Avaya and Steve Jobs (Revisited)

Early on in one of my first projects “breaking the internet” with content was The Museum of Telephony which was wordpress-dot-com product until 2020 when it was moved on our hosting platform. I can speak freely again because the previous manager is no longer involved. Anyways 4 months into the endeavor, I had posted A Post on Apple and Avaya Together . Within a week, a Google Search referral (because in 2012 you could get this data, not so much – even on your own hosting platforms)  “Steve Jobs fan of AT&T Merlin phone” .

If the pic rings a bell, it was the inside picture in the hard cover of Walter Issacason’s bio of the said man.  (of which I should re-read.) I said at the time that it was a no-brainer. Steve Jobs was man of detail, including his preferred list of vendors, whether it was Apple, NeXT or Pixar. It was so blaintely obvious he was drawn by Ma Bell, and that AT&T Merlin phone in his home was another giveaway.

Despite the Merlin being made in the 1980s and discontinued by 1990, AT&T and later Lucent and Avaya was well known for continuing to market these systems as refurbished models well into the mid 2000s. Also, the 7400 series Digital “Voice Terminals” had the Merlin casing, but was used in the System 75/Definity Generic 3 PBX, of which was the PBX used at NeXT, Pixar and Apple, the infamous boxy 8400 Series Digital Voice Terminals did not come to market till 1994 and by 1995, these decade old sets would finally be End of Sale, but this 1980s look continued well into the 2000s because Lucent (and later Avaya) allowed it. Hence why my 7407 or 7102 sets are next to my Office of Yesteryear where my Color Classic sits. The thing is telephony and IT do not go hand in hand. A phone from the 1980s and a PC from the 1990s aren’t required to match, because telephony on the enterprise level was not part of MIS or IT for many businesses.

As a sidenote: though Apple did not refresh the desksets often, some of Apples earlier campuses still had the 1970s Multibutton Electronic Telephone of which AT&T wanted to nix by the time 1990 came along…. now I am going outside the scope of this post…

Would Steve Jobs still be a fan of Avaya? 

I am not sure. Avaya was in the process of acquiring Nortel, prior to his departure of the company and his life. In reality, while Avaya disconnected Nortel’s offerings, the management and many of their engineers was retained. A lot of Avaya from the Steve Jobs admiered era (the System 75/Definity G3/Merlin/etc) was kinda getting phased out with that infamous Aura experiment, and the botched IP Office offerings (the small end systems often found at Apple stores); and other oddball moonshot stuff that Avaya has done.

I am not sure if Jobs had opinions of vendors in the same way he did for the Apple products, since these would be operations and would be in Tim Cook’s old position. I would think he would say things like those damned B100 series of IP sets to “be full of shit”. Those gawd-awful 2-wire DCP 9500s to be “more shit” and probably would piss on the cost of having Avaya equipment in an enterprise like Apple.

It’s unclear if the new Apple campus is wired to Cisco or Avaya, I wouldn’t be surprised it’s on the former. Apple’s retail has slowly gone on to the KallStrangler bandwagon, and would Apple want to pay ridiculous contracts to finance internet trolls defending Fucking Kari’s Law? I certainly would hope ill of Avaya to declare Chapter 11… oh wait, they did didn’t they?!


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