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Posts from July 2008

Olympic Bound?

If you're heading to China for the Olympics, or just for some really good Peking Duck, the folks at PhoneFusion have added a web based calling feature that lets you bridge your calls to a local Chinese cell phone number.

Simply purchase a local SIM and point your PhoneFusion account to the number and your calls from the folks back home won't be at the usual extortion like rates to your regular cell phone. If you need to make a call, simply set that up via their web site or by sending an email.

Both methods generate a callback to your new local number and then you're free to call back to the USA while the local call you USA number and reach you in China without a big bill.

Ribbit Sold!

The sale of Ribbit to British Telecom, which was delayed for sometime for reasons likely having to do with internal matters, has apparently closed.

105 million is a pretty price, and I expect to see some other companies grabbed in the next few months as M&A activity is heating up. In the case of Ribbit though they're just getting around to releasing their software. That spells great news for client IfByPhone (see post below) that already has a working platform and paying customers who are using a similar toolkit and are developing lightweight, proven need case applications.

Note: Both companies were present and participated at eComm 2008 last March in Silicon Valley.

Send Your Business Calls Somewhere, Anywhere

Chicago based Comunicano client, IfByPhone, was featured in today's Chicago Sun-Times. The story placement is the work of my virtually based asymmetrical communications agency staff's teamwork approach, collaborating using tools like Basecamp from 37Signals and other web and IP based services.

The key to this story is about being big in your own back yard, and also timing. Next week IfByPhone participates in Ad:Tech, and this new Lead Distributor service is great for direct inbound marketing and also provides companies the same kind of capability that previously was reserved for the largest telco customers. For example, airline Jet Blue reportedly spent lots of time and money building out their home based call center where reservationists work from home. With IfByPhone the set up of that type of service is a breeze.

With the airline industry in a heap of hurt, and other travel related industries likely following suit, the IfByPhone platform can enable any business to be like JetBlue and let their people work "anywhere." That means you can pay people more, trim unneeded overhead for rent or real estate. It means people can buy better houses, and live better.

Polycom News About Video Conferencing

When I read the Network World story about Polycom and look at the prices for their video conferencing solution, which is room based and not really portable, I lose interest.

Given the video conferencing capabilities within Skype, SightSpeed and others, one would think IT managers and CFO's would look to see how people are using the higher value, lower cost, no additional hardware needed (other than a webcam) options to determine user uptake first.

One has to shake their head at what this Polycom solutions costs per installation vs. portable, on the go, solutions from companies that are all software based.

AMEN--I'm Glad Someone Else Sees The Ad Model is Broken

Mark McLeod is a serial CFO and thank God, someone else sees what I've been saying. Ad model based businesses are not the panacea that many think it is. You need a real revenue model, which means you need to cultivate paying customers.

The people who like FREE will abandon you the minute they have to pay, unless of course you deal in crack, meth or Horse.

I say to Mark a BIG AMEN!

Why No 3G Tethering On The iPhone?

Apple usually is at the forefront of wireless so it took me by surprise that Apple didn't have the 3G Bluetooth tethering feature in the new iPhone.

Let's look at their "wireless" history.

They were the first to embed Bluetooth into desktop and laptop computers with any consistency where access and connectivity was made easy.

The same applies to 802.11 B, G and now N.

But when it comes to 3G connectivity via a tethered approach, something that can be done on Windows Mobile, Nokia and Motorola handsets and devices out for more than a few years and use them as 3G modems, the new Apple iPhone leaves everyone who loves their iPhone having to get a data card as well to use their Air's, Pros and Books when WiFi isn't around.

This leads one to the conclusion that Apple is playing the a game with the mobile operators as part of their trojan horse approach of being very carrier friendly, but also makes me think they may be the first WiMax ready, so called 4G embeded laptop this fall.