3Com Finally Delivers the Asterisk Goods
3Com has finally announced plans to embrace Asterisk — the open source telephony platform. The VAR Guy has only one question: What took so long? This is a move 3Com should have announced much earlier this year. But in the company’s defense, it’s still very early in the open source telephony game. And the Asterisk strategy could be a winner for 3Com. Here’s why.
As you likely know, Bain Capital Partners is acquiring 3Com for $2.2 billion. As part of the deal, Huawei Technologies Co. of China will acquire a stake in 3Com. Some pundits think that means 3Com is finally ready to go after Cisco at the high-end of the market.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. 3Com burned large enterprises a decade ago when it botched the US Robotics acquisition and abandoned many corporate CIOs in global 2000 companies. Many big companies simply don’t trust 3Com these days. In fact, 3Com isn’t even on their radar.
The real opportunity for 3Com here is in small and midsize businesses, and some enterprise departments. Other key targets should include K-12 and higher education CIOs.
Enter Asterisk, the open source telephony platform that could allow 3Com to undercut Cisco’s pricing in several core SMB markets.
With that thought in mind, 3Com is finally moving into the Asterisk telephony market. In fact, 3Com plans to offer Digium’s Asterisk appliance to small businesses, the two companies announced October 1.
Smart move. Digium pioneered the Asterisk market, and recently acquired a key rival called SwitchVox. 3Com is now far better positioned to serve small businesses that want low-cost voice-over-IP systems.
But competing with Cisco at the high end? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, folks. 3Com has made some progress in the past year, but the company remains a shell of its 1990s self.
Asterisk and the buyout by Bain may go a long way to changing that.