The Wall Street Journal has a great story about the decline or if you believer, the continuation of the use of the deskphone. As someone who has not had a home or office phone for so many years the story is mostly old hat.
Given how voice over IP use and acceptance has steadily grown, there's less and less need for the old-school deskphone, especially in what is rapidly becoming a mobile first society. Apps, and cloud services, simply work better in software based endpoints like a smartphone or tablet vs. an endpoint which now have so many buttons and hard to program screens that they become almost useless.
As the story points out, without saying it directly, the digital generation that has grown up with mobile phones. That group are not really comfortable with the old desk phone. Despite attempts to market Android OS based , or bases and speakers for iPads and iPhones, the idea of the desk phone is really a thing of the past.
Part of the rationale is functionality. Pioneers in softphone Counterpath pretty much defined the softphone space, allowing for advanced services being as simply as sliding a button. Skype came along and got millions of people comfortable with using their computer to make and receive calls. Then the iPhone arrived, and with the debut of the app store, so much changed in how we use and consume telephony services. The app from Truphone in 2008 was very forward in approach, while Vonage, 8x8 and others were initially nothing more than just a substitution for the deskphone, so while they were starts, none of them were what we see today. In the ten years that the App store has been around, we've seen so many advance between API's and cloud microservices, the debut of Apple's Callkit and similar efforts on Android, that mobile devices have become the endpoint of choice because they simply do more.
Take the long stalled GoogleVoice. This year's most recent updates adding long wanted VoIP calling, plus the ability to now take calls via the Web browser have made the service an easy way to totally eliminate deskphones. You get a number, and it can terminate anywhere. If you still want the number to ring the old fashioned landline, it can. In many ways GoogleVoice has caught up with 8x8, Vonage, RingCentral, Dialpad, Telzio and all the rest. Older, more legacy focused plays like Mitel are quickly moving to catch up to the cloud based solution providers with their own version of cloud, which is one of the main reasons they acquired Shortel.
That said, there remains a healthy market for deskphones largely for the desk only worker, but for the Anywhere Worker who moves around, the deskphone may be like the Model T. A think of the past.