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Rich Tehrani
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February 2008

You are browsing the archive for February 2008.

RIM Patents the HTC XV6800

February 29, 2008

OK, this one came as a surprise but not really. I have seen many companies patent technologies invented elsewhere and then use these patents to sue companies without patents. It happens all the time -- especially in IP communications.

I am (maybe a bit) surprised however to see that RIM has applied for a patent on the HTC 6700, 6800, etc. Check out this patent photo and one of the HTC 6800.

In fairness, engadget does point out that the RIM device has a trackball while HTC does not.

So here is the deal on this device.

Tellme Just a Small Yahoo?

February 29, 2008

If you want to get an idea of what Yahoo! could possibly look like after a Microsoft acquisition, it may be useful to look at Tellme, a company Microsoft acquired last year. It is worth pointing out that Tellme was able to keep its corporate culture and DNA. Microsoft seemed to realize it was better to keep the company intact and while providing it with the resources it needs to grow.

I do remember my first visit to Tellme offices about seven years ago. I was surprised by the open warehouse style of the office, the desks and dogs in the office.

Today, I came across a great article comparing the Tellme acquisition with Yahoo and I thought it worth sharing.

Here is an excerpt:

Tellme's warehouse-like office located along some railroad tracks about six miles north of Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters looks pretty much like it did during a visit seven years ago.

Bain and Huawei Resubmit Bid

February 29, 2008

Bain and Huawei are changing their bid for 3COM in a manner that does not change the financial elements of the deal but it minimizes Huawei's access to certain Ethernet technologies.

Last week, the parties pulled their application with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, a 12-agency government panel amid concerns it would be rejected. A number of members of Congress had expressed concern about the security implications of allowing a Chinese-owned entity to exercise influence over the technology company.

If this transaction does go through, I believe it will increase the number of Chinese companies investing in US-based companies.

This may lead to more consolidation in the market but just as important, it is possible the Chinese will have the deep pockets needed to help grow a number of US-based technology companies at a time when capital may be more difficult to come by.

More from the AP and Wall Street Journal

David Yedwab Live on TMCnet

February 29, 2008

Daimler Battery Breakthrough

February 29, 2008

                                            An S Class Mercedes

For over a decade now we have witnessed Moore's Law in action, making microprocessors cheaper and faster. Ditto for hard drives and memory. What we haven't seen however is a dramatic improvement in battery technology.

It seems lately this may be coming to an end as Daimler has announced they have adapted lithiom-ion battery technology for a passenger car.

The new battery will be used in the series-production S 400 BlueHYBRID beginning next year. Apparently there are 25 patents held by the company which cover the battery technology being used in a car.

Here are some salient points from a company announcement:

The main advantages offered by the newly developed lithium-ion battery are its very compact dimensions and its far superior performance compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Web 2.0 comes to CRM

February 29, 2008

The above graphic is a bank mashup showing all banks in Norwalk, CT -- where TMC headquarters are located. (credit:

A logical place for mashups to show up are in customer relationship management applications where they can allow field sales and support personnel to see the locations of their customers in real-time. Funny, I have been hoping for more and more business mashups to be invented and one shows up right in the CRM space.

TMCnet's own David Sims broke the story yesterday in fact.

Here is an excerpt:

SMaps automatically links addresses and locations of individuals or companies to their location in Google Maps. Viewing full contact information from their CRM database with Google's mapping functionality makes scenes from recent movies like Minority Report "a reality for companies," according to the CRM Workers.   The product lets users use Google's mapping capability with their CRM information such as contact details, price and order history to zoom in and make decisions.

Don't Eat The Snowflakes

February 28, 2008

AT&T: Ouch

February 28, 2008

When Acquiring, Look to Cisco, not Oracle

February 28, 2008

I am so fed up with the synergies CEO think they have when they acquire. In many cases CEOs and other powerful executives are on ego trips and buy companies and immediately change the acquired company's name to their own company. They believe that by doing so they reduce costs associated with operating disparate brands.

Rarely if ever do these companies think through the ramifications of these actions as in many cases, acquired companies have much stronger brands in the segments they occupy than the parent.

The question seems to be, the parent made the acquisition so they must have the better name for the combined entity. Right?


Google Gives Away Voicemail to Homeless

February 28, 2008

For those of you who were in telecom back in the day, you may recall that the Computer Telephony show in Los Angeles, CA had a press event where they got together with exhibitors to give away free voicemail to the homeless.

Even before CTEXPO did this, MFS Internet had the same idea.

Giving the homeless access to telephony services and free voicemail is great because it allows them to keep in touch with loved ones and also allows them the potential to communicate with prospective employers more easily.

Google will now also be giving away free voicemail to the homeless in San Francisco and although they aren't first, they will likely do it well.

Hats off to Google for doing this.

Telecommuting Slowdown

February 28, 2008

While I have been espousing telecommuting and moreover discussing frequently how IP communications enables companies to hire remote workers without losing productivity... Even I have been a bit surprised that some companies have such a large number of at home workers.

This man just received an e-mail requesting he start coming to the office

For example call center agents do not necessarily need to collaborate in a face-to-face fashion with their peers and one imagines there is no productivity lost when these workers work from home.

But other workers do benefit greatly from human interaction unencumbered by internet protocol.

So I guess my surprise comes in response to the types of positions that have been assigned to work-at-home personnel.

It seems that some of the companies who were the leading champions of telecommuting are pulling some of their workers back.

I wonder if these organizations think they may have overdone it it when it comes to telecommuting and are now pulling people back in an effort to find the right balance between the two forms of work.


Did Comcast Hire People to Attend the FCC Forum?

February 28, 2008

There have been a  number of reports that Comcast filled the recent FCC Forum with its employees and people off the street who were paid. By doing so, many claim the company denied access to people who had legitimate concerns.

The company acknowledges it hired people to wait in line to hold spots for Comcast employees. It seems that some of these placeholders may have made it in the building as there are photos of some people sleeping through the debate.

Then again, these could just be very bored Comcast employees. Let's face it, an FCC meeting discussing the minutiae of net neutrality is not riveting content.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Help Needed

February 28, 2008

I received this e-mail today from John Wind, a telecom veteran who I have known for years. When I read this message I was very moved and thought this was something worth passing along to my readers.

Thank you in advance for reading.

A healthy Alex Wind, Age 13…

Friends, You may or not be aware that during the Christmas holiday, my 13 year old son became very ill and what we would soon come to find out, deathly ill… Over a one-week period, he literally began to melt away in front of our eyes. Although he's always been thin (5' 7" - 120 pounds) he was drinking water and eating excessively. He dropped in that time to 89 pounds and could hardly get out of bed.

Although his symptoms were that of an extreme flu, I finally got him to the doctor where he was immediately diagnosed with Type-1 (also known as Juvenile) diabetes.

Nuvio sues Garmin

February 27, 2008

Senate Passes new 911 Bill

February 27, 2008

The Senate just passed the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act of 2007 which amends the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 to impose on IP communications service providers engaged in interstate or foreign communication a requirement to provide 9-1-1 service, including enhanced 9-1-1 service, to its subscribers.

Furthermore, this bill requires the FCC to issue regulations granting these providers right of access to 9-1-1 components (read direct PSAP connectivity) that are necessary to provide 9-1-1 service, on the same rates, terms, and conditions that are provided to commercial mobile service providers. It further requires the providers to establish a point of contact for public safety and government officials relative to 9-1-1 service and access.

Finally it authorizes the FCC to delegate enforcement authority to state agencies or programs with emergency communications jurisdiction.

This is good news for IP communications market as providers will no longer be second class citizens when it comes to providing 911 service. Moreover, the stigma that VoIP providers are less secure than traditional carriers will in theory go away.

What needs to happen now is that pure VoIP providers need to provide bullet-proof service to their subscribers.

New Germ Free Keyboard

February 27, 2008

How many colds and viruses are picked up because of shared keyboards and phones? Now there is a solution for the problem of spreading germs through shared keyboards at least. If you think this is a small problem consider call centers where i would surmise at least one million agents worldwide share keyboards.

To solve this problem, a company called Unotron, a manufacturer of something called SpillSeal technology, this week introduced a product called GermStopper SpillSeal Washable Corded Keyboard S6000K.

What technology does the company utilize this germ killing? How about a powerful, broad-spectrum, inorganic, silver-based biocide which is integrated into the plastic of the SpillSeal Washable Corded Keyboard S6000K.

What Nortel Should do Now

February 27, 2008

Nortel will be cutting 2,100 jobs and shifting about one thousand more to areas which have lower costs. These actions are in response to a wider loss in the fourth quarter.

The company remains optimistic about its long term future and they are in a good position from the standpoint of having an enterprise and carrier business. As I have said in the past, generally, one is strong while the other is weak.

The challenge for Nortel may just be the sheer size of the company which makes it difficult to manage. Having so many divisions and product lines makes it tougher to turn the ship on a dime.

I have a number of strong relationships across the carrier and enterprise sides of the business and as an outsider I feel the company can do better if it brings its various units together even more closely than they currently work.

This is not an easy task of course but the company has solid technology, a great relationship with Microsoft and plays in multiple spaces which should offset one another.

These job cuts along with some restructuring could help the telecom giant become more nimble which should assist them as they head into a tougher economic environment.

And one last point...

Will be Sold?

February 27, 2008

Will be sold soon? I keep hearing rumor after rumor and some say Marc Benioff is getting bored. i haven't had time to reach out to Marc but I thought it worth sharing the news. Likely purchasers would be Oracle, SAP and Microsoft.

I doubt antitrust regulators would get that concerned if even Oracle made the acquisition based on the lack of actions they have taken in virtually all other acquisitions that seem anticompetitive.

I cannot be more impressed with what has done to date and as an independent company they have been an excellent counterbalance to  some of the major software players in the space.

