Watch the Mitel story through the eyes of its founder
Mitel is now the world's fastest growing Cloud Communications provider. But how did this company which started out in the lawnmower business, evolve into telecoms and cloud communications?
A history of Mitel
Launched in 1972, by British entrepreneurs Michael Cowpland and Sir Terry Matthews, the Mitel name is widely regarded as a combination of its founders' first names and first product – MIke and TErry's Lawnmowers.
After the lawnmowers they planned to sell were apparently lost in transit, Mitel quickly turned towards trading telephony products, after their initial venture into the market selling telephony tone receivers proved to be highly successful.
Acquiring Siltek, the company expanded into the semiconductor field, creating a division specialising in mixed signal and thick film hybrid devices. This allowed them to integrate chip technology with telephone systems – a key factor in the development of their first PBX telephone system.
Mitel introduced the SX2000 PBX telephone system.
Mitel reached the 100 million annual revenue mark with 6,400 employees in over 56 locations around the world.
British Telecom acquires a 51% interest in Mitel, investing 320 million.
Changes in British Telecom's strategic direction prompts the decision to sell their interest in Mitel, to Shroder Ventures.
Mitel achieves ISO 9000 certification across all of its factories and facilities.
Mitel acquires Global Village Communications Ltd, Telecoms Sciences Corporation Ltd, Plessey Semiconductor Group and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) Business unit of Centigram Communications Corporation. The latter enables them to add powerful voice and integrated messaging applications to their portfolio.
Co-founder Sir Terry Mathews buys 90% of the PBX side of the business. This creates a new chapter for the company with the development of a new PBX family based on Internet standards for Voice over IP (VoIP), which it trades under the name of Mitel Networks. The original company retains the semiconductor division and markets it under the new name of Zarlink to reflect its interest in networking.
The manufacturing arm is spun off out of Mitel Networks to become a contractor called Brecon Ridge.
Mitel acquires Inter-Tel for 723 million creating a formidable combined business with a strength in unified communications, networking, contact centers, mobility and collaboration.
Mitel acquires Aastra Technologies for 392 million, creating a global powerhouse with over 1 billion in annual revenues, with the largest market share in Western Europe.
The company introduces their new logo and 'Powering connections' strapline to reflect the 'unprecedented connected nature of the world we live in'.
Mitel acquires Mavenir Systems for 560 million, adding mobile Voice over LTE to the portfolio of the communications powerhouse.
The great British connection
Mitel's co-founders Sir Terry Matthews and Michael Cowpland were both born in Britain, in Newport and Bexhill-on-Sea respectively.
Having gained an honours degree in electronics from Swansea University in 1969, Sir Terry met fellow Mitel co-founder Michael Cowpland, when they were both working for Microsystems International.
Despite being a Canadian company, Mitel has maintained a strong British connection. They opened their first UK based manufacturing plant in Slough in 1979, before moving production to two larger sites in South Wales the following year. Portskewett, South Wales is Mitel's European head quarters.
Sir Terry has also retained a strong personal link to the UK, spending considerable amounts of time in his native Wales. Having bought Celtic Manor in Newport in 1980, Sir Terry turned the premises into a successful leisure complex, which was host to the 38th Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2010.
The great PSU & Mitel connection
Mitel is part of PSU's DNA. We've partnered with Mitel for over 15 years and have over 100 years Mitel engineering experience.
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