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Greg Galitzine

May 2007

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Latest Survey Results Are In

May 30, 2007

As the focus of mainstream enterprises begins to shift from the implementation of IP networks to the use of converged applications to improve business performance, Unified Communications (UC) appears potentially poised for wide-spread adoption. Our latest research survey conducted in partnership with IntelliCom Analytics asked TMC subscribers and Web site visitors to describe their plans for deploying UC.


The results suggest that UC solution providers still face considerable challenges in persuading businesses of all sizes that Unified Communications should play an important role in their near-term technology deployment plans.


To see the results of this latest survey, click here.


Adventures In USF... Hawaii Style

May 29, 2007

Wow. Another of those “Your tax dollars at work” stories, this time the beneficiaries are three phone companies serving a Hawaiian land trust.   Apparently, by leveraging some provisions within the USF, Sandwich Isles Communications, Nextel, and Mobi are all collecting $765 per month, per customer for extending their wireless services to the Hawaiian Homelands.   What are the Hawaiian Homelands? Here’s Wikipedia’s take:   In 1921, the federal government of the United States set aside as Hawaiian Homelands approximately 200,000 acres (809 km²) in the Territory of Hawaii as a land trust for homesteading by Native Hawaiians. The law mandating this, passed by the U.S.

Avaya Up For Sale?

May 29, 2007

Looks like Avaya is on the block.   The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Avaya has been in talks with private equity firm Silver Lake about a leveraged buyout, and had also held talks with rival Nortel about a possible deal.   Meanwhile, The New York Times cited executives close to the deal as saying that Avaya has retained the investment bank Credit Suisse as an adviser. The execs also told the Times that Cisco might also be interested in the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company.   As of 11:20 am, Avaya stock was up $1.95 or 14.25% to $15.61 per share.

Ongoing Survey Results Are In

May 23, 2007

The results are in!   The second phase of our ongoing poll has been concluded. We’re conducting these surveys in partnership with our good friends at IntelliCom Analytics, and the most recent question had to do with asking our readers to describe their understanding of the main attributes and benefits of Unified Communications (UC).   The results suggest that the vendors have significant work to do in more clearly describing the major capabilities of Unified Communications, as well as in communicating the tangible benefits that businesses can expect when adopting UC applications.   Of the 897 business decision makers participating in this survey, 24.4% — the highest single response — indicated that vendors have not yet articulated the capabilities of Unified Communications in a tangible way. This perspective was most strongly held in businesses with more than 1,000 employees. 

Cisco Advanced Services VP Sethi Addresses Communications Developers

May 17, 2007

Cisco’s Parvesh Sethi kicked off the keynote session on Thursday morning with a presentation entitled “Developing Innovative UC Applications.”   As vice president, Advanced Services at Cisco, Sethi is responsible for developing and driving professional services competency in key technology areas for both Service Provider and Enterprise market segments.   As many of the prior speakers at the event, Sethi believes that communications is indeed an exciting place for developers to be plying their trade. He told the audience that there are many advances taking place within communications space right now, and that there is a tremendous opportunity for developers in today’s application landscape.   He cited several examples of how the worlds of modern application development and communications are colliding. He also listed a couple of interesting acquisitions that are illustrative of these merging philosophies:  
  • Microsoft’s purchase of TellMe, and
  • Cisco’s own acquisition of WebEx.
Sethi discussed how the evolution of applications and the fact that enterprises have gone “boundaryless” mean that more features are moving into the network fabric. Increasingly today’s most successful companies are those that have taken advantage of, and leveraged the power of the network to aid in delivering their solutions.

Communications Developer: Catching Up With Pactolus' Ken Osowski

May 17, 2007

This week at the Communications Developer Conference, I had the opportunity to catch up with Ken Osowski, vice president of marketing and product management at Marlborough, MA-based, Pactolus, Inc.   Pactolus is a leading developer of feature-rich, carrier-ready IP voice services for converged TDM/IP and VoIP networks. The company’s suite of SIPware services and SIP-based RapidFLEX service delivery platform are designed to reduce the cost and time-to-market required to launch new subscriber services.   Here’s what Osowski had to say regarding the opportunities facing developers today.   “When the company launched in 1999, H.323 was still the rage, and we adopted SIP throughout our product line. Those were very early days, and what we’re seeing finally is just an all-out movement to SIP.   “Developers are looking for fast robust ways to develop applications around SIP protocol.”   Osowski continued, “We have been selling traditionally to service providers and what we are seeing is a channel develop for applications; both as resellers to service providers and also resellers to enterprise and hospitality and a number of other marketplaces, which is actually. This is being borne out by what we are seeing here at the show.