EU Fines Microsoft $1.35 Billion

February 27, 2008

Florida Power Outage

February 26, 2008

MultiTech SMSFinder

February 26, 2008

VoSKY Exchange Pro VIS8

February 26, 2008

Altigen's Standing Room Only Crowd

February 26, 2008

Yahoo's SearchMonkey Released

February 26, 2008

If you can't beat Google head on, why not use some strategery? In this case, Yahoo! has unveiled SearchMonkey, a technology which allows websites to modify how their search results appear on Yahoo! search.

What can you do with this API?

Siemens has Large Cuts

February 26, 2008

Close to 8,000 positions will be eliminated at Siemens in their communications division as part of a reorganization which allows the company to shift from being a hardware vendor to one that produces software. Over the past five years the performance of off the shelf computing products has increased to the point that hardware in the communications space has become commodotized.

In such  a market shift, when the music stops, you don't want to be stuck carrying products that require steel and silicon.

While this reorganization is taking place, the company is also divesting itself of a number of worldwide call centers as well.

As global telecom markets become more competitive, this move should help the communications division as it will have less overhead to deal with. They will now have more pricing power and be a stronger global player.

That is always the goal of such cuts anyway.


Pakistan Blocks YouTube Worldwide

February 26, 2008

Some Webinars to Witness

February 25, 2008

If you aren't aware, it seems like my responsibility to at least mention some webinars worth attending. They happen to all be webinars that are hosted by TMC.

I am going to try to attend them all. Some of the more interesting ones to me have to do with cutting edge tech. So multicore, IMS applications, unified communications, hosting and analyzing success factors are ones I am drawn most to.

Of course, you can feel free to take a look at this list and make your own decisions on which one(s) suit your needs most.

Don't Squeeze the Soft Phone

February 25, 2008

NEC Targets Mid-Tier for IMS

February 25, 2008

Above: NEC's View of IMS

NEC is targeting mid-tier providers with its new IMS products.

The company's new Service Convergence Integrated Platform or SCI-P is a 'starter' framework for IMS, and bundles carrier-class call processing quality, blade-server architecture, a SIP server, an operations, maintenance, billing and provisioning server and service enablers into a compact, scalable platform.

The company calls its new in-one platform "light-IMS."

Just as the dieter may be watching their calories and choose a diet beverage, the service provider who is watching their investment "waist line" could take advantage of this new solution to deploy advanced VoIP and value-added multimedia services, including presence, personalized services, interactive gaming and IP messaging.

As with many IMS-based solutions, the services are limited by the imagination and the desire for the service  provider to maximize ARPU.

The company has an entire suite of IMS solutions for service providers of all sizes and their announcement today is smart because the complexity and cost of IMS has scared some away from deploying as quickly as they possibly should. Moreover, the true innovators -- whether we like it or not, are the smaller providers.

Bringing the benefits of IMS to smaller providers means that we will likely see new services faster and this in turn will push larger carriers to play catch up. All in all, a great strategy to sell more IMS gear.


Heading to the Altigen Meeting

February 25, 2008

Thank You Kevin Martin

February 25, 2008

It seems as if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is the champion of the US citizen today at the FCC Forum as he seems genuinely concerned that there is discrimination taking place on the internet. Moreover he seems concerned about the problem of traffic slowing without disclosure.

This is exactly the issue I brought up last night and I agree 100% that Chairman Martin needs to ensure service providers are more forthcoming with what they do behind the scenes.

These providers are in a position of great power and I am all for them making money... I just want to ensure that there is full disclosure when they do things that alter our broadband access behind the scenes.

Here is what I said last night:

For example, I do not have an answer to the issue of service providers slowing down certain applications. If indeed this is done for the good of all users on the network, then is it so bad?

But then again, perhaps the biggest issue is that of transparency.

Is Social Media Doomed?

February 25, 2008

Steve Rubel is alarmed that companies are being advised to launch social media programs in order to take advantage of the search engine benefits. Rubel is disturbed by this trend and in my experience, once the companies see an area that can help them at no charge, you just can't stop them.

Spammers have killed e-mail, many forums, blogs and other forms of communications. For example, unless you ave people monitoring every post and trackback ping on blogs your site will be overrun by SEO spammers.

Social networking is just the latest place these people will use to find a way to increase their sales and/or search rank. Resistance is futile in my opinion.

The US Entrenched in the Communications Third World

February 25, 2008

A year ago I wrote an entry titled Living in the Third World of Communications and boy, I must have been really pissed off on that day because I usually don't tell politicians they need to be sure they aren't the reason their kids have two telephone companies to choose from instead of hundreds or thousands.

I kept thinking about living in the third world of communications when I saw this post regarding a new Panasonic phone with specs that make it a must have. The model is the Panasonic P905i Viera phone and its 3.5 inch screen has 854x480 resolution. This is a breathtaking amount of pixels to put on a phone and allows for some incredible web surfing and TV watching.

In fact, Google tells me this device has 5.4 times the pixels of my brand new Windows Mobile device. Only country music makes me sadder than seeing this in writing.

As you might imagine there is a dedicated TV tuner processor and mobile banking built-in to this incredibly sophisticated little device.

Will Patents Go Away?

February 25, 2008

You have no doubt heard me complain endlessly about the patent system and how patents are granted to companies that did not invent technologies. It is a major problem and the government is taking steps to address these obvious shortcomings in the patent system.

But having said this I think it is always fair to offer opposing viewpoints and here are some thoughts from Joe Kiani, the founder and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Masimo. His company was awarded over $100 million dollars when they successfully defended their patents.

Here is an excerpt:

Perhaps they don't recognize the unintended consequences of the changes they're seeking. But the Chinese certainly do.

FCC Forum Starts This Week

February 24, 2008

This week there will be an FCC Forum in Boston where the FCC will be discussing many issues regarding the future of the internet. While the lobbying system of the US is wonderful in that it allows many to have their voices heard in Washington, the problem has been in many industries, the people with the most money scream loudest.

As is so common in many situations, the squeaky wheels get the grease. And let's just say that large phone and cable companies are professional squeakers. Again, not that there is anything wrong with this from a shareholder perspective and even in terms of the law… Lobbying is within a companies' rights.

So it will be with great interest that I watch what happens at the FCC Forum next week.

Bill Gates: Scrap Your Keyboard

February 24, 2008

Having been covering the speech space for well over a decade I am blown away to hear that Bill Gates thinks that in five years there will be more web searches done by speech technology than keyboards. This is a very bold statement and tough to swallow. It would also explain why Microsoft purchased Tellme.

But here is the fascinating part of it all. I have witnessed the speech technology industry grow and then slow to a crawl.

Pakistan Blocks YouTube

February 24, 2008

Judge Gives Google a Viacom Copyright Lawsuit Extension

February 24, 2008

Japan's High-Speed Internet Satellite

February 24, 2008

While some of us in the US may be proud that we are able to surf the web at speeds of 10 Mbps or even a bit more, in Japan they are striving for speeds of 1.2 Gbps or 120 times as fast!

Yesterday in fact japan successfully launched a satellite known as Kizuna to provide web surfing at these speeds.

I just can't help but ask the following. If we know that broadband access roughly equates to a country's ability to compete effectively in a global marketplace, then how do Americans allow other countries beat them at such things.

Granted, it is too early to know if this satellite will be successful at its mission but I would imagine our politicians should be in closed door meetings all weekend trying to figure out how to catch up or even leapfrog such news.

So US politicians, please... Our children and their children need the absolute fastest broadband speeds to remain competitive. I hope we are devoting funds to ensure we are competing effectively in this area.


Virgin Biofuel Flight

February 24, 2008

Virgin Atlantic conducted the first flight utilizing biofuel today in the hopes that it can be show that biofuels emit less carbon dioxide than regular fuels. While some say this test flight is just part of a publicity stunt used by Branson to draw more attention to himself and his airline, this test is extremely helpful and came at great expense.

Regardless of whether the flight is shown to be greener than a traditional one, we should commend Branson for at least trying. After all, it can't be easy to fly a jet on coconut and babassu oil.

I for one am glad the flight took place as I got to learn a new term... Babassu oil.

More Laptop Battery Problems

February 24, 2008

The Latest Microsoft/Yahoo News

February 23, 2008

Youe Computer Needs Protein

February 23, 2008

As proteins aid in storing memory in your brain it is probably not surprising that researchers are looking for ways to get proteins to store data in a manner that could work with computers. To that end Tetsuro Majima at Osaka University in Japan has shown you can use proteins derived from bacteria to store data.

Current "write times" are about a minute but read times are similar to what you would expect with current computer memory. In addition, the protein needs to be kept near freezing in order to keep data stored properly over time.

Of course I don't expect an iProteinPod in the next few months but the technology could be promising in military applications and other niches where magnetic interference is a concern. You see, protein based memory unlike that of the traditional variety is not susceptible to magnetic fields.


Google Growing too Quickly?

February 22, 2008

Something in me switched this week regarding Google. We all know that no company can grow infinitely large in a rapid fashion without having massive communications failures that slow decision making down. Eventually companies become political messes that go nowhere.

I remember so many times that companies acquired so many others that no one in the organization knew who did what.

I spent the day with someone who consulted with Yahoo! for years and he explained the experience as a year of dealing with mediocre middle managers who couldn't make a decision and when confronted with the idea of taking their competition head on, they responded that it wasn't their way to do so.

The point is that Google will eventually fall into the same problems that have plagued other fast-growing companies in the past.

Tip: When your aisles look like Grand Central Station
it is time to reevaluate your growth plan.

What makes me think Google is at a dangerous point in its life?

Where *Did* I Put That Corona?

