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Posts from December 2008

iPod Touch Sales Drives App Store Downloads

With applications like Palringo, Truphone, Nimbuzz, Fring all available in the iPhone/iPod App Store seeing that the sales of iPod Touch devices being so strong, makes my heart a flutter.

I too bought two of these in the last few weeks, one for myself and one as a gift for my wife. I see the 2nd Generation iPod Touch as being the sleeper product of the year. It's capabilities rival the iphone, and since you can use almost all the apps (minus the GPS other than Palringo which works with WiFi locations too) the market for iPhone app sales just grew.

Korea Sets Voice over WiBro Standard, KT To Deploy VoMax

Over in Korea where WiMax has been up and running under the WiBro monicker, we read that a standard for voice services has been set up, and that KT (Korea Telecom) is gearing up to deploy it.

This news is excellent news for the Voice Service provider industry as it gives them a standard to follow and to work with. It also shows just how quickly WiMax is moving compared to WiFi which only this year has adopted and ratified a real VoIP protocol, something that slowed down the adoption of muni-WiFi.

By having a standard, and a giant in KT already embracing it, Voice over WiMax actually has a future. For Clear, here in the USA, it opens the doors to service providers who can offer a voice carrier something different a chance to sell something new.

In my mind, if I was looking to be different from the regular cellular based mobile operators I would be looking at IVR and Speech Recognition first. With the way the laws are going here in the USA it wouldn't be simply value added. It would be selling an essential service to a new market with a true difference. This is ideal for client Mobivox and their MobivoxPL platform.

Cisco Gearing Up for 2009

You can tell a lot by the way a company behaves in the media. Cisco, is one of those companies which knows how to sing a tune.

It's no coincidence that Cisco has two very interesting stories appear in different parts of the media today. It was planned. What's more if you look closely at both stories you can see that the story angles are not that different. That's called positioning, and when you read the words you see that the Cisco message for 2009 is really more about pulling more of their switches through the service providers by getting more end of the line (i.e. the consumer and the business user) dependent on IP based services and features.

The New York Times story takes a very consumer tone (of course) while the CXO Today story has a more inside the technology business world perspective. Both highlight many of the same initiatives that Cisco is embarking on and draw attention to why those efforts are so important to the publics, not only the company. That's called messaging.

While Cisco may have only made four acquisitions this past year, its clear that they have focus and their Linksys and Scientific Atlanta grabs from prior years are certainly now coming to the forefront.

My guess is that in 2009 Cisco makes some moves that expands their market share immensely. They are still a darling of what's left on Wall Street, they have sales and they are very focused.

Jon Arnold Proclaims-VoIP Is Not Dead

Analyst Jon Arnold has written a killer piece this morning for TMC proclaiming that VoIP is not dead, and he's right. The acquisition of Sylantro by Broadsoft sure proves that, but Arnold goes much deeper.

In his well penned muse, the laser focused, hard charging Boston Red Sox fan points out that many are crying the blues, when there's growth and green ahead, calling attention to ten or so companies that are making a difference. (Note: Six of the ten are clients of my agency Comunicano so I'm very happy to see this kind of endorsement.)

Arnold is right on target when he refers to the service providers being the beneficiaries of VoIP. The consumer game is pretty much over. The cable guys are winning that battle Arnold pretty much admits, a point I've been making for a few years. As a result the companies he highlights are all well positioned and well poised to work with both the cable operators, VSP (Voice Service Providers), Mobile Operators and telcos to deliver next generation services, not simply dial-tone and call connection.

Let's face it, none of the service providers have been investing in new networks and new technology to power them to deliver the same old service.

It's Official-Broadsoft Acquires Sylantro

In what was a classic example of a secret not being well kept, Broadsoft today finally announced the acquisition of Sylantro.

Doug Mohney of Fierce VoIP has been on the story and really provided the early reporting on the story first with his report on December 18, and then with the follow-up the next day where he pointed out how many employees were bitter with the outcome as it appears that the deal according to his sources was nothing more than an asset sale, plus assumption of debt. In stock market terms, the common shareholders got very little, and the investors likely walk away without any burden but not much more.

Unfortunately, the terms of the deal between two private companies were not made public, other than Sylantro customers being made comfortable.

Here's what I think:

1) This is a great move by Broadsoft.

2) Broadsoft takes one of their software based competitors off the map, and strengthen their position.

3) Broadsoft acquires a nice customer base including AT&T which has had Sylantro in their VoIP network for a few years.

4) Broadsoft gains Earthlink as a customer, as Earthlink's TruVoice service also. Sylantro is the applications server. The same holds true at AOL which is playing around with some VoIP with AIM but no one even notices (or really cares)

5) It's a very nice match up (not not MASH-UP) as Broadsoft was always looked as a softswitch with an applications layer, while Sylantro was viewed by insiders in the know as an Applications Server imitating a softswitch.

