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Posts from April 2006

Skype Does a Deal With EMI, Zennstrom Profiled In Financial Times and L.A. Times

A few months ago I mentioned that to compete with the likes of Yahoo Skype/eBay would have to go out and cut deals with leading content suppliers. They have started to today with a deal cut with EMI that is similar in scope, but much deeper and broader than their Warner Brothers deal a few months back. This agreement marks the first time a label, EMI, and a distribution partner, Skype, have ever struck one agreement with worldwide licensing righs at the core. This is significant and takes aim at Yahoo, MSN, Amazon and other virtual, not to mention physical realm distribution operations.

I have always felt that Skype is not just a phone replacement but in a way a pipe within another pipe (the Internet) and a way to get content to consumers in an efficient manner using their P2P technology platform.  According to the story the agreement with EMI includes downloads, mastertones and subscriptions for EMI's
Anglo-American repertoire. EMI Music Publishing is also becoming a music
consultant in this brand new service whch places the label in the same position as category captain for the music industry.

I only wonder if after a buyer tires of a track or CD if they can auction it off on eBay. That would give rise to a whole new market of tracks and CD downloads, where limited edition and the financial model of duration of primary disribution could come into play, some thing both Steve Jobs at Apple and Jef Bezos at Amazon are already doing. This also makes me wonder about the back catalog of Beatles which are on EMI and Capitol records (an EMI subsidiary) and just how that impacts Apple who is working to clean up with the Apple label.

Oh, the story above is so huge it actually overshadows a very nice story about the rise of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and how eBay is managing the company ran in today's L.A. Times.

K-Boing......No @ YAHOO

According to my inside sources at Yahoo there is no truth to the rumor that they are in the process of working with Boingo on a combined messenger. At least not yet.

I'm also hearing great news from elsewhere that the Yahoo Messenger with Phone for the Mac, something that has been long expected, and very much demanded by many of the top bloggers who were privy to Yahoo's Messenger plans last year, is not that far away. Early indications are that it will be sometime in May that it will hit a controlled beta group and not long after it will go out for general release.

Bug Brad Garlinghouse or Rock Star Jeff Bonforte if you want into the beta...I sure will !

PhoneGnome Creator Speaks Out

As a rule I tend not to blatently and overtly efuse praise for my clients and let others in the media and blogosphere do their talking for me. Call it professionalism, courtesy and respect for others and also to steer clear of hype.

One of the clients of our agency, and one that I not only use regularly, but believe in is TelEvolution and their breakout product, PhoneGnome. The reason I like it, is that PhoneGnome lets me do everything that VoIP and SIP are set up to do, without dislodging the PSTN world and all that it reliably still provides.

This past week founder David (Mr. Blog) Beckemeyer, who as an Internet veteran (he co-founded Earthlink), wrote a very passionate, polite and definiative post about the new world of telephony and pointed to a post by Aswath Rao. These are two smart dudes, far more technical than I could ever be when it comes to telephony.

David's very passionate post is a must read. Not only is it dead on the mark, but it builds a case for "network coexistance", not only neutrality, while also telling the world why PhoneGnome is there now with the idea of Network Coexistance.

NetGear Shows their Skype Phone Again

The hype from Netgear about their Skype phone continues. Back in January at CES word of this came froward via a press conference. I asked then, and I continue to wonder if this will work with Skype Zones, the hot spot program. The phone, which ships on June 30 lets you receive calls in WiFi hot spots, but what remains unclear is if you can authenticate onto networks that require a user name and password beyond the tyical WEP or WPA authentication.

Even their FAQ yields no additional insight. Hopefully the Skype PR team out of the UK can shed some light. As this is a question I've been asking that has more implications, especially to partners and competitors.

The SkypeZones are in Beta with Skype and two large Hot Spot partners, The Cloud and Boingo. Boingo, whose software powers the user side of Skype Zones, is also entering the dual mode world in a different manner with phones by Kypcera that hand over between mobile and WiFi networks and handle the so named two stage authentication. They are also rumored to be in talks with Yahoo, something my sources tell me is more akin to kicking the tires and totally exploratory at this point with no real plan, deal or relationship proposed.

Are The Skype Numbers Not Working?

The Omoscope must have been turned on really early this morning as the o-meister put his investment banker viewpoint and deciphered the recently reported numbers from Skype and they're not as fantastic as I'm sure some would like if the word "earn out" is part of their future financial planning.

Om points out that the growth rate for Skype needs to rise by over 50 percent percent per day. In an era with increased competition from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Gizmo, SightSpeed and others in the voice and video space, one has to wonder how many more "new" converts are out there for Skype to aquire.

A more interesting stat would be how many eBay users are Skype users or more importantly intend to be, or vice versa. That kind of number would be more relevant for projecting future growth. Hopefully Skype will release that kind of study and help prove the value eBay paid so the market reacts from a position of being better informed and not basing decisions on crystal balls.