John Frederiksen, Microsoft Response PointInstead of ignoring open source conferences, Microsoft continues to invade them. The latest example: John Frederiksen (pictured), general manager of Microsoft's Response Point business, is scheduled to speak at Digium AsteriskWorld on February 3. Why is Microsoft paying such close attention to an event for open source IP PBX advocates? The answer is obvious.

Microsoft Response Point is a small business phone system. Frederiksen leads worldwide product development, marketing and business development for Response Point -- which appears to be on a collision course with Asterisk.

Some pundits say Asterisk now represents about 18 percent of the North American PBX market. That sounds like a wild exaggeration to The VAR Guy. Still, there's no doubting Asterisk's growing momentum. In addition to Digium's own Asterisk efforts, upstarts like Fonality have built small business phone systems atop the Asterisk code base. And in recent months, Dell and Tech Data both have partnered with Fonality.

Branding 101

Meanwhile, Response Point is yet another new, largely unfamiliar brand that Microsoft must aggressively pitch to channel partners and small business customers.

In addition to evangelizing Response Point to Microsoft's loyal Small Business Server crowd, the software giant is preaching the power of Response Point to the next generation of VoIP solutions providers: The folks attending Digium AsteriskWorld.

Of course, Microsoft could also be planning a few surprises for the Asterisk crowd. Don't forget, the software giant shocked observers by partnering closely with Novell SUSE Linux. Could a similar Microsoft-Digium relationship be waiting in the wings? The VAR Guy doubts it... but...

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