Digium Releases New Switchvox Product: Price Still an Issue for Many

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 09, 2008

Open Source Asterisk PBX maker Digium released it's widely anticipated mid-range appliance today called the AA300. The product is a custom PC intended for businesses that need around 150 telephones, and it runs Switchvox SMB software.

Since the acquisition of Switchvox in 2007, Digium has made it the focus of its SMB marketplace releasing 3 new hardware products and a new version of the Switchvox Free product. "I'm really proud that we've rounded out the product line and the transition to Digium in such a short time," said Tristan Degenhardt, Product Line Director for Switchvox.

Although Digium has sold many of the AA300's predicessors into the market, the reseller channel isn't 100 percent pleased with the products. One Digium reseller expressed dismay over the licensing scheme put in place on the Switchvox products. He said that it requires licensing for each extension, phone line and feature and "For that kind of licensing you might as well go to Pingtel or something that has been around much longer. I only sell [Switchvox] when Digium sends me a lead for Switchvox interest."

This makes the AA300 significantly more expensive than its base price of $4,240 would suggest. The base product comes with a 10-user license, but even the least expensive license fee is $55 per year/per user. Add on additional T1 or Analog cards and you're in the realm of $10,000 for a 50-user system.

Justification of this pricing is easier in the low-end AA60 product, which has outsold the company's modest expecations, but the expansion of the line into a new category with the same basic pricing model is quite risky. It remains to be seen if reseller discontent is as widespread as it may seem. Digium has seen exponential growth over the past few years by selling high quality hardware for VoIP systems. Selling low-margin PCs is a different business entirely, and this may turn out to be a misstep for the company in the short term.