Keep an Eye on Asterisk

Lora Bentley

Yesterday the news broke that open source VC firm Matrix Partners offered Digium, Inc. $13.8 million in first-round funding -- and Digium accepted. So what? The telephony company isn't the first to accept venture funds, right? Of course not.


Digium, however, doesn't need the funds, according to president Mark Spencer. The company's sales exceed $10 million annually, and Spencer's open source Asterisk PBX/VoIP platform is downloaded approximately 1,000 times a day. Yet Matrix Partners is so confident in Digium's disruptive power in the "staid and closed" telephony industry that it handed over the cash anyway.


What is it about Asterisk that makes it so popular? It's simple, Spencer says, and flexible. The program will work in small businesses, huge enterprises, and even for telephone carriers. Moreover, users have developed many applications around it and can use it in a wide variety of ways.


Even those who aren't so sure about open source in the world of telephony agree that it's the future. Digium apparently has a clearer vision of what that future will look like than most.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 11, 2006 1:06 AM Clark Atwood Clark Atwood  says:
There is no free puppy. Asterisk is simply removing the fluff from the telephony hardware sales. It is forcing open standards from equipment vendors used to creating their own special worlds for so many years. Notice all of the small to medium PBX offerings that have suddenly become reasonably priced. One of the better ones is the Avaya IP Office.Know that Asterisk still has bugs, needs someone of significant technical expertise to troubleshoot or customize and that it is a PBX not a call handling engine. It's success may lay more in companies using the code and wrapping it with pre-configured hardware and support options, but it's positive impact will be felt for years. Reply

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