- A CLEC, ITSP, or some other kind of service provider, Linksys offers hosted voice, voice mail, email, conferencing, and a variety of other services that you can sell to your customer.
- A VAR, Linksys offers new services and hardware that you can install at your customers site, in conjunction with a service provider partner.
- A small business, Linksys offers inexpensive but full featured plug and play voice grade routers, hand sets, and VoIP gateways and a suite of compelling services.
This is a pretty dramatic step up. It will put immense pressure on Natural Convergence (a direct competitor), and Tekelec (acquirers of VocalData, another direct competitor). Neither of these have CPE businesses of their own, and must partner for these elements. Does the Linksys offering compete with Cisco Call Manager also? What about Microsoft Small Business Server, and hosted versions of Exchange and / or LCS?
It will also place pressure on the new generation of small business PBX / router products that are starting to emerge, from companies like Epygi and Talkswitch. These solutions will be less expensive than a hosted solution from Cisco and an ITSP, but they will be forced to compete with the Cisco channel, and the revenue share that a hosted solution will kick back to that channel.
For more information, Tom Keating has blogged an excellent interview with Linksys VP Marthin De Beer with a lot of depth.