February 22, 2008

Twitter+iPhone=Gadget LoJack

February 22, 2008

Podcast Mashups, a Web 2.0 Headache

February 22, 2008

What is an Oxygen Bar?

February 22, 2008

Since oxygen bars are not something you often see in this blog I think I caught some of you off guard when I wrote about one yesterday. So here are some answers to the questions I received last night.

I am no expert by the way but this is what people tell me about them. The trend started in Vegas. I have now seen them all over Miami.

The oxygen is "flavored" meaning it has a smell such as passion fruit, chocolate or sex on the beach.

More SMB Communications Growth

February 22, 2008

Enjoying The Oxygen Bar

February 21, 2008

Cbeyond Sees Massive Growth

February 21, 2008

What can you say about Cbeyond? Like HP they hit the cover off the ball with their earnings. The company which provides voice, broadband and mobile service to the SMB space had strong fourth quarter growth with revenues of $76.9 million, up 30.6% over the fourth quarter of 2006.

Here are some of the other details:
  • Net income of $12.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with $4.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2006, reflecting a benefit of $9.6 million in 2007 arising from the expected future realization of operating loss carryforwards;
  • Total adjusted EBITDA of $14.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2007, an increase of 13.2% from the fourth quarter of 2006 (see Schedule 1 for reconciliation to net income);
  • Total customers in Cbeyond's nine operating markets of 35,041, reflecting net customer additions of 1,754 in the quarter;
  • Average monthly revenue per customer location (ARPU) of $750 during the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to $749 in the third quarter of 2007 and $742 in the fourth quarter of 2006; and
  • Increase in the number of applications used per customer to 6.3 in the fourth quarter of 2007 as compared to 6.1 at the end of the third quarter of 2007 and 5.6 in the fourth quarter of 2006, with mobile penetration at 24% of the customer base.
In what many say is a slowing domestic market, Cbeyond has done a wonderful job of growing in the US… Something many people said couldn't be done.

Cbeyond is on record as saying their growth will likely slow as a result of a slowing economy but we should all look to this company as one of the shining stars in IP communications.

I am not a financial analyst mind you and I am not telling you to run out and buy this company's stock. What I am saying however is that this company has done what many others have not been able to do… Make a good amount of profit selling IP communications services.

I should mention that there are other private and public companies also doing well selling to the SMB market.

Jamie Siminoff on The Big Idea

February 21, 2008

NATD Kicks Off

February 21, 2008

HotSpot @Home Talk Forever Home Phone

February 21, 2008

Close to the NATD Show

February 20, 2008

Skype Serves up 100 Billion Minutes

February 20, 2008

What can you say about a company that has generated 100 billion minutes of telephone traffic. Skype has been around for 4.5 years by the way making this milestone an even greater accomplishment.

While these minutes were all free, it shows just how Skype has changed the way the world communicates.

I remember when long-distance calls in the US were about 25 cents. If you assume that Skype could charge this amount per minute of calling this would amount to a cool $25 billion in cash.

Of course this exercise is kind of ridiculous -- especially when you consider all these minutes of use are due to the service being free.

Then again, I use Skype video because it is convenient. I would pay may $10/month if I had to for such a service.

Many will look at Skype as the ultimate company that has brought the telecom companies to their knees but it is amazing to me that they are also the company with the most video users.

Why did it take a start-up from Europe to give us the most popular videoconferencing software in the world?

It goes to show you how disruptive companies are generally the greatest innovators as well.

More Cable Details Emerge

February 20, 2008

Use Your Shirt to charge your Gadgets

February 20, 2008

The promise of nanotechnology will allow us to easily charge our consumer electronics devices as we walk and move. Specifically, US scientists have developed a microfiber that charges devices as the fiber rubs against itself.

This nanogenerator takes advantage of the semiconductive properties of zinc oxide nanowires -- tiny wires 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair -- embedded into the fabric. The wires are formed into pairs of microscopic brush-like structures, shaped like a baby-bottle brush.

One of the fibers in each pair is coated with gold and serves as an electrode. As the bristles brush together through a person's body movement, the wires convert the mechanical motion into electricity.

To be truly green, users could use clothes made of such fabrics and even carry a battery with them that charges as they walk.

400,000 iPhones Found in China

February 20, 2008

One wonders what need China Mobile has for revenue sharing agreements with Apple when it seems iPhones are streaming into China faster than Walmart purchase orders. In fact, analysts estimate 400k iPhones entered China last year alone! This is a staggering amount and Apple must have known this problem was happening as they had a temporary restriction on how many iPhones could be purchased at one time in their stores.

So the question becomes, how does Apple go about negotiating with the largest cell provider in China now? It will be interesting to watch how this plays out.

The Problem with Triple-Play Providers

February 20, 2008

I am a cable quadruple customer. VoIP, broadband, TV and the reason I switched from standalone VoIP to cable had to do with dropped packets on my network. After spending days trying to figure out what the problem was with the network I finally threw in the towel and went with cable because I figured they would now own any problems I had. Surprisingly my problems went away as soon as I switched, leading me to believe that either my old cable modem was at fault or the ATA from my VoIP service provider which intercepted every packet on the network.

Yesterday I wrote about Jon Arnold's analysis of Vonage and I said it would be sad if Vonage was to go away.

Jon Arnold on Vonage

February 19, 2008

Jon Arnold has done a great job of analyzing how Vonage is doing and according to the Arnold, the latest quarter had some ups and downs. Jon spells out why Vonage may not make it into 2009 and I for one would be sad to see this happen as Vonage does a great job with its services and web interface.

In addition, if Cable becomes one of the few choices left for residential service, we all lose as Vonage allowed the ATA to move with the customer. In addition, the ability to block calls at certain hours of the day has not been widely matched by the cablecos, etc.

Here are some excerpts of an article which is worth a close read:

Vonage is trying to strengthen its value proposition with new features such as visual voice mail and virtual phone numbers, and planned features such as outbound fax and ContactBook, but it essentially remains a landline replacement service.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T Lowering Rates

February 19, 2008

I have been intentionally staying away from the news regarding Verizon Wireless introducing new unlimited voice plans but now that AT&T has come out and matched Verizon's plans, it seems I have to at least mention it and point to GigaOM as they are covering the news and can give you the details.

I am a bit surprised by this move as Verizon Wireless has been doing well charging more than its rivals. These new rates mean that Verizon Wireless is either seeing a slowing economy and have decided this is a way to increase share or they have decided it is time to do away with their weaker competitors T-Mobile and Sprint.

One wonders if this is an opening salvo in a price war where only the customers will be the winners. It certainly seems like this is a likely scenario and the wireless market could soon end up (from a profit perspective) being a lot like the domestic airline market.

TMCnet Continues to Grow

February 19, 2008

Thanks once again to our loyal TMCnet readers. Because of you, TMCnet has broken more online records. In January of 2008 TMCnet experienced 38,368,961 page views (meaning total number of web pages viewed on TMCnet in January alone.

The total number of unique visitors on our site in January was 2,446,403 which is not an all time record but it is higher than recent months. Average Visit Length per person on TMCnet in January was 28 minutes and 59 seconds this past month.

Web 2.0 Coming to a Business near You

February 19, 2008

I have been waiting, patiently waiting for businesses to take advantage of web 2.0 in a way that affects me. I wanted to see something that took advantage of this new technology and made my life better.

There have been a few examples floating around the net but today, I had one e-mailed to me from American Airlines. The application is called MileFinder and it is a mashup of companies that give you American Airlines AAdvantage miles. You simply enter the city you are interested in searching for and you are presented with icons for rental cars, restaurants, hotels and more.

I tried this out for the city of Miami as I am speaking there later this week at the NATD conference and I am also speaking in Ft. Lauderdale next week at an Altigen user conference.

I found MileFinder to be great.

The ISPS Strike Back

February 18, 2008

In the quest for behavioral targeting, companies who control ad networks have been working as hard as possible to allow advertisers to reach web surfers based on their online behavior and not just what page they happen to be on.

The company best positioned to take advantage of behavioral targeting without a doubt was once Yahoo. The wealth of services the company offers is surely staggering and they are able to ascertain what stocks you are considering, what content is in your e-mails, what sports teams you track and much more.

Google has one-upped Yahoo! with their purchase of DoubleClick and in an article titled Google Achieves Behavioral Targeting Nirvana, written about ten months ago, I spelled out why Google is now in a better place than Yahoo! to take advantage of the most accurate behavioral targeting. As a reminder, between Google and DoubleClick the surfing habits of virtually all web surfers will be known to Google.

But it is really the ISPs who have a better handle on where people go online than even Google.

Sony's VoIP Headsets

February 18, 2008

Intel's Skulltrail Motherboard

February 18, 2008

I just have to wonder if Intel's latest motherboard code named SkullTrail will be useful beyond the gaming market. The device can be outfitted with two quad-core processors and multiple graphics chips from AMD (yes, AMD) and Nvidia.

Obviously the gaming market is all over this news -- awaiting it like subprime borrowers wait for rate cuts.

But one has to wonder if the IP communications space won't be able to take advantage of this motherboard for serious call processing via HMP-based software. Hopefully Nick Jensen and Alan Pound are mulling this over already.

It will be interesting to see what applications are enabled by a motherboard which is expected in systems that cost no less than $6,000!

In addition I yearn for the days when parents had to shell out no more than a quarter for their kids who wanted to play video games.

Oh, and one last point.

BT Has New Wireless VoIP Plan

February 18, 2008

Can YouNoodle Help You Make Business Purchase Decisions?

February 18, 2008

There is a new company whose mission in life is to help the investment community determine if the startup they are thinking of investing in will be worth anything in the future. By using proprietary methods including analysis of the business and personal networks of the founders that can determine what a company will be worth in five years.

