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Posts from June 2006

Cingular Ready To Break Ranks?

Is Cingular about to get ready to let VoIP run free over their data networks? That's the word out of the Yankee Group's Wireless Conference tonight.

But they want to find a way to make it work right and of course find a way to make money off of it in some way.

This of course follows the word yesterday in Light Reading espousing how Time Warner Cable and Sprint are getting ready to roll out Fixed Mobile Convergence enabled dualmode voice via BridgePort Networks and Siemens.

What this means is that phones that work on both cellular networks and WiFi will have one number and calls will continue as you roam from Cellular to WiFi or in the other direction.

Yahoo Messenger For The Mac Due Out Maybe Today

According to one of my sources inside Yahoo the rebuilt from the ground up Mac version of Yahoo Messenger will be out possibly as early as today.

But if you're waiting for Voice and Phone like what exists for the PC, keep waiting. Yahoo, under Jeff Bonforte has taken alot of time to rebuild a new base for all of Messenger so the integration of voice is taking a bit of time.

Stay tuned.

eBay Dishes Up The Numbers on Skype

eBay's CEO emphasized some numbers yesterday and the stock fell.  During a speech at Stanford Meg Whitman indicated that Skype now has over 100 million registered users, while eBay has two hundred million, according to MarketWatch,  which covered Whitman's speech.

What it appears she didn't say is how many eBay users are Skype users, and in not revealing, or with MarketWatch not reporting that, in my view that it is hurting eBay's credibility. You see, by keeping silent on the subject either the folks calling the shots at eBay don't know the answer, or they don't want us to know.

What's the key facts here that research can quantify? It's how many eBay sellers want to receive Skype Me calls from eBay customers and vice versa.  Producing those stats will do a world of good, or at least provide clarity to what's in store in that arena for eBay and Skype.

Since eBay is about to go into a quiet period for earnings, that may also be the reason those facts didn't come out, but with Whitman not telling those key stats, or the lack of them being available to date, they may indeed be the flys in the ointment and one of the reasons eBay stock is dropping.

Even if the numbers of overlapping users and intenders are low today, smart PR people like her aide de camp and Skype GM Henry Gomez, who has tons of telco and public company IR/PR expertise, can easily craft a story around a trend report based on basic research data called a Usage and Attitude study to determine intent. Or by taking information culled from segmentation analysis they can ascertain how different groups of people within the eBay and Skype eco-systems behave today or will behave in the future.

That kind of data is what serves as proof points and right now, they don't seem to be showing any. But according to Skype's PR person Kat James in the UK, what they do
have she told me via a Skype Chat was at first "no, i'm sorry, we don't
have this info" and then adding what exists was "not for public use, no
it hasn't," regarding any data that would be relevant to the overlap being released yet.

If Whitman is as right as she thinks she was when she announced the eBay purchase and wants to circle back to her original messaging regarding the Skype acquisition, something she so elequently explained back then regarding the synergistic aspect and growth opportunities that supported the purchase, in my view by publishing and revealing that kind of research (if accurate) it would be reflective of her vision and would likely have positive impact, but only if indeed the data supported the decision. If the numbers don't reflect her vision, then the eBay/Skype team will need to take what was learned from the research and regroup. It's that simple.

Since eBay has sent research mavens to VON, and other events, I have to believe that like Yahoo, they are studying market metrics and looking at these types of comparisons to do growth forecasts. Or at least, I hope so. 

By not revealing that overlapping user number, and not providing any data on the intent of their buyers and sellers to become Skype users it unfortunately only appears that eBay has not yet seen the kind of uptake they wanted. But in their defence, it's still early.

With an earnings call coming up in July, eBay has a chance to sow the seeds that synergy is working. So come on Meg, show us your goods !!!

iotum to Deliver Unified Communications with Relevance

On the subject of Alec Saunders and Unified Communications, we've been keeping this under our hats for about a week, but the timing could not be better. While Microsoft is promising a solution in 2007, iotum is busily working with partners to offer the kind of experience Steve Ballmer is dreaming about. Note: iotum is a client of my agency.

What I loved about knowing this is some of the comments from friends in the media and analyst community who when hearing the Microsoft story at Globalcomm remarked that it was so iotum like. It seems Alec and Howard have done a very good job at telling their story of being a real Voice 2.0 company.

So today's announcement with Versature, it means companies looking for advance features and services will have a place to go for top quality and reliable 2.0 phone services with the iotum Relevance Engine just like consumers can get it with PhoneGnome, another agency client.

Ex Microsoftee Alec Saunders on the New Unified Communications Approach

Alec says Microsoft is going to need some help to execute on their vision with their new Unified Communications strategy.

I say this is a golden time for the real Voice 2.0 companies to rise and shine. If you're one of the companies squarely in the gunsights of Microsoft, now is the time to evolve, adapt, change and not die.

Alec's point about word processors is dead on (well no pun intended) refering to the fact that better solutions were steamrolled over by MSFT with Word and Office by sheer enertia, not being a better mousetrap.