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Digium acquires Switchvox

In the news this morning, Digium has acquired SwitchVox, one of the vendors of open source based PBX's based on Asterisk.  In CRN, Digium VP Bill Miller is quoted, saying:

"Switchvox gives us a more complete solution that scales to several hundred users," said Bill Miller, vice president of product management and marketing at Digium, Huntsville, Ala. "It's a turnkey solution that doesn't require as much expertise to install. Many installations are done remotely."

According to CRN:

A key piece of the Switchvox acquisition for Digium is the end-user interface that San Diego-based Switchvox has built for its products. The system integrates with CRM packages from Salesforce.com and SugarCRM, enabling records from those systems to automatically pop up on the Switchvox Switchboard interface. The interface is also tied in with Google Maps to create a Web 2.0 mash-up that show the location of inbound callers.

And in an interview with Tom Keating, Digium founder Mark Spencer revealed plans to open source the Switchvox code, saying:

"the plan is to be able to take technologies that exist today as external things in Switchvox right – so Switchvox much like Fonality was kind of built on the idea of trying to keep ya know, the stuff out of Asterisk and put it somewhere else where it could be retained as a traditional and proprietary product. And our goal is to migrate those technologies from ya know – try to get stuff that’s today ‘proprietary’ outside of Asterisk into technologies that can live within Asterisk and be open source. So yeah, we definitely intend to try to have some strategy for moving some of those technologies from Switchvox into open source Asterisk."

This is a good move on Digium's part.  Competitor Fonality's two major differentiators have been turnkey setup and the Fonality GUI which integrates well with both the PBX and enterprise sales support systems. By open sourcing those differentiators, Digium devalues Fonality's key advantages, while potentially attracting a developer community that will allow the Switchvox code to evolve more quickly.

Separately, Jeremy McNamara noted that this is Digium's second recent acquisition, the first being Astricon.  As Digium buys up smaller players in its ecosystem, it is rapidly evolving into a small business PBX powerhouse. 

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