Fonality's Garrison Speaks to Development Community

May 17, 2007

Fonality’s Kerry Garrison, senior product manager, trixbox, addressed the assembled crowd of developers at the Communications Developer Conference on Wednesday afternoon.   In a speech entitled “Considering Open Source?” Garrison presented an overview of the open source movement and suggested to developers that they need to do their homework and decide whether open source is right for them.   Garrison delved into a bit of the history of open source, and it turns out that open source is not new by any means. Garrison gave several examples:  
  • We have been trading code since the very first computers, he said.
  • There was a time when we would order code from a catalog.
  • Magazines had source code available through barcodes.

Inter-Tel Stock Hits 52-Week High on New Offer

May 16, 2007

Inter-Tel Inc. shareholders enjoyed watching their stock rise to a 52-week high today, closing up $1.34 at $26.90.   According to published reports, Inter-tel said it had received a letter from Vector Capital Corp.  expressing an interest in buying the company in a cash offer of $26.50 per share, which puts the value of the  offer at about $715.8 million.   As was reported earlier by TMCnet, Inter-Tel already has an agreement with Mitel Networks Corp. and Arsenal Acquisition Corp., which agreed to buy it for $25.60 per share in cash. The current reported offer represents a premium of approximately $23 million over the Mitel-led bid.   Today, Inter-Tel said its special committee had determined that Vector Capital's bid was reasonably likely to lead to a superior proposal, and that they have notified Mitel of the committee’s decision to engage in talks with Vector Capital.
Rich Tehrani offers his take on the news here.      

Nortel's Thomas Speaks to Communication Developers

May 16, 2007

A last-minute replacement for Vish Nandall, Nortel’s Michael Thomas delivered a keynote presentation titled Wireless Service Providers (WiSPs) and Application Service Providers (ASPs) Partnering for Mobile Internet Applications.   Thomas asked the audience, “Why should ASPs partner with Wireless ISPs (WiSPs)?”   Developers have been faced with a series of challenges when it comes to creating applications for the wireless space. For one thing, wireless networks traditionally featured lower bandwidth relative to fixed Internet.   As bandwidth increases, there is an opportunity to create applications to run over wireless broadband networks.   Thomas discussed other historical impediments, including:  
  • Unfriendly handset ergonomics;
  • Difficulty in obtaining and viewing content
  • A lack of mobile content development guidelines, which hinders usability and deters content development
  On the positive side, groups such as the W3C are making moves, addressing the mobile device and development space by providing a series of best practices and mobile device descriptions.   A fragmented market limits the market scope for developers, by giving them less to shoot at, and as such, reduces the developer’s incentive to create applications.   The increasing amount of broadband is a mitigating factor. Thomas also mentioned that he believes that the walled gardens are crumbling as carriers like Sprint announce more openness.   So, there is a huge demand being forecast for enterprise mobile applications coupled with communications. But Thomas warned that best effort VoIP is not good enough for mobile customers, and only a WiSP can deliver consistently “quality” of voice.   Some of the other trends that are creating opportunities for developers are
  • Increased desire for personalization of user services;
  • Gen “Y” social networking, and Multiplayer Multimedia Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are all looking to take advantage of the latest innovations;
  • Seamless service across all devices with content/application adaptation per device/place/time/role, etc…
  Thomas reiterated, “Broadband decouples applications from access, and broadband enables the opportunity to create newer richer multimedia applications.”   The last trend Thomas touched on was IMS.   “This is a whole new opportunity to develop applications,” he said.   In the end, WiSPs need ASPs to create innovative applications and in order to compete.

