Abandoning the Service Industry
In 1987, a newly constituted Board of Directors proposed a change in management and appointed a new and inexperienced CEO President. Paul Finnigan remained as Chairman providing strategic planning for the company. At a board
meeting a short time later, The new President proposed a major change in Voicemail's market direction whereby Voicemail would no longer build large scale voice systems for Telecoms and Information providers but rather build smaller
voice systems for the enterprise market.
Chairman Finnigan argued that in the end voicemail messaging would be primarily a service business and the Bell Operating companies and Public Telephone companies would be the sole provider to businesses and consumers along with the paging, mobile, wireless and other communication services they had provided since the founding of the communications industry. In addition, airlines, entertainment companies, news agencies and call centers would require large scale Voicemail systems for delivering information.
Furthermore, Finnigan envisioned that eventually PABX manufactures would integrate voicemail into their telephone platforms and stand-alone systems and companies that provide them would be acquired by these equipment manufacturers. In any event, Finnigan believed it was too late to enter the enterprise market given that it would take time to design and build a new platform and that by then Octel, Centigram, Converse and others will have captured the market they already dominated.
The majority of the Board accepted the Presidents proposal and funded the development of the new platform to be marketed to the enterprise market. The company's service business would be shut down and customer base left abandoned.
THE BOARD CHOSE TO TRADE A THRIVING GLOBAL SUCCESS FOR A GOOD CHANCE AT A DISASTER!