Many are laughing at the concept and think it is just impossible to pull this feat off but if it can work, would it not be just as useful for entities looking to purchase from such a  company? For example if a startup comes out with some incredible new software that speeds up you company's operations you would seriously consider the software... Right?

But what if this new success predictor, says the company you want to purchase from won't be worth much in five years?

RIM Sues Motorola over Patents

February 18, 2008

The sheer nastiness of what is about to happen could become something of legend. The first few grenades have been lobbed back and forth between Canada and Illinois. First Motorola jacked up licensing fees for its patents for things like using WiFi on a handheld device and now RIM is suing and saying these moves are unreasonable and moreover Motorola has infringed on one of RIM's patents which covers a device which has a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.

RIM's complaint alludes to Motorola's setbacks and argues that Motorola boosted its royalty demands in response to the "declining fortunes of its handset business" along with the fact that RIM has become a "more substantial competitor in the wireless market." As of December, RIM had 12 million BlackBerry subscribers world-wide, up from seven million in December 2006.

Aastra Acquires Ericsson's Enterprise Business

February 18, 2008

Ericsson has divested itself of its Enterprise communications business and this move reminds me a great deal of Lucent spinning off its enterprise division in 2000 or so. For Ericsson the logic behind the move is sound as it wants to focus on the service provider space and the company has never been able to penetrate the US enterprise market effectively anyway.

Truth be told, the company seemed to never have the will to become a player in the US. They never had a consistent branding message or seemed to really want to sell PBXs on our shores.

This is sad because the company is a part owner of Sony Ericsson and the synergies between these devices and corporate PBXs is immense. Somehow the company could not capitalize on this powerful differentiator.

Quickorder for Starbucks

February 18, 2008

Check it out... I was scanning engadget and came across Quickorder software which enables the iPod Touch to let customers order their coffee at Starbucks without human interaction. I think this is a great idea and in many areas of the country such software could certainly increase business at the world's largest coffee chain.

But if Starbucks really wants to generate more revenue they should enable call ahead ordering via e-mail, chat and phone so you can have your mocha steaming and ready when you get to your local corner coffee house.

As you can imagine, another idea is to VoIP enable Apple devices allowing a quick call to a call center which will no doubt be located in Bangalore, India.

I think this move would drastically increase business and allow customers to quickly order when they see the line in front of them is just unbearably long. They could then just walk to the side of the restaurant and wait for their order to be called.

Here is a shot of how the software looks in "real-life.

Should JuicyCampus be Closed Down?

February 17, 2008

There is a debate brewing over a site called JuicyCampus as the role of the site is to be a central online forum where students can post gossip about one another. What is fascinating about this "community" is the debate from universities about potentially shutting down or censoring the site.

I find the conversation incredible as a college campus is generally associated with free speech at any cost. Finally there is a site that has colleges and the students that attend them questioning whether every site should enjoy equal free speech protection.

This might not be the most important news in the world but one wonders if it will be the spark that changes what we as a society "allow" to take place online.


SMBs Embrace FMC

February 17, 2008

Huge news comes from Nortel as they recently commissioned a survey which found SMBs are more technically savvy than some might have imagined. SMBs seem to be screaming for FMC solutions and unified communications -- especially as it relates to integrating mobile devices with traditional computer solutions like laptops, etc.

900 SMBs responded to a web survey to generate these results. Unfortunately this skews the survey a bit as the people taking the survey had to be web savvy and also it is unclear what site users went to find the survey.

Still, this is a good sign that at least web-savvy SMBs are looking for the absolute latest in communications products and services. For vendors, it is just a matter of figuring out how to position your solutions in the most appealing fashion possible while ensuring that the leading edge features are in your products.

Only a marriage of excellent R&D coupled with effectively targeted marketing/PR/branding and positioning will guarantee vendors can effectively penetrate this market.


Rembrandt IP Management

February 17, 2008

Some analysts are concerned that patents held by "patent troll" Rembrandt IP Management will be used successfully against cable companies and others.

In cases originally spread across federal courts in Delaware, New York and Texas, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Cablevision Systems face claims that their cable-modem services infringe eight patents now held by Rembrandt, and that their video services violate a ninth one related to digital-TV transmission.

Separately, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox — as well as manufacturer Sharp Electronics — face suits alleging infringement of Rembrandt’s patent on digital TV transmission.

According to an attorney close to the litigation, the firm has sought to collect half of 1% of all revenue generated from services that allegedly infringe on the data and video patents.

“If they’re successful, this could affect everything from the cost of cable service to the price of TVs,” said the attorney close to the litigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Creative Capitalism from Bill Gates and Co.

February 17, 2008

Dying Bats+Dying Bees=Trouble

February 17, 2008

First there was colony collapse disorder where bees were dying off by the millions. Now it is the bats that are dying in the northeast of the US which means more mosquitoes and other flying insects await us all this spring.

Alan Hicks, a wildlife biologist with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, said he fears a catastrophic collapse of the region's bat population and is urgently enlisting experts around the country to find the cause.

Scientists think perhaps humans are spreading the bat killing disease from cave to cave. The dead bats which number in the thousands so far have a ring of white fungus around their nose and scientists do not know if this is a symptom or the reason the bats are dying. Some surmise however the fungus could be a result of the bats being too sick to groom themselves.

Hopefully scientists will be able to find the cause and cure for this problem.

Yahoo's Users Less Affluent

February 16, 2008

Jeff Bonforte Leaves Yahoo!

February 16, 2008

BitTorrent Strikes back

February 16, 2008

Better than Free

February 16, 2008

In the world of VoIP, there is a serious problem... There are so many companies giving away telephony, how do you compete? Vonage sells service which is ridiculously cheap yet Skype gives their service away even cheaper and in some cases free.

In such a world, the companies in the space need to evaluate how they can add value to their service and products so that people will actually open their wallets and shell out their hard-earned cash.

For those vendors looking to monetize what many think is unmonetizable, you should check out this post by Kevin Kelley which focuses on ways to generate revenue in a world where everything seems to be going free.

Here is an excerpt:

Personalization — A generic version of a concert recording may be free, but if you want a copy that has been tweaked to sound perfect in your particular living room — as if it were preformed in your room — you may be willing to pay a lot. The free copy of a book can be custom edited by the publishers to reflect your own previous reading background.

Google: One out of 1K Web pages malicious

February 16, 2008

Unfortunately, the web is becoming a much more dangerous place as 0.1% of the entire internet is malicious. Moreover, there are no safe neighborhoods... Even sites like Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and the Miami Dolphins have been attacked in the past.

Even the MySpace profile of Alicia Keys has been used to spread malicious code.

Hackers have gotten quite good at ferreting out unprotected pages and subsequently loading these pages with their "evil-doing" programs.

A few months back TMC was bombarded by hackers looking to insert malicious code into pages via SQL injection in fact.

Website owners have to be vigilant and always on alert to such practices by hackers who are constantly evolving.

Of course some webmasters aren't and this is the problem for users.


What's Wrong with Yahoo!

February 16, 2008

Yahoo! Strong With the Poor

February 16, 2008

I thought I had heard it all. Now it seems that some are suggesting that Yahoo! is having problems because it is stronger in poor areas while Google is stronger in areas where people are affluent such as suburbs, etc.

Could this be part of their problem? Possibly.

Living Forever

February 16, 2008

I just couldn't help but think that those people who want to live forever should be aware that researchers are finding that mutated DNA in the mitochondria could be the reason for many age-related diseases from those that afflict the heart to cancer and diabetes.

If you recall back in biology class you likely learned that mitochondria are actually an organelle and are the power-plants of the cell, converting food to energy.

Scientists have found that even a few mutations in mitochondrial DNA can have catastrophic consequences in a living organism. By finding ways to reduce these mutations we could indeed increase lifespans dramatically.

Hopefully other researchers will be able to duplicate these findings and work can get underway to extend our healthy lives.

I know just what you are thinking.

Most Accurate Clock

February 16, 2008

How Will Cable do in a Slower Economy?

February 15, 2008

Comparing Airline Fees

February 15, 2008

It should come as no surprise that airline travel costs are increasing. The bad news is that it is virtually impossible to figure out what airlines charge for their various new fees while you are buying tickets without spending hours researching. Recently when I went down to ITEXPO, I used American Airlines to fly down and JetBlue to get back. AA charged me for curbside check-in while JetBlue did not.

So there seem to be absolutely no standards in terms of these added fees.

I expected WiFi on the JetBlue plane but found out only one plane in the fleet has WiFi access according to thew in-flight hostess.

This article contains a good summary of who charges what for various services and it could be useful when planning your next trip.

Amazon S3 Down but not Out

February 15, 2008

Amazon has been getting lots of positive press lately on its new storage initiative Simple Storage Service or S3. The service has been a tremendous help to startups as well as established companies as it lowers the cost of scaling a company rapidly and allows a company to focus on its core strengths while relying on Amazon to focus on theirs. has similar visions of helping companies by providing cloud based servivces that allow companies to build exciting new products and services without starting from scratch and building huge data centers, etc.

Unfortunately for Amazon, they are in the middle of an outage and not unlike, they are going  to have to reassure the market that this won't happen again. Then again, has had a few outages over the years and it hasn't seemed to slow their growth.


You *Really* Get What You Pay For

February 15, 2008

I have to kick myself because I did it again. Sometimes I think I will never learn. Nobody wants to pay more than they should so when I somehow pulled a muscle in my neck while sleeping, I found myself in the pharmacy looking for a heat patch to soothe the pain

The generic brand had signs on it "Compare to Thermacare" so I purchased it. I saved a bit… I don't even know how much but it was likely a few bucks.

Regulators Reshape the Internet

February 15, 2008

It is pretty amazing to see how many separate issues are surfacing that could affect the future of the internet. The FCC and government have their plates full deciding what to do with telcos and their potentially anti-competitive practices.

