Metaswitch - Rolling Along Nicely

Metaswitch is a company I've followed for a long time, and as private companies go, they're right up there in terms of being well run. Their offerings are solid, their customer base keeps growing, they're making money, the management team is stable, and they have a strong employee culture.

Doesn't get much better than that, and yesterday they had their quarterly update call. Aside from public companies with their obligatory earnings calls, I can't think of anyone else in this space who does this. As far as I know, they're not required to do this, and I think this kind of transparency is great, at least for those of us invited to the call.

I won't go much beyond the highlights shared in today's press release, other than to assure you this is a company with a plan and the ability to execute on it.

I'd say the most noteworthy news is the announcement of their 500th customer - Misamis Oriental Telephone System, based in the Phillipines. Not only is this a big milestone, but a good example of the global reach Metaswitch is starting to achieve. The company actually has two operating divisions - this is their Carriers Systems Division - CSD. They also have NPD - Network Protocols Division - which ended 2009 at the 250 customer mark, with Celtro, a Delaware-based wireless backhaul operator.

Another bright spot was the trickle-down effect of the Broadband Stimulus funding to their bottom line. They highlighted Slic Network Solutions as a recent recipient, and that money will enable them to buy a Metaswitch solution, from which they'll be able to provide lower cost VoIP services to their base of rural customers. That may not sound like much to most of you, but there are a lot of operators like Slic out there, and the combination of this funding and IOC-friendly vendors like Metaswitch is very good news, especially after such a difficult 2009.

Something else caught my eye that was briefly mentioned - their expanding relationship with Huawei. This is a company you can't ignore, and either admire or fear. They represent a lower cost alternative to all the U.S./E.U. telco vendors, and it's just a matter of time until they become a major player in their home markets. I don't have anything to add beyond the public news, but it's a partnership that I will follow with interest.

Finally, it was great to hear John Lazar talk about smart phones and the impact they're having everywhere, especially for new applications. As is the case with all platform vendors, Metaswitch has its own developer ecosystem - Innovators Community - and it's become a key element of their overall value proposition. This isn't the MetaSwitch we knew from earlier days, and now that it's Metaswitch, I see a company poised for a great run this decade. I can't think of too many companies of this size who had a stronger 2009, and the critical mass is there today to make them a top tier player in the not-too-distant future.