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November 2007 | Volume 10/ Number 11
The Zippy Files

Dialogic and Cantata-Together Again for the First Time

As we were going to press, Dialogic Corporation announced it had acquired all of the outstanding shares of EAS Group Inc. which includes Cantata Technology, Inc. which is made up of the former Excel Switching Corporation and Brooktrout Technology, Inc. The results of this union should be impressive.

Back in the heyday of CTI, “computer telephony”, or whatever you want to call it, the industry had its Big Three: Dialogic, Natural MicroSystems (now NMS Communications) and Brooktrout, with its promotional calendars illustrated with beautiful drawings of trout (you were expecting supermodels maybe?).

Even though in 1994 Dialogic had acquired GammaLink, the company that had made the first computer fax board in 1985, Dialogic’s GammaFax boards were never as popular in the U.S. as Brooktrout’s, despite Dialogic’s superb marketing under then-CEO Howard Bubb. Fax was Brooktrout’s territory, to the tune of nearly 100% market penetration for PC boards in the U.S. Indeed, I can recall my former boss, Harry Newton, yelling to Brooktrout higher-ups that “You’re nothing but a fax company.” There was some truth to this at one point, since their forays into the nascent world of IP were not immediately successful. Eventually, however, leading IP Communications suppliers such as Nortel - then still called Northern Telecom - began to showcase applications developed with Brooktrout’s IP Telephony products. Even so, fax remained Brooktrout's strongpoint. The acquisition of Cantata’s Brooktrout fax technology by Dialogic should be the equivalent of finding the last piece in a big puzzle.

Throughout the 1990s, like the swallows visiting Capistrano, more than 200 beaming blue-shirted Dialogic employees would descend upon any given industry expo, scurrying about the cornucopia of new technology displayed in the company’s mammoth booths and those of its partners, before returning to roost back in Parsippany, New Jersey.

This was the era of fabulous parties. One of my best-remembered visits to the Windows on the World restaurant at the late, great World Trade Center was at a private function for telecom experts and magazine editors held one evening in September 1998 by Howard Bubb and Dialogic. As I wrote in one of my books, “In the days when telecom and the Internet were flying high in the economy, the Dialogic Corporation flew higher than them all. Not surprisingly, Dialogic always held the best parties, called Connection parties, at places such as Gotham Hall in Santa Monica, the Regency Club in Los Angeles and the Rainbow Room in New York. Dialogic would even provide bus transportation from local hotels to the parties, with champagne hors d’oeuvres served by waiters on the bus. When it was Windows on the World’s turn to host a Connection party, the food and drink were, as always, fantastic.”

1998 saw a major investment by Microsoft and 1999 climaxed with a buy-out by Intel. Even as an Intel company, Dialogic was still very much the bellwether of the computer telephony industry and a leading manufacturer of standards-based computer telephony hardware and software platforms, with millions of ports shipped worldwide. Dialogic then re-emerged as an independent company, and now it has acquired one of its long-time rivals.

We wish them the best of luck. IT

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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