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Posts from June 2006

Skype Giving More Away

For the balance of the month you can get Skype Out International calling 30 countries around the world for free> if you're a USA based Skype user.

In my view this Skype is acting more and more like a real phone company, using promotions such as this, which is clearly sampling. In many ways this is much like the old MCI or Sprint switch campaigns that did battle with AT&T in the pre-divestiture and post divestiture era of the 1980's.

Skype is looking to get people to try the service and see how they like it. For a short time period of less than 10 days that's certainly a promotion in my mind and a smart move in order to get some additional uptake in usage from existing users and as a way to get new users.

The timing is also very interesting, as the promotion is running at the start of the summer travel season and just after many universities have held graduations.

Vonage Sued Twice

If you're Vonage's new CEO, you have to wonder what you got yourself into as Vonage is rapidly becoming like Microsoft, a company embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit, and while Microsoft's legal woes, much of which is behind them and were largely based on their approach to competition, Vonage as a company is being as liars and thieves.

In Canada, cable operator Shaw Cable is claiming misrepresentation as a way to further differentiate its own VoIP service (which offers QOS) from Vonage's which we all know doesn't really offer any.

But the big blockbuster was the Verizon and Verizon Laboratories suit that Vonage admitted today was filed against them, and which they will defend vigorously dealing with patent infringement.

Tom Keating also has some thoughts on this.

PC World Reviews AIM Phone Line and Skype 2.5

Check out

Aoife McEvoy's review of AIM PhoneLine vs. Skype Beta 2.5.

Some of the challenges that AOL's phone team faced were likely similar in many ways to similar hurdles that the Yahoo voice team's is finding in bringing voice into an IM world. The IM clients weren't architected for voice so voice has to integrated into them. That's not as easy as it seems and is a contributing factor to this type of review and comparison.

Skype was built from the ground up to do what it does. Gizmo Project was also designed from the ground up to be a voice product as was SightSpeed for video. So in reading the review one has to remember that it's a far cry easier to add IM to voice or video compared to adding voice to a legacy Instant Messaging application.

Vonage: Wrong Numbers

Om refers to Vonage's numbers not adding up and delves into their latest marketing push to get subscribers to add a second line by eliminating sign up costs and waiving cancellation fees. I have to wonder if like Skype casting aside dollars in the short term with calls in the USA being free, if we really have reached a point where calls are almost free for minutes. So by cutting out the sign up and cancellation fees, it's the same as giving away almost seventy dollars worth of service.

I also predict that Vonage will make some changes really soon, starting with some new hires in key executive roles under the new CEO. With so much money in the bank it's time for them to hire some veteran (read big time telco) business development, marketing and sales guns with real experience.