The first issue at hand is net neutrality. Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the  “Internet Freedom Law” this week.

Rather than detailing specific regulations, the new Markey bill calls on the FCC to conduct a “thorough inquiry” to determine “broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all.”   Part of the commission’s task is to conduct an “Internet freedom assessment” to determine whether or not service providers are adhering to “the Commission’s Broadband Policy Statement of August, 2005,” which prohibits actions that might interfere with users’ ability to access or use lawful content and services over the Internet and to attach any legal device that does not harm the network.

Next up is the case of BitTorrent and specifically, the fact that Comcast has been caught throttling traffic from this peer to peer file sharing network often used to send and receive videos. Comcast says they are within their rights to throttle bandwidth as needed to ensure things like voice get the proper quality of service while others are concerned that throttling bandwidth relating to applications violates the concept of net neutrality.

Finally, the issue of short codes has surfaced once again as Verizon has denied the use of these codes to Rebtel, a competitive service provider and others.

This month could be looked back upon as a pivotal one in the world of Internet freedom and the shaping of the world's net policies.

Mobile Browsing Gets Better

February 15, 2008

Stacy Higginbotham over at GigaOm has some thoughts on mobile browsing and concludes that the mobile web browsing experience is still not great but it is getting better. She discusses a number of new and even existing companies who are targeting this market and hopefully making it easier to browse while on the go.

As Higginbotham points out, it is essential for wireless carriers to give us better browsing as AT&T has shown you can make amazing money if you can provide a better browsing experience.

As a user of the mobile web, I must say that things are getting better but I still wish for larger screens and better keyboards. An iPhone with a screen double the size allowing for a larger keyboard and more browsing room would be fantastic.

If the device could be slightly thiker and have a clamshell design allowing it to double the screen real estate, I would be thrilled. For mobile browsing, I think Nokia's N800 or N810 is still the gold standard but of course you need to connect the device wirelessly to your phone if you want to access the web over a cellular connection.

Star Trek Tech

February 15, 2008

Weird Stuff

February 15, 2008

Bluetooth at 300 Feet

February 15, 2008

So what's that you say? You like bluetooth but the 30 foot range is a bid too short for you? You prefer lets say an extension of this range by say -- 10x? If this is your concern your answer is coming soon to Japan and who knows, maybe your country is next.

Why does everyone need something like this?

Indiana Jones Trailer

February 14, 2008

HD Voice Community

February 14, 2008

As I have written about extensively, the advent of VoIP means that we are able to increase the quality of communications quite substantially. To that end, we at TMC are always looking for ways to educate you on concepts like HD Voice.

Why? because I truly believe that there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of all telephone and video calls. In order to ensure the world knows about this concept, we have built an HD Voice Global Online Community in conjunction with Polycom, a leader in the space.

BYOW: Bring Your Own Wireless

February 14, 2008

Unprotected SIP

February 14, 2008

Increase Marketing Spend in a Recession

February 14, 2008

Corporate Phone Bills: $133 Billion in 2008

February 14, 2008

A staggering $133 billion dollars will be spent on communications services by businesses in 2008 according to Insight Research. 39% of this spending will be on cell phone bills. This staggering amount could be reduced if companies explore IP communications solutions that currently exist on the market.

If the economy is indeed slowing, a painless way to save money is to explore the world of IP communications more thoroughly and picking solutions which not only save your business money but they also increase flexibility and customer satisfaction.

Even if you have an IP PBX, be sure you also have SIP trunking so your calls are routed in the most cost-effective fashion possible. If you are a big user of telephony be sure to look at VoIP peering.

Telco 2.0 - the Microsoft way

February 14, 2008

The following are comments from Ovum SVP, Brett Azuma on Microsoft and what they are up to in service provider communications. I thought this was worth passing along.

Microsoft provided an update on its Telco 2.0 vision. The analyst telebriefing indicated that Microsoft's revenues for the Communications Sector exceeded $2bn in 2007.

Verizon's Network Upgrades

February 14, 2008

If you haven't been paying attention, you will have missed the fact that Verizon Wireless is investing like mad around the US to improve their mobile network. The quality of the wireless network was amazing to begin with and now this. VZW puts out a release every few days about a new region they are enhancing.

Perhaps all wireless companies are spending the same amount but if so they are not taking advantage of the free publicity that comes with putting our frequent press releases on their progress.

In my experience, companies who put out frequent releases do better than those who do not.

The more the editors in the world see your name surrounded by positive news the more likely they are to write nice things about you.

If you have any doubts, read to the end.

Today's release is about improving the network in Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Yahoo's Choices

February 14, 2008

I have mentioned in the past that Yahoo! has no choice and that it needs to seriously consider the Microsoft offer. Since that time, News Corp. has offered an alternative to Yahoo!… The media conglomerate will give some assets to Yahoo! such as MySpace and American and in return, News Corp. will receive 20% of Yahoo!

While this offer seems ridiculous to consider at first, there are some significant synergies which should not be overlooked.

ITEXPO East 2008 Video

February 14, 2008

If you missed ITEXPO this past month in Miami, you missed a great opportunity to meet with VARS, service providers and many companies looking to purchase IP communications products and services. I am truly humbled by the unsolicited comments that many of you gave us at the show.

We also got a tremendous amount of feedback regarding the move from the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center to Miami. It was pretty interesting to hear the varying reasons why some people like one city over another.

Here is a video which encapsulates many of the comments you gave us about the show. Thanks to all of you who attended and we hope to see you at ITEXPO in Los Angeles, September 16-18, 2008.

Pageonce: One Account for All You Do

February 14, 2008

I really think the concept of news aggregation into an RSS reader changes the way many people access information and in fact, RSS/XML technology has enabled a revolution in the way people can access volumes of information in a relatively rapid way.

The next evolution of this paradigm is being able to access all of your online accounts from a single location. Years ago, Excite allowed access to multiple brokerage accounts in such a fashion.

A company called pageonce allows you to access various accounts from a single interface and moreover allows them to be organized by category such as banking, telecom, travel, etc.

I think it is inevitable that most web users start using such a service as it is just impossible to keep track of all the disparate sites we use. If a company like pageonce can get enough users on its service it could even be a conduit for advertising from the airlines and other partners it works with.

Of course, whenever there is a new paradigm in the way things are done, there are barriers. And whenever there is a new area of the market which holds promise, there is competition.

8x8 Patent Reissued

February 14, 2008

8x8 the parent of Packet8 has been reissued a patent 6,483,532 entitled, "Video-Assisted Audio Signal Processing System and Method."

The patent relates to an arrangement for controlling audio signal transmissions for a communications system that includes a microphone and a video camera.  The reissued patent is dated February 12, 2008 and contains eleven new claims which strengthen the company's intellectual property rights related to this invention.

The company has been awarded over 71 patents so far in the fields of voice, storage and video. This portfolio probably did not seem so important a few years back but today it is crucial to have as we have found that telcos are beginning to wield their patents as weapons and smaller companies like VoIP Inc. are using them as a way to generate revenue.

Patents are like sports. The best defense seems to be a good offense.

Blogged via wireless handheld

Vonage: Good and Bad News

February 14, 2008

Covad has Wider Loss

February 13, 2008

Covad reported a fourth quarter net loss of $11.9 million or $0.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $8.4 million or $0.03 per share in the previous year quarter.

Net revenues for the quarter increased to $121.6 million from $119.4 million in the last year quarter.

On average, five analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expected loss of $0.01 per share, while analysts estimated revenues of $125.03 million for the fourth quarter.

For fiscal 2007, net loss was $43.0 million or $0.14 per share, compared to a net loss of $13.9 million or $0.05 per share in the last year.

Net revenues for the year were $484.2 million, up from $474.3 million in the prior year.

It seems the company's fortunes turned for the worse a few years back around the time the company stopped advertising and changed its focus from being an IP communications company to a broadband company. This move was accompanied by a management change as well.

I am not sure what the company's future holds but I keep hearing the question "Is Covad still around" from readers and attendees at shows. This is usually not a good sign.


Senate Approves Surveillance Measure

February 13, 2008

Earlier today the U.S. Senate defeated an Amendment to strike the provisions providing immunity from civil liability to electronic communication service providers for certain assistance provided to the Government.

The White House-backed surveillance measure, which grants legal immunity to companies alleged to have helped the government's warrantless spy program, passed the Senate yesterday. Now the battle shifts to the House of Representatives, where the House bill passed last year doesn't include a provision to immunize phone companies. The law that currently governs government surveillance is set to expire at the end of this week.

Google Apps Get Unified Communications

February 12, 2008

It was bound to happen... Google Apps have finally become connected to the world of Unified communications.

Thanks to Voice Mobility, you can now integrate Google Apps with your unified communications system in your campus or corporate environment. As you may know, the Google Apps suite includes Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Contacts, Mobile apps and other collaboration tools all using the workplace or campus domain.

The company's UCN Vmerge adds unified communications to complete messaging, collaboration, calendaring and presence functionality. The solution allows hosted or on-premise technology to handle the connectivity which is great for people who prefer the flexibility of choosing how they install this solution.

According to UCN spokesman Mike Seeley, Voice Mobility's VP of Global Sales, this total solution is like deploying Microsoft Exchange server, Active Directory and Office Communication Server at a fraction of the cost.

VoIP Inc. May Sue You Soon

February 12, 2008

So yesterday I wrote an entry titled Intellectual Property, The Other Defition of IP and later I wished I had the opportunity to shorten the title to Intellectual Property, The other IP. You know, a play on "Pork, the other white meat" slogan.

Little did I know that one day later there would be a wonderful opportunity to cover the topic again as VoIP Inc., a company with a number of patents in the VoIP space has announced they too will be looking to VoIP patents as a way to generate revenue.

