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Optical/IP

Digium Grows Up

Mark Spencer, creator of the Asterisk open-source platform, will move from the CEO to the CTO role as his company Digium Inc. brings in its first outside Chief Executive.

Late yesterday, Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) announced that COO Danny Windham was leaving to take the CEO post at Digium. Another Adtran exec, VP of channel sales Steve Harvey, will be joining Digium as its vice president of sales. (See Adtran COO Departs and Digium Names New CEO.)

Spencer will become CTO and will remain chairman.

In a press conference today that used that "chasm" metaphor way too often, Spencer said Digium has grown to a point where he can't do everything himself. In order to grow, it needs to reach out to customers and channel partners that he's not necessarily familiar with.

Specifically, that means larger businesses -- up to 500 employees -- that aren't already fans of open-source products. Most of Digium's sales channels today are targeted at "people who are already somewhat familiar with Linux and Asterisk," Spencer said.

Besides, Digium has grown to about 80 or 90 people -- the size where Spencer can no longer keep track of exactly how many employees he's got. "Those are the kind of numbers that will roll right off my tongue," Windham said.

Adtran has been an investor since Digium first became a "real" company in 2000, and Windham has occupied a Digium board seat since then. He's left Adtran and given up his Adtran board seat in order to take the Digium job.

Adtran still holds a "significant but minority ownership position" in Digium, Windham said.

Often described as an open-source PBX, Asterisk is a platform that can sprout any number of telecom-related boxes -- VOIP gateways, for instance. (See Open Source Eyes Telecom.)

It's gotten some presence inside the networks of telecom carriers, "but in the short run we want to try to focus on capturing some specific segments of the market," namely those small- to medium-sized businesses, Spencer said.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:15:37 PM
re: Digium Grows Up Oracle is doing its best to stomp the open-source business model into the ground -- witness their "helping" Red Hat customers, for instance.

Not that Oracle cares about the PBX, but ... you wonder if what Oracle's doing could be a bad sign for the long-term future of open source businesses. The small ones, anyway.
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