Aculab's Colville Addresses Developer Community

May 16, 2007

Ian Colville is product manager at Aculab with responsibility for the company’s SS7 and GroomerII solutions. His key role includes support for the company’s global sales force.   Colville addressed the audience on Day 2 of the Communications Developer Conference, with a presentation entitled, Communication Breakdown, the key theme of which was the breakdown of the old order of the communications industry.   Accordingly, Colville kicked off his presentation with a clip of the classic Led Zeppelin song of the same title, and promised that he would pepper his presentation with Led Zeppelin references throughout.   Addressing the assertion that the network of tomorrow will be a stupid network, Colville had his own take. He agrees that lower-level infrastructure is indeed better off dumb, but he maintained that there still needs to be some intelligence in the network.   To support that, Colville spoke about the growing trend where services are increasingly being provided from within the cloud, including desktop business/productivity apps.

Skype Announces Game Developer Program at Communications Developer Show

May 16, 2007

Paul Amery, director of the Skype Developer Program delivered a keynote at today’s Communications Developer Conference, and he used this platform, and this venue to officially announced Skype’s new Game Developer Program and the introduction of a brand-new Skype Game Channel.   The Skype Game Developer Program is designed to give third-party game developers access to the nearly 200 million registered Skype users through the just-announced Skype Game Channel.   The Game Channel is located within the Skype Extras Manager, which provides a quick and easy way for developers to promote their software to users. EasyBits Software is the creator and operator of the Skype Game Channel, and they will work closely with the Skype Game Developer program team to ensure the best possible user experience and the efficient delivery of games to consumers.   Last month, Skype announced that there have been more than 18 million downloads of Skype Extras since the Extras Manager in Skype 3.0 for Windows was launched in late December 2006. Of that number, users have downloaded approximately five million games.   Amery went into greater depth about the developer program in a recent interview.   Addressing the assembled audience at the Communications Developer Conference, Amery told the crowd, “Skype users are doing more than just placing voice calls, and we are constantly looking for new ways to enhance their overall Internet communications experience.”   Amery continued, “The tremendous size of Skype’s user-base makes it an ideal environment for multi-player and community-based games in which people can play against or collaborate with one another.”  

Keynote Room Filling Up

May 16, 2007

I'm sitting here in the Keynote room at Communications Developer Conference, eagerly awaiting this morning's presentations from Aculab's ian Colville and Skype's Paul Amery.

Should be some good content.

After lunch, there will be presentations from Nortel's  Vish Nandall and Fonality's Kerry Garrison.

Stay tuned!


Avaya's Byrd Speaks to Developers

May 16, 2007

Avaya’s Lawrence Byrd, a frequent speaker at TMC events, has a new title. He is Director of Communications Enabled Business Processes at Avaya, and he is helping drive the definition and communication of Avaya’s solution strategy. A co-founder of Quintus Corporation, which was acquired by Avaya in 2001 Lawrence has over twelve years of telephony, CRM and contact center experience and over twenty-five years of advanced software and Internet experience.   Byrd recalled a previous talk he made to developers where he suggested two ways to fame and fortune.

AudioCodes' Ben-Levi Speaks to Developers

May 16, 2007

Day 1 of Communications Developer concluded with keynotes from two industry heavyweights, AudioCodes and Avaya.   Sharone Ben-Levi spoke first. Ben-Levi is vice president of marketing enterprise, enhanced services at AudioCodes Inc. He is responsible for setting strategic direction and marketing execution for enabling technology solutions.   He began his speech by saying he thinks that the attendees at the event were here because they want to win, and they want to win by developing the best solutions in the market.   Ben-Levi titled his speech Survival Of The Fittest, and he delved into his discussion about application architectures for the future of IP-based application development. Developers today must adapt to the maxim, ‘Adapt or Perish’ and that those who know how to design for change will win the game in the long run.   Ben-Levi pointed out the development opportunities that are driven by the industry-wide adoption of IP, citing three key factors:  
  • IP drives acceleration of app development;
  • IP opens the door for new creative solutions to meet customer need; and
  • IP allows renewed differentiation by offering new and specific capabilities to target markets.
  Legacy architecture is lousy with proprietary elements and APIs, Ben-Levi explained, and added that “Even with the move to SIP, the proprietary architecture is still closed, and that means limitations.”   He listed a number of limitations, including:  
  • The slow pace of change;
  • Every change you make to OS, you’re still beholden to your hardware manufacturer
  • Multisite = multiple systems;
  • Scalability means adding systems;
  • Updating and maintenance often means forklift changes or the need to deploy an engineer onsite.
  He told the assembled developers, “It’s time to break free from the limitations.”   Ben-Levi spoke of the future as being characterized by a distributed architecture of IP software-based applications in standard servers controlling hardware through SIP.   And, he outlined the benefits to the developers:  
  • Speeds development time – easier to develop when using standards no need to reinvent the wheel;
  • Improvement to the application are less tightly coupled to the hardware;
  • Can change the server if the new features demand it;
  • Choose servers based on performance, not ports.
  Ben-Levi’s speech resonated with the audience, as evidenced by the fact that a number of questions were asked of the keynoter before he could leave the stage.  