So why didn't I use my preferred title in this post? Simple... Because this post seems to apply to all companies using VoIP and moreover it could cause some damage in the industry.

New VoIP Security Problem

February 12, 2008

Tom Keating alerted to me a new phone hack which is for now targeting SNOM IP phones.

The big hack involves the ability of some VoIP phones to make phone calls from the Web interface using a simple web POST request. The Snom 32x supports this feature which along with some security vulnerabilities is what GNUCitizen exploited to have some real fun, like ya know, making an outbound call using a spoofed CallerID.

Hackers will need the IP address of the phone being targeted to launch the attack, but using a simple scanner they can use a cross-site scripting attack to hack the phone’s built-in management interface.

Illegal stuff a hacker can do:
  •  Steal the phone history from the logs including any other details attached to the calls via XHR.
  •  Poison the address book with a persistent XSS - the name is encoded correctly but not the phone number.

What Caused the Blackberry Outage

February 12, 2008

DECT Extends the Cell Phone

February 12, 2008

Here is the challenge with today's mobile devices. They are generally good at some things and bad at others. You need a device and a set of chargers for various functions. For example, on your vacation -- you need a cell phone and a camera.

GooSue: Sueing Google Over Rankings

February 12, 2008

What's the latest trend in using the Internet? Why Suing Google of course. Don't like what someone says about you? Well... Whether you are a person or a city, the answer is the same; Sue Google and look to have them not rank the negative page as highly.

The Wall Street Journal has an article on the matter which discusses an Israeli city and real estate agents who are suing the world's largest search engine because negative comments are ranked high on the search engine.

It seems people do not understand that Google uses algorithms to determine search rank and subsequently shouldn't be held liable for results.

Phone Vs. Taser: Phone Wins

February 12, 2008

UK Threatens to turn off Web Access

February 12, 2008

Forbes on Mobile World Congress

February 12, 2008

Packet8 MobileTalk Goes Free

February 12, 2008

Packet8 has done a good thing today by allowing charter subscribers to their MobileTalk service free access. In other words, there are no longer fees associated with signing up to use this service which allows you to seamlessly connect your long distance calls over their VoIP network. You still pay per-minute charges depending on the country you call.

These rates are ridiculously low by the way. A call to Paris is 3 cents per minute.

Social Networking Decline

February 12, 2008

While social networks are still massive and generally doing well, there are more more reports of people getting fed up with such networks because they get too many friend requests and are not happy with the new advertising methods the sites use to generate revenue.

For example sharing a person's buying behavior is not making users of such services happy.

Today, the Wall Street Journal has an article that Bill Gates has stopped using FaceBook. The sad fact is that Microsoft has invested in the company.

While I have complained in the past about getting a few friend requests a day on such networks, Gates receives 8,000 each day. This is absolutely astounding and explains why he would want to leave the service.

The article also goes into the fact that you cannot ever delete your information on some of these networks.

Certainly, all this bad press can't be good for the likes of MySpace and FaceBook and could signal a broader trend that the world has lost interest in such sites.

Samsung MBP-100

February 12, 2008

If you were hoping for the day that you could fit a video projector in your pocket, perhaps that day is finally here. Of course this depends a bit on how big your pockets are. From this picture it seems that the new Samsung MBP-100 is about the size of the cell phone it can connect to.

I suppose the market for this device is people who occasionally need a projector but don't want to lug a full-sized one with them.

On the business communications side, the company has been having a good deal of trouble lately keeping its dealers happy. Numerous changes have cut into dealer margins and put some out of business according to my sources.

Russia: Spam Super-power

February 12, 2008

In the race to see which country is mightiest, Russia has rapidly muscled its way into the number two spot behind the US in terms of the amount of spam it sends. Here are the rankings:

Top Spam Producing Countries Country Percent of Spam Sent US 21 Russia 8.3 China 4.2 Brazil 4.0 South Korea 3.9 Turkey 3.8 Italy 3.5 Poland 3.4 Germany 3.2 Spain 3.1 Mexico 3.1 Britain 2.5
If you thought the US was the runaway leader in tech, you would be right. As you can see from this chart, Russia is really coming on strong and this rate of growth will soon be in double-digits.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the matter:

"Countries that continually remain among the top spam-relaying countries need to ensure that they are doing more to proper defend computer systems," said Mike Haro, senior security analyst at Sophos.

"If they continue to sit back as compromised computers spread malicious emails and malware, then hackers will continue to look at these systems as easy targets in their efforts to turn them into botnets," which can be controlled by hackers.

IPX: Big Peering Potential

February 11, 2008

I'm Talking in the Rain

February 11, 2008

Quite often people are in places like a bar room brawl, a rain storm or even a war zone and they wish they could take crucial phone calls. After all, it could be an important caller letting you know for example that your Blackberry service is down.

Until now, when you were in such situations, you were out of luck... You had to let the call go into voicemail and catch it a bit later.

Thankfully, Plantronics has helped us solve this problem with the introduction of the Explorer 370, a headset that is designed to meet US military standards.

The Explorer 370 is certified to MIL-STD 810 standards issued by the United States Army's Developmental Test Command to prove that equipment qualified to the standard will survive in the field.

So what's my take?

Android Happenings

February 11, 2008

Rim Outage Again

February 11, 2008

Intellectual Property, The Other Defition of IP

February 11, 2008

It's funny... I have been writing about the enhanced services made possible via IP communications for over a decade. To some degree, these services are here and while I think there is a great deal of room to go in this area, it seems that companies find it easier to use patent litigation as their preferred enhanced services revenue generator.

Basically using the other definition of IP, intellectual property.

Case in point is Verizon who is suing cable companies now. First there was Cox and now Charter.

Tandberg Video works with Microsoft OCS

February 11, 2008

Microsoft unified communications gets video interoperability with Tandberg products.

Specifically, TANDBERG MXP endpoints can now register and authenticate directly with Office Communications Server 2007 allowing them to appear as contacts in an Office Communicator 2007 user's contact list. By clicking a name in their contact list, users of Office Communicator 2007 can now visually connect with any TANDBERG MXP device registered directly with Office Communications Server 2007.

In order to make this happen, your products need a software upgrade. Once upgraded, users can also take advantage of the single user identity inherent in Microsoft Office Communications Server.

Communications Being Purchased Incorrectly

February 11, 2008

In the world of communications a sad fact is that in the past few years, technology has evolved to the point where communications is being more integrated into business processes than ever.  Regardless of industry,  communications has evolved to the point where it makes companies productive and efficient while simultaneously lowering costs.

What makes this sad is that companies are still looking at communications purchases as plain vanilla telephone replacements. In other words, they say... My phone system is about to die, let me get a new one.

What they don't say is, I can boost my productivity by an order of magnitude...

Starbucks Goes AT&T

February 11, 2008

Great news for caffeineoholics who need internet access and want it for free. Through an agreement between Starbucks, AT&T and T-Mobile the three companies have come up with a way for AT&T to provide internet access at Starbucks locations. In addition, T-Mobile hot spot customers get to use the Starbucks stores as they do now.

Finally, Starbucks Purchase Card customers get two free hours of internet usage each day. Want more?

Digium Guarantee Program

February 11, 2008

Mobile World Congress Key Terms

February 10, 2008

As you may know, Mobile World Congress kicks off this week and to get the ball rolling the event has put out some of the key terms you will be hearing more about this week. I have posted them here with their definitions in case you need to brush up on your acronyms.

Also be sure to check out the Mobile World Congress News Page to stay up to date on the show.


3G, or third-generation, is loosely defined as offering high data speeds, always-on data access and greater voice capacity, enabling operators to offer customers fast internet access, live, streaming video and other multimedia or "converged" applications over a wireless network. There are several 3G technology standards.

Microsoft Better off Hiring than Buying

February 10, 2008

Phil Greenspun has some great points about the pending Microsoft/Yahoo! merger and why the value Microsoft has ascribed to the company is more than they deserve.

Here is an excerpt:

The interesting question is why a company that claims to know how to program would pay anything for Yahoo, much less a P/E ratio of more than 60.

Google unseated Yahoo! at a cost of about $20 million in financing, simply by being effective software developers and tasteful interface designers. We can infer from this offer that Microsoft expects its own programmers to be only 1/2000th as effective, dollar for dollar, as Google’s.

Yahoo!/Microsoft Negotiations

February 10, 2008

Bluetooth on WiFi Steroids

February 10, 2008

Yahoo to Reject Microsoft

February 9, 2008

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yahoo! Is going to reject the Microsoft bid of 44.6 billion dollars.

Yahoo feels this bid which amounts to 31 dollars per share not only grossly undervalues the web giant but it also does not take into account the risks Yahoo! would be taking by entering into an agreement that regulators could overturn.

One wonders if Yahoo execs know something that Wall Street doesn't as this bid was a significant premium to the company's share price at the time of the offer. Then again this could be posturing in the hopes of getting Microsoft to pony up for more.

The following chart shows the jump in trading volume and share price as the result the unsolicited bid from Microsoft.

Sprint Complaints

February 9, 2008

Sprint Complaints
Last night I got together with my family for dinner and I found that my Aunt was desperate to talk with me about her recent customer service experience with Sprint. She upgraded her phone and it wouldn't work with her company's new server.

She spent countless days and hours on the phone being bounced around from department to department. She got disconnected repeatedly and she was told numerous incorrect things about connecting her phone to the bluetooth in her Acura.

Worst of all, thanks to tech support she ended up deleting hundreds of e-mails which cannot be recovered.

Bottom lime… One of the worst customer service horror stories I have ever heard. The excruciating detail of it almost caused me to lose sleep.

SugarCRM to Go Public

February 8, 2008


has been on quite a tear lately with the news that it has secured $20 million in funding and that they have a new mobile application. The latest news out of the company is that they are profitable and plan to go public in the next 8-12 quarters.

