Dell picks Fonality VoIP Phone System

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Dell picks Fonality VoIP Phone System

FonalityI missed my early meeting today with Fonality CEO Chris Lyman about some blockbuster news he wanted to share being announced at ITEXPO. Fortunately, as administrator of the blog server I happened to be checking out Rich's blog entries to look into a video problem and noticed Rich had a scheduled entry with the subject "Dell Chooses Fonality". I rubbed my eyes in shock. Dell? Fonality landed Dell? Damn, and Rich got the scoop before me. ;) It's all good, we're both part of the TMC team!

Curious of course, I edited Rich's entry to see what Chris wanted to tell me earlier but weren't able to connect. I immediately noticed a podcast mp3 file Rich had uploaded to the blog server. I tried to download the podcast 4 times at 10pm Tuesday night and my EVDO connection kept timing out! Grrrrr! On the 5th time I was able to download the podcast and listen to Rich's Q&A with Chris Lyman. This is an excellent podcast about Dell choosing Fonality that is definitely worth listening to.

Here's my brief synopsis:

First, interestingly, the product name is not trixbox, it's called Fonality VoIP Phone System, but obviously it's based on trixbox. I assume Dell will be selling all the various flavors. Interesting that Dell doesn't have their name attached. Chris much be a tough negotiator! Dell is focusing the Fonality VoIP Phone System at companies with less than 150 employees. Chris mentioned he's been working with Dell for over a year now on this deal.

In the podcast, Chris was able to speak 'loosely' for why he believes Dell chose Fonality's Asterisk-based trixbox line of products. Chris gave 3 reasons he believes Dell picked Fonality.
1) A phone system that's affordable
2) Really Easy to use & install
3) Wanted it to run on a Dell PC

They didn't make a decision based on open source, but Chris feels it may have had some impact on Dell's decision. Dell already pre-bundles Red Hat Linux on servers so it's an interesting migration for Dell to go beyond installing Linux operating systems and actually selling a much higher-level software application - namely IP-PBX software based on Asterisk.

Importantly, Fonality's solution will be going onto Dell's online catalog and will be supported by Fonality's technical support team. Dell will also sell this through their massive channel. Chris also mentioned that they are partnering with Aastra to offer their line of VoIP phones. So a nice win for Aastra as well.

Rich neglected to ask Chris the terms of the deal - i.e. what cut Dell gets vs. Fonality. I'm supposed to talk to Chris tomorrow, so I'll update this post accordingly. He may not divulge anything considering Dell is a public company and I'm sure Chris had to go through 3 layers of Dell lawyers, but I'll give it my best shot! ;)

Via Rich Tehrani's Dell Chooses Fonality post

I neglected to point out that I discovered Dell first got into the VoIP game with their late 2007 announcement that they would be offering Microsoft OCS 2007 on Dell servers. Thus, the Fonality/Dell deal marks the 2nd VoIP platform that Dell is offering. I noticed on Dell's VoIP page that they are also carrying Nortel as well. Microsoft OCS is noticeably absent. Interesting...

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