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Fonality, Dell hook up to bring VoIP to the masses

VoIP phone-system maker is set to win big with Dell in a deal aimed at small and midsize businesses.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay
2 min read

Dell has entered a partnership to take to Fonality's affordable VoIP phone systems to small and midsize businesses.

This is big news for the VoIP world--and for the open-source Asterisk project underlying Fonality.

Dell will be selling the Fonality VoIP Phone System through its global SMB sales organization, as well as its channel.

Needless to say, the opportunity is huge. According to a Dell'Oro Group group analyst quoted in The Wall Street Journal (PDF), 35 million small businesses worldwide are expected to adopt VoIP calling over the next three years.

Fonality brings to the table a product designed to be easy to use and directly installable. Dell brings its market reach and brand. It's a good deal for Dell. It could be the making of Fonality.

Look at the math.

An IDC analysis pegs Dell at more than 28 percent market share in the United States SMB market, or roughly 7 million of the 25 million SMBs in the U.S. This deal immediately helps to put Fonality in front of Dell's SMB customer base and the new accounts into which it's selling.

That's huge.

Dell didn't choose Fonality because it's built on open source, however, as Chris Lyman, Fonality's CEO, noted early Wednesday on his blog. Rather, Dell was looking for three things. The product:

  1. Must be high in value
  2. Must be super-easy to use
  3. Must run on Dell

The other big reason Lyman cites for Dell's choice of Fonality is its hybrid-hosted model. Regardless of the reason, it's a huge coup for Fonality.