SugarCRM was founded in 2004 and since that time has had more than four million downloads, 470 product extensions, 75 language translations, more than 60,000 community members, and more than 12,000 registered developers. The company has a customer base of nearly 3,000 commercial accounts.

This is all pretty impressive and shows that the open-source CRM market is doing as well as open-source communications and computing.

For more information on SugarCRM and other companies in the space, be sure to check out the Open Source CRM channel on TMCnet.

Alcatel-Lucent Cuts Dividend

February 8, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent just reported somewhat disappointing numbers for the quarter with a  few bright spots.

On the negative side, the company reported its largest ever quarterly loss since it was created in 2006. The loss was 2.58 billion euros ($3.74 billion) in the fourth quarter from 615 million euros a year earlier.

Alcatel-Lucent's market value has plunged 13.5 billion euros since Alcatel bought Lucent Technologies Inc.

On the bright side, sales were expected to be 4.87 biilion euros and came in at 5.23 billion.

The company predicts a full-year operating margin of between 2.5 percent and 5 percent, Chief Financial Officer Hubert de Pesquidoux said on a conference call.

Alcatel-Lucent forecast in June that it would have 1.7 billion euros in annual cost savings after three years, and savings of 600 million euros this year.

The Real Cable Story

February 8, 2008

Google Search Tricks

February 8, 2008

Robots Help the Elderly

February 7, 2008

VoIP Inc. Shuts Some Services

February 7, 2008

Google Buying Plaxo?

February 7, 2008

Another day, another Google purchase rumor. This time it is Plaxo, the company that stores online business contact details. This company recently launched something called Pulse which allows you to decide if someone is a business or personal contact.

I can tell you from personal experience that I absolutely despise the frequent e-mails I get from the company asking me to connect with people. It isn't that I don't want to connect, it is just that getting dozens of e-mails I don't ask for in a week can get annoying.

Especially since there are just so many social networking sites popping up each week.

Hey Plaxo...

Angelina Jolie Computer Illiterate

February 7, 2008

I feel I need to somehow undo the psychological damage of the obesity image from a recent blog by telling you that Angelina Jolie has made tech news. She has stated publicly that she does not know how to turn on a computer.

Normally this would not be news but it seems like every blogger and writer online wants the opportunity to mention "Angie" in their blogs. Perhaps some of us might even post a nice picture of the Hollywood starlet.

Oh, and by the way... Many of the sites mentioning the news seem shocked that "Lara Croft" would be computer unsavvy.

Open Source in South America

February 7, 2008

I was pretty blown away at just how much South American traffic there was at the recent ITEXPO a few weeks back. Much of this traffic was in the booths of companies who focus on the open source space. Digium and Fonality were just a few of the companies who saw this traffic in their booths.

I was reminded about how much open source interest there is in South America when I saw the news that Sangoma is partnering with Ft. Lauderdale based XmarteK to increase its distribution throughout Latin America.

Sangoma President and CEO David Mandelstam said Sangoma “will be supporting XmarteK with road shows in various Latin American countries where the objective will be to build a strong customer base that will help us to effectively serve the Latin American market.”

This just shows that open source is an attention-getter, regardless of language or culture.


See also:

Sangoma Interview
Sangoma: From Open Source to Unified Communications

The Skinny on Obesity Laws

February 7, 2008

I am so sorry to get off the communications/technology bandwagon and instead talk about obesity but i just couldn't help but mention that in Mississippi there are some thoughts that a law banning restaurants from serving obese people would be a good idea.

Actually, come to think of it, making it difficult allow for heavy people to eat would indeed probably increase their chances of losing weight. Imagine if you had to cook everything you ate.

Perhaps this needs to be extended to deliveries as well.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the matter:

State Rep. John Read, a Republican who is one of the bill's three authors, says he wasn't trying to offend anybody and never even expected the plan to become law.

"I was trying to shed a little light on the No. 1 problem in Mississippi," he says. The state has the highest obesity rate in the USA.

Incidentally, tomorrow there is a weigh in for TMC's biggest loser competition to see who can lose the most weight by May. I haven't formally joined the contest but if I do tomorrow, I think I may have to blog about it to keep myself on track.

It would be nice if local restaurants would deny me service till the contest is over.

One Cable Cut Explained

February 7, 2008

Keating Abuzz with Polycom Compliments

February 7, 2008

Thank you Polycom for eliminating that annoying "buzz" heard so often on conference calls. Caused by a proliferation of wireless devices, there is nothing more annoying in a conference call setting or a keynote speech at a trade show I might add.

Here is an excerpt of an interview that Tom Keating had with Polycom CTO Jeff Rodman:

“RF interference is nothing new, but our awareness of it is at an all-time high, as more and more business is conducted over virtual forms of communications such as voice and video conferencing, and as the popularity of smartphones increases. Now customers can bring their smartphones into the conference room and not cause any interference on the conference call.” He continued, “As the pioneer in voice conferencing, Polycom took the lead in developing solutions that stop the ‘buzz’ and offer the best quality audio available in the industry. Polycom’s industry-leading voice quality, coupled with the new RF shielding and isolation technologies, are now shipping worldwide, helping people be more productive throughout the global workplace.”

For more information on Polycom and the company's interest in HD Voice, be sure to check out the company's HD Voice Global Online Community on TMCnet.

Intel Core 2 Duo Lawsuit

February 7, 2008

Although there are daily patent disputes in the tech field and I don't cover them all. I did think however that the patent claim against Intel brought by the University of Wisconsin covering the Core 2 Duo processor is worthy of mention as it pits a major tech giant against a University.

Specifically The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation or WARF is involved in the suit.

Here is an excerpt from WARF's site:

WARF filed this complaint to ensure that the interests of the UW-Madison and its inventors are protected and that WARF receives the compensation to which it is entitled for Intel's unlicensed use of the invention. This compensation will be used to advance continued research at the university. The foundation's complaint identifies the Intel CoreTM 2 Duo microarchitecture as infringing WARF's United States Patent No. 5,781,752, entitled "Table Based Data Speculation Circuit for Parallel Processing Computer."

The technology, patented in 1998, was developed by four researchers at the UW-Madison, including Professor Gurindar Sohi, currently the chair of the university's Computer Science Department.

Gphone Spotted Soon

February 7, 2008

A2 goes Mach 5

February 7, 2008

One hopes that one day soon I will fly in the new "Son of Concord" concept from Reaction Engines Limited in Oxfordshire in the UK. Liquid hydrogen powered engines will allow up to 300 passengers to reach speeds of Mach 5 or for the laymen that is 3,4000 MPH!

That is around 7 times faster than the speed of today's jets.

This is no typo and I am sure right now, Terry Matthews is looking to upgrade his corporate jet.

To reach Mach 3 the plane initially generates thrust through engines similar to those used in conventional jet aircraft.

But beyond Mach 3, a specialist unit pre-cools the super-heated air generated by flying at high speeds before it enters the turbines, preventing the engines from melting.

IPTV Community

February 7, 2008

Cables Fixed by Weekend

February 7, 2008

It looks like the undersea cables will be fixed by the weekend. Here are some details from Reuters and the AP.

Here is an excerpt from the AP story:

The two unusual incidents slowed businesses and hampered personal Internet usage in the Middle East and India. Governments in the region appeared to operate normally, apparently because they switched to backup satellite systems.

The FLAG spokesman said the company was still trying to determine how the cables were cut. He declined to comment on whether the two incidents were somehow linked but said he didn't believe the company was deliberately targeted.

There has been widespread speculation the cuts were caused by ships' anchors dragging along the bottom of the sea in stormy weather.

Aerophone In-Flight Calling

February 7, 2008

A company called Aerophone has recently announced that they will be using picocell technology connected to transceivers to allow passengers to use their cellphones to talk while in-flight. According tot he company, the system will not have a negative effect on aircraft electronic systems.

According to Henry Shabat, CEO of Aerophone, the system supports all wavebands and requires neither the prior written registration of the passengers nor a particular billing system. The call costs of US$ 1.60 US dollars (about 1 euro) per minute are invoiced via the normal mobile telephone bill.

In small aircraft, the mobile telephone calls from the aircraft are transferred to the satellite system. They can thereby relay up to 24 calls simultaneously to terrestrial telephone networks via several receiving stations and gateways.

Google Tells Domain Kiters to Fly One

February 6, 2008

Great news that Google will be doing its part to eliminate domain tasting and kiting -- techniques to avoid paying for domain names but using them as "spam" sites which trick users into clicking on Google ads they believe to be content links.

In the long run this has to be good for Google advertisers but in the short term Google will likely take a big financial hit. The shareholder in me is not happy with this move but the net citizen in me is elated.

Over time this will probably end up increasing the value of Google ads and this move could force competing networks to also come up with ways to eliminate these sites from surviving because if click quality from other networks deteriorates, Google will pick up more of the online advertising market.

TMC's Zippy Grigonis has in-depth report on the matter.

BT Fusion Gone

February 6, 2008

GigaOm reports that BT Fusion is going away to be replaced by a new service powered by HTC devices.

Fusion is a convergence service that allows subscribers to make cheap or free calls via Wi-Fi into a BT broadband hub at home and then make calls via the Vodafone network or through BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots when outside. Three dual-mode phones, including the Motorola Razr, are Fusion-compatible. It was first marketed to home users and later to businesses.

The article details a slew of reasons regarding why the system didn't work but I think it is a bit harsh. IMHO the company tried and failed and learned.

Bebo To Be Bought?

February 6, 2008

It is enough to make the average person sick. How does a company with a name like Yahoo! get a valuation in tens of billions of dollars. Sure, we all use Yahoo!

Is AT&T a Runaway Winner?

