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Posts from September 2009

eComm Coming Up-Take the Word of My Friend James Enck

I know how good eComm Europe will be, having been involved in helping the last two USA based events. But don't take my word alone for it, as I could be accused of bias. Instead take the word of fellow Telecom Cabal member, James Enck, who from his perch in London has expressed his views on the late October event in Amsterdam.

Folks, eComm Europe is coming up fast, October 28 - 30 in Amsterdam, and you'll hate yourself if you miss it. I honestly think the speaker list is unparalleled anywhere, and the format ensures a rich flow of sharp and challenging talks on a wide range of topics of critical interest to those of us linked in the communications value chain. So look into my eyes, look deep into my eyes, and now go and register.

Happy To Hear the VON Event Was Good

While I wish I could have been in attendance at VON in Miami Beach this week, I was having fun at DEMO in San Diego.

Alec Saunders was there, and has a positive and upbeat report.

One of my agency's clients, Junction Networks, debuted their new and snazzy interface,, a unified communications, all web based management tool for OnSip. Rich Terhani has the details with a very good video interview of JN's Mike Oeth.

What You Name Your Company Is Important

At Demo a lot of "new" products get launched. Lots of money and time is spent getting up on stage and getting their name out there.

One of them, is called DateCheck, from Intellus, and their all about ferreting out the falsity about a person who may get into a relationship. Given the growth of online dating, their social network focused efforts are very much needed.

But naming your company without checking all the domains that pop up when you search for the name can sometimes be, well, embarrassing to people who are searching for love in all the wrong places.

Bottom line, when someone searches for DateCheck, they may just get a Date Chick with a background that is exactly what they're looking for.

Cisco Becomes Skype's Biggest Partner in SIP

I love being right when I write.

Om's post last night about Cisco going with Skype for SIP was what I said back when Skype and ShoreTel hooked up.

They'll be more of these announcements as Skype is playing the momentum game and deserves all the accolades they can get. Too much attention is being given to the legal morass that at the end of the day was caused by eBay at the time of the Skype purchase.

Sadly, the current Skype management team, and new owners, now have to clean up that mess.

Tiscali Offers WiPhone-My Take

Pal Luca broke the news about Tiscali, a broadband and MVNO operator whose deployment of the new WiPhone app, not to be confused with iPhone, that enables their users to make WiFi phone calls ala client Truphone.

I keep hearing rumors of other GSM players entering the WiFi phone call market just as we have heard about Vonage and their efforts on the iPhone that caused a rise of their share price a few weeks back. This is not an aberration, but the harbinger of things to come. Put simply, mobile operators can make more money if they offload calling to WiFi as the call gets on their network either via their own or some the broadband network of someone else.

For Tiscali, an MVNO, this is also a defensive move against Femtocells, something MVNO's aren't likely to invest in for a while. Who needs another piece of hardware when you can use already existing, low cost infrastructure, plus proven software in the middle (WiFi) that lets you make calls. Now, before people start moaning about things like latency and garbled calls, let me point out that in Europe, the broadband is just better than we have here in the USA at lower bit rates. As someone who has used Truphone in multiple countries over WiFi via free hotspots, paid bandwidth in hotels, via Boingo and even in my winemaker friend's country house, making phone calls on a smartphone over WiFi works.

By moving in this direction, Tiscali becomes a carrier which has broken ranks with the traditional GSM mindset, just as a few operators such as T-Mobile and Orange have with their UMA play and as Three has with their Skype phone from INQ. In Belgium, MVNO, Cherry has also announced their intention to be a converged player as well in the mobile space.

Update-seems Dean Elwood at VoIPUser has a similar take. His last line sums up why WiFi calling will have its day.

Did eBay Buy A Lemon?

Perhaps the most interesting post of all the many posts about the Skype and eBay fiasco -that is rapidly turning into what could be an eye opening investigation by someone about the interlocking relationships between lawyers, VC's, startups and suitors- is the post by Tom Keating that references and alleges all kinds of treachery by the Skype founders.

In many ways this reminds me of what happened to the suit from Streamcast against Skype's founders which was a RICO suit as it alleged that there was a pattern/method that was used to basically never turn over technology that cripples someone's business.

More important and material to all this as Michael Arrington and others have pointed out is the total lack of knowing what they were buying by the eBay leadership at the time. Without question, Skype is a business that can make money, so buying the business made sense. But to draw a comparison, eBay bought the car and was being loaned engine. Sure it rolled. But without the engine there's no way it goes anywhere. Take the engine away, and you really just have a car body, not a car.

Om's post pulls no punches. He has been on cordial terms with the Index VC folks for years and has had a very good rapport with them, so one has to remember that nothing shared in the past isn't helping him shape his opinion. But here's the interesting thing, all of a sudden a bunch of former Kazaa folks are popping up, spread a doomsday story about the original founders pulling the plug on Skype.

The asymmetrical warrior in me see's the pattern. Reach out to a few bloggers, get the scare out. Sorry. My dad taught me something early on in life. Wear a gun. You scare people you may use it. Pull the gun, you better use it. There's no halfway point with a loaded gun that's pointed at the target.

It's time to fire the gun and move on.

VoIP is Irrelevant

I love it when the wave of humor descends on an industry. VoIP is Irrelevant, shouts the headline in a Phone+/VON web site story today.

Catchy. Witty. Snarky. Yes to all three. Because we know VoIP is irrelevant as it has converged each day, deeper and deeper into the calling experience of so many people.

Years back, when Vonage came along VoIP was a hot topic. But dear old VoIP has become so much a part of the calling mainstream--cable companies deploy it. Enterprises use it. All the IM voice services are VoIP, including Skype which even though they don't give a SIP, it's still VoIP. Gamers use VoIP to talk to other gamers.

You see, VoIP is Voice, the same way that POTS and PSTN are Voice. The moment someone invented a media gateway that took an IP call and moved it to the PSTN, VoIP was irrelevant, and now that the quality issues have cleared up, IP calling is no different today than a circuit switched call.

So remove the label, and stop caring if it's VOIP, PSTN, POTS, Mobile and just make the damn call instead of twitering and IM'ing, as all you're doing is losing YOUR voice.

Jajah's Twitter Play Sliced, Diced and Gutted

Stuart has taken either a bayonet or a surgeon's blade to the recent announcement/attempt by Jajah to catch onto the wave of hype surrounding Twitter.

It is a masterfully written post, that only someone who has spent the time to really care about what can be done, and truly studied the possibilities could author.

I'll also be the first to admit, I don't get the hype over Jajah, and never did. One SIP operator who is part of their so called federation privately tells me that they see no traffic from them. No one at Yahoo has stood up and shouted about how much money they've saved by turning their business of voice calling over to Jajah for Yahoo Messenger (but remember this is the same company -Yahoo-that bought Dialpad and never really used the technology for what it could do in VoIP, that being least cost routing and massive anti-fraud detection.) Also Jajah wasn't at IT Expo and I don't see them selling at the Channel Partners event next week in Miami Beach, so if they've got something to really sell, why aren't they where the customers are?

Now they want to be part of the Twitter hype, basically taking the anonymous calling technology the inherited from Jangl (and Michael Cerda who stuck around Jajah for all of a Hollywood minute before launching cc:Betty earlier this year.)

Sorry, but cheap calling and apps to drive cheap calling are so yesterday. Free calling is an even bigger non-starter to me, as you can't run your business on Free and be reliable to your customers.

Read Stuart and realize this. Not everyone subscribes to the King and I theory of story telling. Some of us do see things just as they really are.