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Posts from April 2013

Oracle In Telco-Look At FreeSwitch

With the purchase of Tekelec and Acme Packet one has to be wondering if market leading Broadsoft is next on Oracle's buying spree. While it's a possibility, I think the game plan is more of a surround strategy, than buy the company that would immediately grant SAP a licence to start working with every other telco and switch manufacturer on the planet. Basically, Broadsoft has so many customers that would feel Oracle's moves are too competitive in the long run they would begin to look at options. Oracle isn't buying up pieces to not make more money. What Mark Hurd is doing though is taking the parts that HP would have had if they continued on the path of being big in telecom and establishing the foundation to sell more appliances that are tied to the Oracle cloud.

Instead I would start to look heavily at the open source offering from Freeswitch the same way that Oracle now looks at Java. As an eco-system enabler. If Oracle gets behind Freeswitch then Broadsoft has to really start to start to look at other M&A options. Freeswitch according to many devs and CTO's I speak with is far more flexible and provides options that avoid the walled garden, royalty laden approach of Broadsoft. 

-- Andy Abramson 

WhatsApp @ Skype -Changes That's What

A good friend in the telecom world, Kerry Ritz, who is the ex head of Vonage UK and before that was with 3 in London tipped me off to a move at Microsoft-Skype that is sure to cause raise some eyebrows over at WhatsApp in Mountain View and with their VCs I bet. If I was WhatsApp I would become even more agressive and start to look for more carrier and operator deals before Skyprosoft gets serious with their operator partners whom they are already deeply courting on all levels to sell services and solution. (By the way, if you're not using WhatsApp and you text across borders or send photos your missing out. I couldn't travel and stay in touch without it and iMessage as easily as I do.I just wish Whatsapp worked on tablets and had multi-device sync like iMessage.)

Ritz tipped me of about Ran Mokady, a veteran mobile exec who is credited by many as being the father of the mobile browser. Think of Mokady as the Marc Andressen of mobile. In March Mokady was made Senior Director of Program Management, Messaging and Async at Skype. Now at first blush the title has to be considered a mouthful, but given Ran's background, time served inside and around Microsoft, his work with Apple and vision, plus the ownership by Skype of GroupMe (a company that took part in one of Larry Lisser's Startup Camps at ITExpo a few years back) WhatsApp has to be looking over their shoulders.

Let's think about market rationale and opportunity. Skype is globally used and has massive penetration and market share with app usage on mobile devices climbing. Currently Skype's SMS is one way and basically useless compared to WhatsApp. On the otherhand iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) have enourmous user bases which like Skype are OTT (over the top) service. In a note to me Kerry pointed out the Lync installed user base, which I feel becomes Skype accessible very soon. Add in the demise of Microsoft Messenger and one has to know that like everything Microsoft does, they tossed a pebble in one direction while preparing to roll a big boulder down the hill.

Take all the pieces-Skype, Lync and GroupMe, put together a service focused approach, store it in the cloud, and you have one more take money away from the carrier service. Also, with Microsoft adding federation to Lync and Skype (think what Xconnect has done with cable operators voice and video traffic) with messaging it totally goes after the markets held by not only the mobile operators, but also brings in an alternative to things like Twitter and email itself.  Gone are the 160/140 character limits because the messaging is inside Skype. Want to go from chat to call to video to screen share...those are why the ASYNC in the title is the key....

-- Andy Abramson 

Why Google Loves WebRTC

Todd Carothers' well penned post about WebRTC is totally in line with my thinking about the new technology. Lot's of money will be made, a bunch of startups will enter the space, many will die off, some will be successful, some will be acquired and of course, there will be Google, this decade's Yahoo or AOL-where new ideas come forth, some get acquired and others die. But for Google WebRTC is a big market opportunity, something that Todd points out when he wrote, and I quote:

"Meets Google’s modus operandi to implement technologies that better help it understand it’s users to sell advertising."

By this I mean the holy bucket of money that's sitting on the sidelines, not yet even coming into YouTube's coffers. I'm talking "commercials." Worldwide television commerical ad spend dominates and Google isn't even in the running today at getting much of the spend. But, as WebRTC technology improves now delivery of content, content that is dropped into a call, or around a conference call flourishes. Google's already figured out how to target ads, so as Sending Party Pays becomes the pay model for delivery of rich and massively sized data over other parties networks, users of Google's WebRTC technology (i.e. inside the Chrome browser, on Android devices and Chromebooks) all get served up television like commercials. 

This takes Google smack into the middle of your viewing experience. And, delivers it for free to you. Your devices become like televisions. Remember when houses had more televisions than people? Well if you apply the same approach to laptops, smartphones and tablets, plus monitors and all, with WebRTC totally web browser centric Google can give away Chromebook and Chromepads all day long and recoup their money with targeted delivery of commercials.

It's the era of the all knowing about you, and your calling habits, your friends and relationships, plus your calendar and social patterns are what Google is collecting. Add in the delivery of commercials you want to watch and that can impact your lives, and Google wins.