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Posts from February 2005

BeyondVC: Highlights from a recent VC panel

BeyondVC: Highlights from a recent VC panel

With so many new and early stage VoIP companies securing VC money, I thought this post from Ed Sim @ BeyondVC was rather interesting on how VC's look at companies these days.

A second post he made about the selling by startups in the business development process is equally interesting reading. Too many times the wrong entry point can queer a deal. So to can coming in to high. The key is to be working many layers within a company so you have total buy in.

A Wireless Downtown

CheetahWireless out of Las Vegas made the city of Encinitas CA's downtown area wireless. It's gotten me to go there every day the last four days for breakfast or lunch. The idea of being always on does have it's limits but with the frantic pace of late on multiple fronts it has been a real time saver in many ways for me. I'm on so many deadlines right now, that being connected this way, and via EVDO, Blackberry, home WiFi and even on my Sprint card really is worth it.

Internet Telephony Next Week

I'm starting to get excited about next week's Internet Telephony show in Miami. Other than the cross country flight, I think this week's show will be a very good warm up for the March VON. Why? Because many companies will be making announcements, but I fully expect the big bombs to be dropped in March @ VON. The reason is the levels of media.

Looking over the press lists of both shows the Pulver team has assembled an all-star list of "A" level journalists and analysts that make it great for the exhibitors to tell their story. All of that said, I think that Internet Telephony will be very interesting and that the companies that are there, and the media and analysts who attend will enjoy the more laid back, festive atmosphere of Miami Beach.

VON will be very intense, with AOL likely making a formal introduction of their VoIP service in the USA.  With a week in between the two conferences I really don't see how VoIP won't be blasted all over the trade and mainstream press. The noise level will be high, but bloggers will likely be the first to have many of the stories so keep reading.


For SBC Chief, AT&T Deal Is Essential in New Telecom Era

For SBC Chief, AT&T Deal Is Essential in New Telecom Era is a Q&A in today's Los Angeles Times.

I think the swipe at Vonage and other so called instant phone companies who can buy network access below cost and then resell and the comment about customers in Hong Kong really points to how important AT&T's CallVantage and VoIP overall was to this deal.

Clearly SBC is also gearing up for a name change. AT&T is clearly the logical choice because it has to have the higher recall in brand identity vs. SBC. I say it's time to invest in automobile and truck paint. Here's why.

My guess is the senior marketing folks (remember, Dorman is a marketer first) will evaluate at shareholder expense the options:

1. Stay SBC--this would be the second weakest way to go as the cost to build brand nationwide, but more importantly on a global basis (and we are in the era of the global telco brand) would be even more expensive. Don't forget AT&T just did a deal to sponsor some aspects of Formula One Grand Prix racing while they could easily transfer it to SBC, the ability to tell the story gets harder and more expensive.

2. Come up with a totally new name...NOT. This would be even more expensive and erode the equity in both brands. I mean, if they did come up with a new name, I think it would be ABC for American Bell Corporation, (oh, yes, some mouse house has that name in their portfolio--and I don't think they would be very sporting about giving it up) but while that makes some things cute, I don't think the expense of rebranding is worth the years it will take to build market acceptance.

3. Go with AT&T. It will cost less. It will score higher on the recall tests and it is at the front of all directory listings. What's more globally it still is the most known USA phone company.  The one thing I know is all the truck painting companies must be salivating right now. It's only been a few years here in California when the trucks went from Pacific Bell to SBC in look.

Bottom line. I just saved shareholder millions of dollars, as that's what would be spent on studies, research, analysis, focus groups and more, all before the first dime is dropped on new advertising and promotion.

WiMAX Has Potential to Transform Telecom Markets

WiMAX Has Potential to Transform Telecom Markets is a report from inStat. I've been holding back on WiMax coverage but plan on looking at it more closely.

I think WiMax has significant transformational potential for telecom, especially for rural areas in the USA that are greatly under-served by the broadband providers.

The idea of a mesh like canopy of always on will lead to all types of advances in the ways people communicate, but at the same time spur the need for less server intensive application processes. Things like voice mail storage, file sharing and file transfer will be what first happens. Just like VoIP, it will be the applications which drive the acceptance of WiMax. For companies like Qualcomm, WiMax is a direct threat to EVDO and CDMA.  With the current consolidation in wireless going on not only in the USA, but around the world, the opportunity for new players to enter the game is larger now than ever before. That said, if the cable MSOs could grasp the potential of WiMax they would have a very significant market offering that allows them to be head to head with the telcos on end to end communications in an always connected universe

Unbound Spiral: Sticks n Stones

Unbound Spiral: Sticks n Stones Stuart is a Skype Loyalist. Om is a practical analyst.

Stuart writes with his passions on his sleeve. Om writes with pure, cold logic on his mind. Neither is right or wrong.

That said, the issues affecting Skype are not defensible by the FAQ files. Just because you say things there doesn't mean people read them, ever. No more than cigarette smokers read the Surgeon General's warnings that smoking may cause Cancer.

Ecuity, Boingo Wireless and TeleSym Team to offer a VoIP over Wi-Fi service

Ecuity, Boingo Wireless and TeleSym Team to offer a VoIP over Wi-Fi service

I have to laugh about this. More than two years ago a former colleague of mine who was previously at Metricom, the company which brought you Ricochet, and I along with a few others went to Boingo with this exact idea, working with Webley Systems, whose CTO had already developed a softphone using Windows Messenger on the SIP platform and which we had successfully tested at Starbucks locations as well as other WiFi locations.

While I like the idea alot, I have to wonder why TelSym which is not SIP based, but uses its own protocol. In thinking that through, the connection is Intel, as Intel Capital has an investment with TelSym.

I applaud Boingo for making this first step. My hope is that they remain open platform and let any SoftPhone ride on their guess is they will.