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Tsahi on The TokBox Acquisition

I read Tsahi's well thought out post about the recent TokBox acquisition. Overall I found very little to disagree with, and appreciated the candor about the global carriers in ability to execute. Let's face it. The legacy folks have been making money off of services like landline and dial tone for years. The mobile folks make money from subscriptions and add on services. But neither have innovated.

One key point that Tsahi brought up was how Vonage was dependent on Amazon Chime. My view is Amazon eventually enters the "phone" space and  Vonage doesn't want to rely on a looming competitor. By the "phone" space, I'm referring to calls and texts, which basically means just like every other industry Amazon enters, there's a flattening of the competition. Amazon's entry won't be hard, as integration of voice and text into their apps is rather easy, and they already have Amazon Echo's in almost 25% of the USA houses. The Echo's become the end point, or "desk phone."

Given you can already integrate services like Dialpad and OnSip (though Telzio did it first) to make calls using your existing contact directory. Google's Home integrates with GoogleVoice so it makes calls also, the Echo becomes your phone. Integrating the Echo into a conference service is likely the next frontier and with the Echo Show and Fire tablets and TV's the video end point is already there too. All this adds up to Amazon being a "phone" company one day in the future and are proof points for Vonage to need to move away from the big A.

Tsahi also points out the failure of Telefonica to do anything at all with TokBox. I figured it would be a 5-10 year slog when they acquired TokBox, and at just about year five, they booted the company, likely recovering their investment and not much more if any profit was there to be made.

This is nothing new.

Back in the VoIP hayday, AT&T (pre-SBC) had CallVantage, a service developed inside AT&T's Labs that back then offered the best voice quality and was well poised to change the game. Unfortunately, once SBC acquired AT&T everything stopped and CallVantage died off.  Verizon also dabbled with Wing, that had not a prayer of a chance of going anywhere. Both were Vonage competitors and due to the Triple T effect (TYPICAL TELECOM THINKING) the powers at be treated them both like lab experiments. 

Give it a read..



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