February 6, 2008

Is AT&T going to win the IP services wars? I get the feeling they are really doing a fine job in this regard and will only do better over time. Jon Arnold agrees and in a  recent article he talks about how well AT&T is doing but also explains how in the new world of Internet Protocol communications, there will be mistakes and successes along the way.

He discusses, events that took place at ITEXPO and explores standalone versus bundled services while mentioning Verizon, Covad, XO, 8x8, Cbeyond and many others. There is good insight here and this article is worth a read.

Here is an excerpt:

Moving further along the spectrum, however, these two pieces begin to diverge, and the incumbent carrier must share the pie with competitors and over-the-top operators.

LG Viewty Crosses Threshold

February 6, 2008

ooVoo Gives Free Calls

February 6, 2008

A Cut Cable a Day

February 6, 2008

Big Things, Small Packages

February 6, 2008

Voce Signals Failed MVNO Experiment

February 6, 2008

Is it safe to say that if Sprint itself can barely make it as a mobile carrier, then companies that have to pay Sprint and others for their network to resell their services will have an even harder time?

This seems to be the case as recently, Beverly Hills based Voce closed up shop with no warning to subscribers. All of a sudden it seems people's diamond-encrusted telephones became instant fashion accessories with no other function.

In addition to this problem it seems just before closing down the company tried to charge subscribers twice in a month for service. Well, at least we know most Voce users could probably afford to pay twice.

It seems that except for rare instances, the MVNO market makes no sense. There are just too many high-profile companies that tried and died in this game.

Like I opened with, if Sprint can't make it (or at least you might say they are barely holding on), how will these MVNOs stand a chance if they aren't either master marketers or in a niche the majors don't want to or can't touch?

Of course I would eat every one of these electronic words if Steve Jobs decided Apple was getting into the MVNO biz.

See this LA Times story for more.

Blodget on Yahoo/Microsoft!

February 6, 2008

Mediabistro Gives me a Nod

February 6, 2008

It is nice to be recognized by your peers -- even if you are called a "number crunching nerd." Mediabistro -- the site dedicated to the business of media mentioned a recent blog post of mine where I compared Quantcast ranks of the candidates on Super Tuesday.

Here is an excerpt:

Our favorite Super Tuesday song: Called, appropriately enough "Super Tuesday" by Hearts of Palm ("McCain is really old, so this is his last chance.")

Our favorite voters guide: (It's like a CosmoGirl! Quiz if CosmoGirl! quizzed you about civil liberties.)

Our favorite Super Tuesday T-shirts: Is it legal to wear these to the polls?

Our favorite Super Tuesday Number-Crunching Nerd: It's a tough fight between the candidates, but Rich Tehrani calls the winner...

Apple Doubles Capacity

February 5, 2008

Out of guilt -- I really don't think it is important news, I need to share with my readers that today Apple doubled the capacity of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The new 16 GB iPhone will cost $499 and 32 GB iPod Touch is $499.

The iPod Touch 8 GB model still costs $299 and the 16 GB model is $399.

Why guilt? I don't know really. It seems that whatever Steve Jobs does must be blogged.

Undersea Cable Cuts

February 5, 2008

Podcast Interview: 8x8 VP Marketing Huw Rees

February 5, 2008

8x8, the company behind Packet8 service has been doing a terrific job running their company with positive financial results and new services which are innovative and unique. Some are video-based, some are mobile and others are in the call center market.

Two weeks ago I had a chance to speak with Huw Rees the VP of Sales & Marketing at the company onstage at ITEXPO in Miami, FL. The talk went very well and there was tremendous feedback from the audience so I decided it made sense to talk with Rees in a podcast format allowing listeners who couldn't make the keynote to hear what is happening at his company and the industry as a whole.

Some of the items discussed have to do with Gov. Schwarzenegger's recent California Broadband Task Force report, mobile services, the SMB, and a host of other issues.

One area worth mentioning is marketing as the company is competing against at least one competitor who has told Wall Street that they will buy market share at all costs. We also delved a bit into patents and how intellectual property can be used as a defense and offense.

Hope you enjoy the podcast.

Aretta's Hosted Asterisk Tastes Great

February 5, 2008

In the nineties when communications manufacturers gave the market few choices and there were many proprietary options, companies like Dialogic, NMS Aculab and others came on the scene and gave users choice by allowing them to purchase DSP resource boards which let computers become communications processors. For the first time you could build your own PBX, prepaid calling card system or anything else you could want.

Best of all, you could have it any way you wanted it… Not just the way the manufacturer of a product-line dictated.

At this time Marc Fribush was working at Dialogic and was selling DSP boards for a variety of the applications outlined above. More recently, Mark is the president of Aretta Communications and when he started his company he had a vision of leveraging open-source communications to change the market the way the DSP resource board changed communications in the nineties.

Fribush took hold of Asterisk and decided the market needed an embedded IP PBX that was dropped in on premise, eliminating the need for custom installation.

Just as they he was going to market with this idea, Digium decided to launch its own appliance. So the idea was then to push the Asterisk idea up into the cloud where it would benefit from diesel generated backup and a direct internet connection.

The next step was to use virtualization and to pack 50-70 instances of Asterisk on a single server.

This business model is awash in successful buzzwords.

Super Tuesday Web Traffic

February 5, 2008

I was curious to see how much web traffic the various candidates have for today's Super Tuesday election and I was a bit surprised to see the results. This is where it stands so far (candidates in random order):


Unique US Visitors/Month

Hillary Clinton

Target Blows off Bloggers

February 5, 2008

Recently Target responded to a blogger request with the following message...

"Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets. This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest."

Apparently Target doesn't consider bloggers to be worthy of their time and energy. While I understand that not every company has the resources to engage every blogger, I think companies that don't realize just how important bloggers have become are out of touch with reality and obviously don't search the web themselves to see where the search engines are sending their potential customers.

To think that in this day and age any company can control their messaging via  a few large media outlets is a big mistake. This will certainly be a lesson that Target learns over time.

More at Chief Marketer.

See also NY Times vs.

Foundry Powers XM

February 5, 2008

Level3 Cuts

February 5, 2008

It seems that Level3 will have some more cuts as a result of a steep loss this quarter. Over 1,000 people or 16% of the company's workforce will be getting the axe according to I was a bit surprised by this news actually. I didn't think things were this bad for the company.

Part of the reason I was caught off guard is that I have been hearing that in many regions, the company has pursued an acquisition strategy which put them in the position of being one of a few fiber carriers and this resulted in increased pricing power.

My contacts in the carrier hotel space however predicted the company would continue to have problems.

Worldgate Problems

February 5, 2008

I read on Tom Keating's blog that Worldgate, the maker of the Ojo Videophone was in trouble. Apparently Worldgate has been short or out of money for about six months and industry insiders tell me that they have high expenses and the revenue just wasn't there to support it all.

A while back, the company started to have good success calibrating their phones for the hard of hearing and deaf but it seems this market did not bring the ROI in a timely fashion due to the delays associated with government funding.

I agree with Tom that this phone is an incredible device/service and it is a shame to see these problems.

Some think that once the government money comes in, that the company will be in better shape but it seems that once news like this gets out, it becomes that much more difficult to become a viable entity again.

I have heard the reason the company hasn't done better is that they decided that their video quality has to be very good and subsequently the cost of the devices and service was very high. This of course reduced the number of people who could afford the product/service.

According to sources in the know, the potential investors who considered throwing a life-line were put off buy the fact that the company did not reduce the functionality of the device so it could interoperate with cheaper devices. Instead, customers needed to have all Worldgate devices and this reduced the viability of the company being successful.

ECI Telecom Podcast Interview with CMO Laura Howard

February 4, 2008

Since my last article about ECI Telecom, the company has gone private. The question I am sure you are wondering about is how has this move changed the outlook for the company if at all and moreover what is ECI up to today?

Thankfully, your questions will be answered as this podcast interview with Laura Howard the company's CMO will keep you up to date on how ECI Telecom is evolving from a product to a solutions company. In addition, you get to learn how ECI has separated itself from many of the larger players in the telecom space and how they are navigating the international markets for communications equipment.

Another thing you'll learn is how ECI has broadened out its portfolio and isn't just an optical-only player these days. In addition, this podcast will explain how the company views next-gen video, voice and IP and how it helps solve problems for service providers.

Finally, you'll learn about how wireless backhaul has been a hot growth area for ECI and moreover where other telecom opportunities lie.

Service providers will get a great glimpse (or should that be "listen?" ) at what they should be concerned about as Howard gives unique global and real-world perspective on how ECI Telecom helps providers achieve their goals in a number of geographically disperse markets.

Call Center Jobs in NY

February 4, 2008

Google, Yahoo & Microsoft Love Triangle

February 3, 2008

The saga of Microsoft acquiring Yahoo! and Google trying to thwart the bid continues all weekend long with a great story in the Wall Street Journal explaining that Google can't really purchase Yahoo! because of the fact that the resulting company would be too powerful. Instead, it could promise cash payments, offer an advertising deal of some kind or even lend support to others who may want to purchase Yahoo!

Government Efficiency

February 1, 2008

Open Source, Schmopen Source

February 1, 2008

ITEXPO East 2008 Videos

February 1, 2008

Mitel Agrees on Talkument

February 1, 2008

Microsoft to buy Yahoo!

February 1, 2008

One of the longest-running tech rumors around is that of Microsoft buying Yahoo! in an effort to become more competitive with Google. The concept of Microsoft as an underdog in any market would have been tough to swallow just a few years back but thanks to Google, anything is possible.

Today, rumors have become reality as Microsoft has made an offer of $31/share in cash and stock for a total of $44.6 billion dollars.

While this deal would obviously provide both companies with massive scale and Yahoo! is the most visited site on the Internet, the problem at Yahoo!

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