This is an interesting play as Excel's forte is carrier networks, especially TDM, while Brooktrout has been primarily an enterprise play. Brooktrout acquired Snowshore last year for pennies on the dollar, as Snowshore became an early casualty among the well-funded startups who failed to get traction at the right time. While Snowshore was squarely an IP play, their demise has taken them out of the race for hardware-based media servers, a space that is dominated by Convedia, along with IP Unity and AudioCodes. They have since changed gears, focusing on software-based solutions, which have some applications in the enterprise.
Another twist here is that Excel has also recently entered the media server space, and have had some good results to date. So, they now have 2 media server products on their hands, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the business, as well as the R&D, management, and intellectual property.
On top of this, Brooktrout partners with AudioCodes in the media gateway space, and it looks now like they'll go with Excel's gateways. Then there's the IP Unity connection with Excel, which will now have to go by the wayside.
Perhaps the only common thread here is geography - all 3 companies - Excel, Brooktrout and Snowshore are based in Massachusetts. Gee, now all we have to do is put Acme in the mix, have Sonus buy them all, and we'll have a killer Bay Colony IP cartel. The mind boggles at how many good Red Sox seats all these guys would have....
As the VoIP equipment space matures, this game of musical chairs becomes more complicated as vendors evolve from being single product offerings to multi-product players. AudioCodes is perhaps the best example of this, and inevitably some partnerships have to give way for the sake of the marriage. A bit like having to stop seeing your old girlfriend once you get engaged.