Thoughts on ....Wi-Fi and 4G
Thoughts on WebRTC and OTT Services

Jajah Going ByeBye-What Does this Do To Yahoo Messenger?

Jajah is being shut down. Jajah was acquired about five years back for the inflated sum of a reported $207 million dollars by Telefonica. The purcahse was intented to give Telefonica a deeper involvment in VoIP and then enabled them to take over the operations of Yahoo Voice when Yahoo basically started to ween itself away from communications services, in the era where they were rudderless. UPDATE- I just recalled that in January of 2013 Yahoo and Jajah ended their voice service relationship. This tells me the plan was in the works for some time. First Yahoo, then more.

The planned shut down of Jajah by Telefonica also follows the shuttering earlier this year of mobile VoIP play Tu Me and is evidence of the internal fighting at Telefonica as the TuGo product is surviving (for now).

Recently on a panel moderated by Dean Bubley during the ITU Telecom World in Bangkok, I commented how non-innovative Telefonica really was, as aquisitions are not innovation and referred to Jajah as "two servers in a broom closet connected to a few Tier One networks" at their time of acquisition. It looks like I wasn't that far off as shutting down a $200 million dollar purchase rivals the BT purchase of Ribbit for over $100 million dollars, which BT has basically wound down after buying the company for what was to be six services BT had on their roadmap, but never executed on either.

These two failures demonstrate the difference between Google, Microsoft and Apple who buy strategically, while old line telcos buy out of fear and uncertainty.

For the past few years the few people who have had a Yahoo Voice number were basically paying Jajah to maintain their phone numbers and use credit that was paid for to Jajah under the Yahoo name. What this does to Yahoo Voice is anyone's guess, but I'm betting they shut it down, until the company can figure out where it's really going, as a VoIP service tied to an antiquated Yahoo Messenger, that is not really as good as Skype is not the kind of effort the new leadership at Yahoo is getting behind.

Back in its day, in the Brad Garlinghouse, Craig Walker, Vincent Paquet and then Jeff Bonforte eras, VoIP inside Yahoo Messenger was to be a Skype killer. Yahoo spent lots of money buying and starting to build out a Skype threat, worked on rates to lower prices but in the end Bonforte was told to not make it a big deal and it basically was on life support since then.

The Jajah piece came to life about three or four years back where Yahoo basically outsourced the Voice piece to them and it simply billed customers. 


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Got to disagree with you on this one mostly, Andy. I'd completely forgotten that Jajah even had a retail VoIP business, to be honest, and reminding me doesn't change my opinion. I highly doubt that TF bought Jajah on the basis of its ongoing business' forecast future cashflows.

I don't know all the full details, but my understanding is that various chunks of Jajah DNA exist inside Telefonica Digital's own VoIP platform used as a basis for the now-defunct TUMe, the current TUGo and other services I've heard talked about. At an analyst event a year or so back I heard the name TUCore as its internal platform, and possible basis for future wholesale deals like the Yahoo one.

I'd agree that the price paid looks large now, with hindsight. But it's difficult to know what the value of subsequent accelerated experience has been, or the opportunity costs that would have arisen if they'd chosen a go-it-alone path.

I still think Telefonica Digital is the closest I've seen to an operator "getting it right" in OTT communications, especially with the Tokbox acquisition. The fact it's taken a couple of attempts is nothing to be ashamed of - one of the key strategies I recommend for telcos' digital units is being able to accept failure and try again with something different. Contrast that will all the telcos that just play the same broken IMS/RCS record time & again.

Markus Göbel

Those were the days! Thank you for bringing them back for a glimpse with your post. AFAIK the Jajah infrastructure and development is in good hands at Telefónica.

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