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Additional Digium Details
My recent post on Digium resulted in a conversation with the company about its multifaceted role as the manager of an open source PBX community, developer of PBX systems, and provider of enabling communications software to rival PBX developers. Here are a few of the interesting tidbits I picked up:
My recent post on Digium resulted in a conversation with the company about its multifaceted role as the manager of an open source PBX community, developer of PBX systems, and provider of enabling communications software to rival PBX developers. Here are a few of the interesting tidbits I picked up:* Switchvox, which Digium acquired last year, has an installed base of about 1,600 systems with 65,000 handsets connected to them. Digium has no such numbers available for shipments of its AA50 VoIP system for small businesses, though the company says it's earned about $1.5 million from the product since it started shipping in July 2007. Considering that the system costs in the neighborhood of $1,400, that comes out to nearly 1100 systems sold so far.
* Digium's AA250 has been renamed AA1000, but the company has "slowed down development" of this VoIP system since its acquisition of Switchvox last year. This is in part because Digium wants to mainly sell the Switchvox system as its turnkey VoIP appliance for small- to mid-sized businesses. Digium still plans to eventually release the AA1000 as a sort of a development platform on which the company's partners can build communications platforms of their own.
* The Switchvox system will be renamed AA350. Despite the similar naming convention, the Switchvox-developed AA350 and Digium-generate AA1000 will not be based on the same iterations of the Asterisk software. This is something that could come back to haunt Digium at some point as customers seek to install and manage Digium VoIP platforms as a single system.
3Com is a "licensee" of the Asterisk Business Edition software. This means that the company can make proprietary changes to that will not necessarily be provided back to the Asterisk open source community. NTT and Aspect are also Asterisk licensees. The result will be multiple iterations of the Asterisk software with proprietary tweaks that vary from developer to developer. This strikes me as not particularly in the same spirit of open source PBX software development as it was initially conceived and is still often practiced. Rather than members of the open source community all working together and sharing the fruits of their labors with one another, a few of the kids are evidently doing their own thing. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. The end result is still feature-rich, low-cost VoIP systems even if they are more proprietary in nature than we're used to seeing open source PBX software. But it's certainly different and something worth keeping an eye on.