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