John Lazar, Metaswitch Networks CEO, faces a challenge most suppliers to the global telecom business also face, namely how his own business, and that of his service provider customers, will change over the next decade or so. Some of those changes, such as a blurring of “over the top” and “carrier services,” will cause some potential discomfort.

The issue is not, as sometimes happens in IP ecosystems, that Metaswitch Networks would ever compete with its customers. The issue is that, over time, as cloud computing becomes the established computing architecture, and as Metaswitch software is crafted to run in a cloud environment, there is not reason why its customers could not include “over the top” application providers, mobile service providers or anybody else who believes messaging and voice services and features have value for their own businesses.

In other words, Metaswitch Networks simply sees where the computing and software businesses are headed, and that future means “anybody” will be able to use cloud software to create and deliver communications features, services and apps. That also means Metaswitch Networks, an “arms supplier,” will arm whomever wants to buy, and to grow its business, probably has to do so.

That doesn’t make Metaswitch a competitor to its customers. It does make Metaswitch a company that sells as much of its intellectual property as it can, to any lawful buyer. That will further blur the line between over the top and “licensed carrier” business models and Metaswitch customers. Count on it.

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