Communications Developer Update: Day 1

May 15, 2007

Well, the Communications Developer Conference officially kicked off today at noon, here in Santa Clara. The well-attended conference sessions ranged in subject matter from IMS development to Hardware and Software development, to a brand-new offering, new to the 2007 event: The Open Source Workshop, presented by Pactolus.   Within those tracks, attendees gathered to learn about the state of IMS, semiconductor design solutions, integrating voice capabilities into .net; echo cancellation, designing for high-availability, and more.   I’m set to speak with an executive from Pactolus in a little while, and I will report on that before the day is out.   Also, I’m looking forward to hearing keynotes from Sharone Ben-Levi of AudioCodes and Lawrence Byrd of Avaya later today.

Survey Results Are In

May 14, 2007

Last week, in partnership with our friends at Intellicom Analytics, TMC ran a survey on our site. Well the results of last week’s survey are in, and you can see an overview here.   This was the first of a series of surveys that we’ll be running weekly for about a month or so.   Keep checking back on TMCnet for the opportunity to be part of the next survey, which will be available on Wednesday.

Avaya Developer Day Kicks Off

May 14, 2007

This afternoon, Avaya’s vice president of developer relations and technology alliances, Eric Rossman welcomed a packed room to Avaya Developer day at this year’s Communications Developer Conference.   Rossman previewed a packed agenda that included a keynote presentation from renowned author and analyst Nick Lippis, and laid out the roadmap for the rest of the day’s sessions including an overview of the Avaya DevConnect Program as well as platform specific observations on the following topics:
  • Avaya APIs and Web Services
  • Avaya & Ubiquity – SIP Development Opportunities
  • Developing Speech Enabled Self Service Applications
  • Developing IP Phone Applications
Rossman finished his introduction and left the developer with this thought:   “Real estate in San Jose and Basking Ridge is expensive. But ask yourselves this: “How expensive is the real estate on the CIO or CEOs desk?” That’s the development opportunity.   With that Rossman introduced Nick Lippis, who launched into his presentation titled “Communications Enabled Business Processes — A Status Report”   “The Communications space couldn’t be any more exciting than it is right now,” he began.   Lippis laid out his agenda, which included new opportunities for developers and his key theme, Communications Enabled Business Opportunities or CEBP for short.   The three main takeaways of his speech were:   
  1. The maturing of IP telephony;
  2. Current application integration difficulties; and
  3. The new world of Unified Communications (UC) and CEBP
We’re in the midst of a transition from TDM to IP telephony,” Lippis said. He cited three distinct phases of IP telephony and he believes we find ourselves in the latter stages of Phase 2.   Phase 1: Experimentation Lippis referred the audience back to the 1995-96 timeframe and noted the strategic acquisitions by Cisco and others of early VoIP visionaries. This early phase was characterized by using VoIP for transport; proprietary signaling; and a very small scale product/solution set.   Phase 2: Replacement phase: Lippis believes this is where we as an industry find ourselves today, in a market displaying the following characteristics:  
  • Performance
  • Reliability
  • Availability
  • Security
  • Mobility
  • Linux Based,
  • Open Protocols (SIP)
He said that economics are starting to play a major role here as well, as customers are focused on things like acquisition cost, lower TCO (total cost of ownership) and other such questions.
Phase 3: And lastly, Lippis believe we are headed towards a ‘Strategic Value’ phase, where communications will increasingly be linked into a company’s business processes.

