We use Asterisk - I downloaded it. I buy brand new various SIP phones from multiple DOTCOM types on the net. I have not called a dealer in years. We used to call a dealer every time we needed to take a tele-sh*t. Not anymore.
A friend at another company just threw out their phone system for a hosted plan. I'm not crazy about hosting, but it made sense for them - they have about 12 locations with less than 4 people. One of their Internet service providers offered them hosting and just stole the account from multiple telecom dealers.
I don't see how a telecom dealer willl stay in business. Their model is hardware and the industry is moving to software and service. I guess there are plenty of antiques out there that need service and plenty of newer systems that are destined to become antiques, but I don't see how the telecom dealer will survive this change in the business.
While I certainly see the picture that you paint, I think you missed a couple of words in your topic... The Channel As We Knew It Is Doomed. It's been a few years since a dealer made a reasonable profit by selling a phone system - of any type. There is a market for Asterisk and there's certainly a market for hosted IP in today's economy. But there's an even larger market that's being served by dealers who are seeing amazing growth even when "no one is buying anything"! The channel is shifting from selling hardware to focusing on the business needs of their customers - and providing tools that will meet those business needs. Integrating communication with business processes, for companies large and small, requires the skill and expertise of the "new and improved" telecom dealer. Identifying UC and other tools that will help a company be more competitive with fewer resources, shorten time to market, reduce expenses, meet the needs of their mobile and remote workforce..... this takes a different type of sale and technical expertise than providing a "phone system and telephones". And there's strong revenue here!
The channel definitely is NOT doomed. But what is doomed are the members of the channel who continue to pursue a strategy based upon selling hardware (i.e. phone systems). I see it as "survival of the fittest". For dealers today, there are so many opportunities available that didn't even exist a few years ago . The challenge is for a dealer to decide which opportunities to pursue. I delivered a keynote on this topic at a vendor's partner event just last Friday and as you would expect, many of the dealers understood the need to change from selling hardware to providing business solutions, but there were still a number of them who just did not want to change from what they had known and what used to work for them (the operative phrase here is "used to"). This last group is - yes! - doomed!
Unlike the extinct dinosauer - the channel is evolving as the industry evolves. Doomed? I don't think so!