6) Broadsoft has been the flavor of choice for many VoIP 2.0 companies who now want to add more features. Sylantro offers a platform to put those features on.

7) For application developers, it means the Broadsoft Applications platform becomes an immediate place to be. No one more than Thomas Howe knows the value there as he was the Broadsoft Mashup champion in 2008.

All in all, this is a smart grab by a smart company, that positions Broadsoft for more growth. With Nortel having the blind staggers right now, this is Broadsoft's time to grow. My guess is integration will take four to six months, and it will be June or so before the fruits of the purchase start to show more than usual and customary sales.

The Secrets of Texting (and Profit) and What Twitter is Money in The Bank

Randall Stross of the New York Times has an excellent analysis and shows some very good reporting around the SMS industry and to what lengths the carriers will go to preserve what they have.

In many ways this makes me think of Twitter and the value it would bring to a mobile operator, much the same way that Plaxo will bring value to Comcast. Loyalty and usage fees from that usage are my first thoughts.

Let's face it. Twitter is sticky. It's addictive. It's messaging. It conforms length wise to SMS very well. Most of all, people are already using various clients on mobile devices already to Twitter back and forth.

I say, some smart mobile operator will bag Twitter in 2009 simply to be in control of it. Heck, maybe even a group of them will buy it up.

Do You Miss The Old AT&T? What The Divestiture Caused

Network World questions if the AT&T break up 25 years ago had any real impact on innovation saying that other countries didn't force divestiture and are in the same place.

I would contend that other than Russia and China, no country covers the kind of geography that the USA does, and as such comparison's are out the window.

I'll also contend that what we have today with cable and wireless companies is the Bell System put back together if you look at the map.

For example, AT&T and Verizon are still the most dominant forces in landlines, followed by Quest.

In Mobile AT&T and Verizon are one and two. Sprint is what Sprint was in alternative long distance and T-Mobile is the MCI of the wireless world. Other players like Cricket, Metro PCS and Boost are next rung, just like there were other Alternative Long Distance Players back in the 80s.

When it comes to landlines, the cable guys are picking off subscribers to the point where both AT&T and Verizon, as well as Quest, are finally saying, "we've had enough" and are rolling out the big guns with UVerse and FIOS as a countermeasure. In turn, CableVision counters locally with WiFi, while Cox begins to play with Mobile phone service. Time Warner and Comcast look to WiMax as their out of market play and even a mobile in-market play, as WiMax becomes the 21st century equal to the mobile phone play of the 80's and 90s.

So did divestiture spur innovation? No. It spurred on a type of competition where the people who had imagination saw opportunity to make money by making it easier for new competitors to enter the market plain and simple.

At What Price? A Destructive Force or A Lapse of Business Sense

Ken Camp has one of his better posts in a very long time, where he muses off of Rich's post about the impact of Siemens alleged bribery efforts. In the post Ken connected three different thoughts, but all with a central theme. In turn it got me thinking.

First, I feel the Siemens debacle is an example of what Ayn Rand dubbed "Anti-Greed" in Atlas Shrugged. It is not the Wall Street "greed is good" line at play but rather what can we do so no one else makes money.

Second Ken, in pointing to Rich's post, draws out the fact that this is likely the tip of the iceberg, and is why you will see companies now documenting things more or being like WalMart, where every sample left has to go through the purchasing team where it's logged.

Third, the Siemens matter, where they "settled" will mean that globally the anti-corruption forces will tag team more, as we're in such a crazy state now where money flows across borders as fast or faster than email, that the rise of the global economy police via the UN and Interpol will come about.

We're no longer, and haven't been for a very long time, living in a nation state world. Borders are simply there for geographic and tax reasons. Multi-national organizations, both civil and criminal exist, and anyone who thinks the local crack dealer isn't part of a global "company" without knowing it is on drugs themselves. What the Siemens folks allegedly did was an example of how old school business works. It was about keeping everyone happy. Other companies in other industries likely do the same thing. The question is which will be the next target for the investigators.

More Sales Opportunities For VoIP Companies

Ted Wallingford's comment about the SMB space got me thinking.

If more companies now have an in house VoIP maven, doesn't that mean there's more opportunities to sell VoIP related hardware, software and services?

The key becomes finding those people. Since many of the job holders have been found via recruiters, that means the smart VoIP sales organization will align themselves with the head-hunting and job placement firms, turn those recently hired into prospects and start selling to them.

Now, how one learns who's hiring and who just hired is an art form, but the smart and savvy make money off of being artful.