GENBAND Spins Out Taqua

May 14, 2007

As was widely reported, GENBAND recently acquired Tekelec’s Switching Solutions Group, part of which was the Tekelec 7000 product line, which itself was originally a product line launched at Taqua.   Does everyone remember Taqua?   Taqua was founded in 1998 and the company developed a fully integrated next-generation Class 5 switch: the Taqua 7000 Switching System (T7000), a product that now enjoys over 250 deployments at carriers in North America.   In an effort to provide the optimum long-term sales, marketing, R&D and support to existing and prospective T7000 customers, GENBAND is spinning out the T7000 business to the new Taqua. Many of the new management and employees have been affiliated with Taqua since its inception in 1999.   “We are confident that the Taqua management team and its employees have the sufficient depth to effectively operate and grow the Taqua business, which has been our primary focus for this transaction,” said Charles Vogt, president and CEO of GENBAND.  

Arrived in Santa Clara

May 13, 2007

  I’m sitting in the lobby lounge of the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, eagerly awaiting the start of Communications Developer Conference. The show kicksoff tomorrow with the Avaya Developer Day Innovation Forum   Avaya is looking for hardware and software application developers, systems integrators, service providers and end customers to partner with them through the Avaya DeveloperConnection Program.   Attendance to the Avaya Developer Day Innovation Forum is free, so just visit the site for more information, including a complete agenda, or simply come by the Hyatt Regency and register onsite. The Avaya program runs Monday May 14 from 12:00 - 6:00pm.   And be sure to check out the rest of the Communications Developer conference details. I look forward to seeing you at the show this week!    

Joost Programs $45M Funding

May 10, 2007

I want my J-TV!   So say some wealthy investors, including CBS, Viacom, Li Ka-shing (through a charitable fund), Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures.   Joost — the Internet television service launched by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom — today announced that five selected parties have collectively invested approximately $45 million in the company. Each party invested in a minority percentage of the company.   Unfortunately I feel I don’t have enough time to spend with the service, but I have to admit, I’m impressed with the quality when I do spend a few minutes watching (usually when I’m showing the service off to one of my colleagues).   Joost recently announced it had landed content deals with some major players, including Viacom and Warner Bros (WBTV).   Of note to most techies, one of the two WB channels that will appear on Joost is SCI-FI FIX. The channel will feature programs including Adventures of Briscoe County, Aquaman, Babylon 5, Crusade, Max Headroom, My Favorite Martian, and V.    

US Must Become 100 Megabit Nation

May 10, 2007

U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV has introduced a resolution calling for the creation of a National Broadband Policy with the goal of becoming a “100 Megabit Nation” by 2015.   Rockefeller believes that, “A national broadband policy is critical to the future of our country,” and, “would provide a tremendous social and economic benefit,” to all Americans.   He cited popular video and social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace and how they have become such integral parts of society.   Rockefeller stressed that those popular sites are just scratching the surface when it comes to the transformational power of broadband.   “Expanded connectivity,” he said, “would allow doctors to diagnose remotely medical conditions, music students to study with an instructor hundreds of miles away, and scientists to monitor ocean floor vents from their offices on shore.   “As we all recognize,” he continued, “creating next generation broadband networks is crucial to our international competitiveness.”   Rockefeller proposed a roadmap towards establishing a set of goals. “The first step in going somewhere is to know where you are going, and the same is true in public policy. By the end of 2007, we should establish a national goal and pass a series of policy actions designed to achieve our national goal.

Atlantic-ACM: 23 Million Cable VoIP Subs by 2012

May 10, 2007

Charlie Reed at Atlantic ACM has written an interesting report on VoIP adoption and the growth of Cable companies w.r.t VoIP market share.   Atlantic ACM’s analysis (se below; I’ve highlighted some key points in bold) suggests 23 million cable VoIP subscribers within five years.       Cablecos are logging rapid VoIP growth. The following is an update to our ongoing tracking of these providers:   Cablevision, the first provider out the gate with a VoIP offering, continues to gain significant market traction, The company added 109,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year from its small footprint of just 4.5 million homes around the Metro New York and Long Island areas. One key metric that ATLANITC-ACM focuses on in cable research and projections is the percentage of high-speed data (HSD) subscribers that have VoIP lines. Cablevision currently sits at 62 percent and rising.   Given Cablevision’s significant penetration rate, it is not surprising that Comcast, which entered the market later and passes ten times as many homes as Cablevision, logged more than half a million subscribers in the first quarter.

