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Posts from February 3, 2013 - February 9, 2013

Skype Getting Chummy With Mobile Operators ties to Dell Strategy

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase

In a prior era Skype was trying hard to get close to mobile operators. They had established deals with Three and Verizon Wireless and a few others around the globe. That all seemed to go on hold when Microsoft acquired the company and the focus became more surrounding integration with the rest of what Microsoft does.

Just yesterday news started to leak out of Russia that Skype is now supporting carrier billing meaning consumers can buy credit and charge it to there bill. To me, this is no surprise as Microsoft about 18 months ago started to view the mobile operators as their next channel of distribution. If you look at the mobile operators in the GigaOm post, Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon Wireless, all but Telus were on the short list of operators MSFT wanted to get close to first, starting in 2011. The others, AT&T and Vodafone, as well as China Mobile will likely come on board soon.

Fast forward to today. Dell becomes a major part of the Skype eco-system and the mobile operators and their billing platforms become the furture of online retail for Dell and all of Microsoft. The Microsoft - Dell loan is much like what Microsoft did many years back to help keep Apple alive, as it props up a competitor of sorts, but makes them a partner. But now, with the mobile operators and Microsoft being cozier, the distribution channel for Dell reopens in a bigger way. With Dell building tablets and PCs' as well as smartphones, one has to wonder why Microsoft needs Nokia much longer other than for manufacturing.

Now with Dell private, MSFT can make moves with Dell--possibly taking over the Nokia manufacturing facilities, using Dell's logistics and blending the clouds of Azure and BOOMI...

Acme Packet Bought by Oracle

Acme Packet (AKPT) makers of session border controllers and related real time communications technology has been acquired by Oracle, reports the New York Times this morning and others including Reuters.

This is an interesting grab by one of the tech world's true giants because it sqaurely puts Oracle into a game where they begin to compete with the giants of telecom, many of whom run Oracle software to drive things including SBC's, media gateways and firewall technology that's sold. What's more it means that for companies which compete with Acme Packet, like Sansay, a San Diego based private company founded by friend Andy Voss, that they now have an even bigger opportunity to take away market share from Acme Packet with Sansay's home grown technology that is viewed by many of their customers to be better, faster, more reliable and from whom they get real insight into VoIP network and topology issues. If nothing else, it increases Sansay's valuation, and will likely cause others in the space like Sonus to all embark on a very aggressive partnering and sales effort as mergers like these often cause attrition, if not immeditely, over the first 18 months. 

How Oracle integrates a Real Time Communications business into their portfolio, and what this means for things like their cloud offerings is yet to be known. What this will do though is create excitement in the valley and across the country, as this will likely trigger companies like Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Juniper Network, F5 and others, as well as security and firewall companies to realize that they now have a giant that knows how to sell in and through in both to legacy as well as startups, forcing them all to become as nimble as Oracle is. I would not be surprised to see SAP want to get in the game, and they would be wise to look no further than Voss and his Sansay team.

On a related note, one has to also see this as Mark Hurd further going after an already weakened telecom networking business over at former employers H-P.