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Posts from February 2007

Apple and Cisco-There's Nothing Like An "I Told You So"

A few short weeks ago I penned a piece here on VoIPWatch as to why Apple and Cisco would be working together.

It seems I was right.

This is the tip of the iceberg between the two companies. For weeks I have been saying on KenRadio and in private conversations that an Apple relationship will be important to Cisco, and vice versa.

Here's why:

1. Apple helps liven up the Linksys brand at retail with innovation, not me too products.

2. Cisco helps bring Apple into the enterprise market more easily.

After that it becomes a game of how long the two companies can play nice, something Apple has rarely done with any third party.

Long term bet---Cisco buys Apple when Steve Jobs has had enough and wants to ride off into the sunset a second time.

Grand Central and Gizmo In Sync

Matt Miller, Paul Kapustka, Alec Saunders, Garrett Smith and Ken Camp are all providing incredible analysis on the interoperability between GrandCentral and GizmoProject.

Last night Craig Walker, CEO of GrandCentral was my first call to try it out. A few minutes earlier, Dameon (PhoneBoy) and I had just completed a Gizmo to Gizmo call on my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.

This combination is killer for those of us who travel and have wired broadband in the hotel. Bring along a WiFi travel router, plug that into the hotel's broadband network ad use a N80-Internet Edition dual mode phone from Nokia and the calls are free as you'll avoid cellular carrier airtime. Or if you have one, try Gizmo on a Nokia Internet Tablet 770 or Nseries 800. Then again, you can always use Gizmo and GrandCentral on your Mac or PC too.

With eTel coming up next week, it's nice to see the mashups already becoming a reality, and in this case, one that really works well.

Congrats to all involved in making vision become reality.

Jim Courtney on Being Always On (or Off)

Skype Journal's Jim Courtney has a very insightful thought piece on the state of being always on and what the always connected folks can do about it.

Jim is being daring, trying out new applications like FRING, TruPhone, iotum's TalkNow and others on his devices. In doing so he's breaking the same ground that other early adopters like myself tend to tread.

The key to the new applications and being "Always On" is control, which is what the (client) iotum's Talk Now gives us all. Having the ability to set my status and availability at the touch of a button caused me to start using my Blackberry more than I had in years as a phone.

Here's a real world example of what Jim is referring to.

After purchasing a new RIM 8700 (I decided not to wait for the smaller, lighter 8800 as T-Mobile won't have it for few more months) I installed TalkNow and after a few minutes was online with a few other "buddies" and talking with them instead of playing phone tag. TalkNow has made it more efficient for me to reach and be reached, but more importantly has reduced interruptions.

That's one example of what Jim is referring to in his post. But there are others. As we approach the O'Reilly eTel conference next week, I fully expect more examples of smart, 2.0 type applications and mash ups to occur between new and more powerful devices, software apps and networks.

Skype Math

Skype Journal has some facts about Skype posted today.

Basically the stats reveal that at maximum slightly under 2 percent of the downloads reflect users online versus downloads, but the downloads reflect almost a 3x download of Skype per user. Nowhere in the math are the corrections for those of us who have multiple devices (I have at least 6) that can be connected to Skype nor does it take into consideration multiple account users per installed client (like in my office).

So with the 171 million users reported that means a max of five percent of the installed user base with accounts are using Skype at any one time. The key number that is missing is how many Skype users convert to some paid Skype service. That information remains a mystery to me so while eBay reports gross aggregated dollars generated from Skype they don't provide the breakdown that shows where the trends are going:

1) No information from eBay has been reported about the number of paid Skype In numbers in service (I have three in various parts of the world) and after a year or more Skype still calls this a Beta service.

2) No information is available yet from eBay on Skype Out minutes sold, consumed. What's more is there hasn't been any public commentary on what is called breakage, or the unconsumed minutes by users who bought SKype Out credit and just never used it.

3) No stats are available of users who have purchased and used Skype Voice Mail

4) No stats are published about conversion to Skype Add-Ins, the adoption levels, use and how much money is being generated in around the Skype eco-system, etc.

When it comes to telling the numbers, Skype's between a rock and a hard place. Report these types of numbers and they present a compelling case to the more mainstream companies and users who have yet to see the value. At the same time if they actually reveal the numbers in clear and uncertain terms then the telcos and the threat they pose becomes more apparent. That would then mean the carriers and mobile operators would begin to see the Skype threatloud and clear, which in turn may cause them to embrace the Skype alternatives that are based on SIP that would give them something to offer to keep their existing customer from leaving.

I'm already hearing that the carriers feel that that day will come, but right now the loss to Skype is considered nothing more than a rounding error. That's because the real numbers of Skype users never were customers of the telcos, only potential future customers. Cable operators understand the homes passed, future customer model, which is something the telcos never had to worry about with telco think.

Once the thinking on all fronts changes Telco 3.0 will be here.

eTel LaunchPad To Feature New VoIP Ideas

Om Malik of GigaOm and Surj Patel of O'Reilly's Emerging Telephony event spent the last few months looking for what's new in VoIP and have lined up seven companies to tell their story in seven minutes in front of the eTel faithful.

-GrandCentral Communications

-Jive Software




-Flat Planet Phone Co.


The companies get to strut their stuff on the evening of February 27th. Right afterwards the not to be missed GigaOm LaunchPad party sponsored by Covad and GrandCentral Communications happens and promises to be another great Om party at the Burlingame Marriott Hotel starting at 8 PM.