I Am An Omnivore

May 7, 2007

I am an Omnivore.   And, apparently I am among a group of technology users that make up just 8% of the American public.   No wonder my friends look at me funny when I want to Google everything, mashup more than my potatoes, and take a perverse pride in having blogged some obscure technology related news before they heard about (usually weeks later) on the Evening news. (I believe that Walter Cronkite and/or Katie Couric have something to do with that source of information.)   The Pew Internet and American Life Project have released the results of a survey entitled A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users.   The survey was designed to classify Americans into different groups of technology users so as to determine which groups were most inclined to take advantage of information technology as might be presented under the umbrella of Web 2.0.   The report authors position Web 2.0 as:   “…the ability of people to use a range of information and communication technology as a platform to express themselves online and participate in the commons of cyberspace.”     The report breaks down respondents into several major “subspecies,” including Elite Tech Users (31% of adult population); Middle of the Road Tech Users (21%); and those classified as Few Tech Assets (49%).   Perhaps most surprising to me was the fact that nearly half of the adult population does not seem to be in the throes of the technology that pervades our every day life. Even among the “Few Tech Assets,” fully 26% classify themselves as “indifferent” or “off the net” altogether.

Network General Targets Viral Video

May 7, 2007

Network General is one of the leaders in the enterprise application and network performance analysis space. The company’s portfolio consists of software solutions and intelligent appliances that span the full spectrum of application performance management.   Taking full advantage of the trend of using video sites such as YouTube to aid in their marketing efforts, Network General has released a series of new videos that provide general information about network management. The videos also are timed to coincide with the release of new product functionality being unveiled by Network General today.   Below you’ll find some descriptions and a link to each of the new promotional videos.   First off…   The following video discusses how Network General’s Virtualization Forensics addresses these challenges by delivering real-time analysis and decision support capabilities to manage IT services that rely on virtual systems, and assures performance of virtualized resources based on the priorities of business services.   Next up…   Network and application managers are challenged with an overwhelming need to analyze massive amounts of traffic, while managing application components distributed across the IT infrastructure. As a result, IT managers struggle to quickly pinpoint application issues and address the causes of performance degradation.

Develop VoIP App, Win $10K!

May 7, 2007

Rich has an interesting post today on a VoIP-related Application Development contest from Voxbone that features a $10,000 First Prize!   Here’s Rich:   Voxbone’s customers can implement white label VoIP powered by Voxbone. The first prize in the contest is a cool $10,000 and the application has to be innovative and original. The contest will be formerly announced next week at the Communications Developer Conference and you have until July 31st, 2007 to submit your application. The winner will be announced at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo this September in Los Angeles, CA.   I urge all developers in the VoIP space to check it out. Details can be found on Rich’s blog by clicking here. Good Luck!

ININ Among Top Employers In IN

May 7, 2007

Interactive Intelligence has been named one of the Top Places to Work in Indiana.   The Indiana Chamber of Commerce — in its 2nd Annual Best Places to Work ranking — named Interactive 7th best in the large company category, which encompasses enterprises with more than 250 employees. Interactive Intelligence currently employs about 525 people at its global headquarters in Indianapolis, and in offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.   According to company founder and CEO, Dr. Donald E. Brown. “…a key ingredient of our corporate culture has always been to foster the qualities responsible for such innovation — qualities such as independence, creativity and passion. This award acknowledges our efforts toward that end.”   Congratulations to our friends at Interactive Intelligence on this honor.

Microsoft Sets Sights on Yahoo!?

May 4, 2007

  Reports abound this morning of Microsoft potentially making a move to take over Yahoo!   The two companies have held talks on this subject before, and the NY Post is reporting that Microsoft’s interest in revisiting the deal and restarting talks shos a cetain urgency on the part of the Redmond-based software maker.   Yahoo shares are up nearly 20% in pre-market trading as of 8:30 am EDT.   According to The Post, which quotes Wall Street sources, Yahoo! might command a $50 billion price if the deal were to go through.    
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