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Rich Tehrani
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July 2011

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Annual TMC 2011 Picnic Today

July 29, 2011

Anthropomorphized Ads Go Mainstream.

July 29, 2011

Anthropomorphism or assigning human characteristics to nonhuman objects is alive and well in the world of advertising. Perhaps the best example of advertisements which embody this technique are of the “Mac Vs. PC” variety where the Mac character is young and hip and the PC is cross between Bill Gates and Seinfeld's George Costanza.

Back in 2007, voicemail transcription service PhoneTag, formerly SimulScribe put out an anthropomorphized video as well which is a take-off on Apple’s ads.

 

Expert Opinion: Pandora is Less Engaging

July 28, 2011

For well over half a decade, radio has been a one-way medium allowing you to listen to a station or change it. Until Pandora and other streaming radio stations like Slacker and Spotify, radio spoke to you and you basically took what it gave you. If your favorite DJ got on your nerves or the music mix was not what you wanted, you had little choice.

Moreover, if you wanted to know what song was playing or to see the album art, you were stuck.

Living in a Post-OS World

July 28, 2011



Two of the major drawbacks to a perfect cloud-based existence where the browser serves all your needs are speed of remote apps/services and UI flexibility. It just so happens, two news items have coalesced recently to help usher in the post-OS world. You see, while the tech pundits debate the idea of a post-PC world, companies like Google are going a step further and hoping to get rid of the operating system on the tablet, PC, smartphone and just about any other computing device you use.

HTML5 is one of the primary drivers of the flexible new UI allowing truly customizable media to be shown to users.



Strobe Keynote at DevCon5

July 27, 2011

DevCon5 Development Session Video

July 27, 2011

iOS Allows Apple to Correct Microsoft "Mistake"

July 27, 2011

If you look back at the early days of Apple, Microsoft has been a major supplier to Cupertino's customers virtually from day one. Even today, Microsoft is the go to software provider for not only Macs but PCs. So whichever platform you choose, Microsoft wins.

Microsoft Exchange too is a sales monster and it licenses ActiveSync to mobile companies who want to connect to it effectively.

Microsoft's operating income by division - Office and business software is a major contributor. Chart courtesy of Silicon Alley Insider

 

This overwhelming dominance however has changed drastically in the world of iOS - and if the momentum of Apple continues, what will become of Microsoft's Office business?

Writing on TMC's TechZone360 site, Rob Enderle asserts that Apple is correcting its "Microsoft Mistake" from its early days and its iWork productivity suite effectively shields Apple from having to rely on Microsoft for anything. From my perspective, ActiveSync is the only exception.

And if you're Microsoft and you have a chance of losing major OS share over time - this is happening now, you need to be sure you have software for major tablets which is so superior that customers have to have it.











French Web Precursor Minitel to Shut Down

July 27, 2011

France Telecom is shutting down Minitel - the precursor to the web - a service which provides information services to the carrier's customers. In less than a year, the service will be shuttered despite recently having about 10 million subscribers.

Like so many ideas which are good - a newer technology can come along and make even a well-liked service obsolete. Even though Minitel had a super-long run in tech years - 30 years, it reminds us that no matter how long you have been around - you can be wiped out when a newer and better technology comes along. In this case that new tech is broadband, the web and cheap computers.

One wonders however if France Telecom had focused on improving Minitel and broadening its reach so other global carriers could leverage it - would today's Internet be dominated by France-based instead of US based companies?

I guess we will never know.

TMC's Peter Bernstein has more.







DevCon5 Kickoff Video

July 27, 2011

HTML5 Event DevCon5 Kicks Off in NYC

July 27, 2011

Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event 2011

July 26, 2011



Last week I spent time at the Sprint Telehealth and M2M Event which they call Emerging Trends and Solutions in Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring and Wellness Forum. It was an intimate event but full of partners like Digi and many others who were thrilled to show off their solutions which work in-part with Sprint's networks. BTW - for those of you who go back to the UNIX days of dumb terminals - you may remember DIGI used to be a player in the space of allowing many terminals to attach to a PC-based UNIX system. Yes, we are talking pre-Linux here - in the late eighties/early nineties.

The mood was upbeat and positive, this part of Sprint's business is doing well and a wave of partners are enthusiastic about the future of telehealth, telemedicine and the machine-to-machine (m2m) markets.



Keep Bing at Microsoft

July 26, 2011

From a  competitive position, it would be major trouble to remove Bing from the deep pockets of Microsoft. Talk of the business being potentially sold to Facebook when that company needs to focus on fighting Google+ makes little sense. There are few other strong software companies beyond Oracle and Salesforce who I think could do a better job with Bing than Microsoft.

But like I said in May, Microsoft is doing as much as can be expected with Bing.

We know Marc Benioff loves Google so count them out of such a purchase - and Oracle, no fan of Microsoft or Google probably doesn't need the headache or the money-losing business as it is doing fine right now, thank you.

Microsoft has to continue to make Bing better while simultaneously forging stronger relationships with companies who are competing with Google. Facebook and Twitter are two obvious ones - perhaps LinkedIn is another company to work very closely with.

You see as long as Google is a dominant player in so many spaces, Microsoft can play the underdog position and work with all the companies they want.







GigaOm Tells You Why HTML5 Will Be Huge

July 25, 2011

It is no secret that HTML5 is important - the question is how big will it be? Word is out at GigaOm, that it will be huge - and moreover it is coming fast. Thanks to an article from Colleen Taylor, we also learn that Apple will have massive support for the platform. Moreover, Larry Dignan at ZDnet just wrote an article about how Amazon had to cave to Apple regarding in app purchases and how the only alternative for them and other companies is HTML5.

I couldn't be happier to see this activity around HTML5 as this is the week where TMC has launched its first ever DevCon5 event focused on HTML5 design, development and business opportunities.

Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

News Corp. PhoneGate Analysis and Suggestions

July 21, 2011

Based on the constant media coverage you should all be aware that reporters at a now shuttered News Corp. newspaper broke into voicemail accounts in order to get scoops. News Corp is certainly center-right in its reporting - depending on which brand of course. And it is also a very successful company with products like Fox News being monsters in terms of viewership.

But journalists are generally liberal and before you dispute my assertion, please recognize I hire and work with them for a living and as such, media outlets across the world have gone out of their way to focus on what isn't such a huge story.

Have Apple Laptops Crossed the Enterprise Chasm?

July 21, 2011

What my Trip to Silicon Valley Taught me About Apple

There is constant debate about what the future is of Apple and Microsoft and after a trip to San Jose, CA this week where my company met with over 175 leading tech companies it seems Apple is in better shape than ever. Yes, Cupertino has had record iPhone and iPad sales as of late but this week, more and more top execs told me they are switching from Windows-based laptops to Apple.

But more importantly they are evangelizing - they are pushing me and others to switch as well. As you may recall, it is these top execs that brought the iPhone and iPad into the enterprise and forced IT departments to integrate them into the enterprise.

And we can expect this trend to accelerate. Why?





Porn Stars Warn Against Malware and Spyware

July 20, 2011

The porn industry has been suffering as of late due to the rise of free sites which provide cloud-based movie clips and this makes a bad situation worse as p2p porn sharing has exploded with growth over the last decade. But what is most interesting to me is the public service announcement highlighted in this article where porn stars are trying to persuade you to pay for porn.

They make the argument that they want to keep providing quality content, have families to support, they pay taxes, etc. But most interesting to me is that porn stars are warning us that free porn sites are quite often set up to distribute malware and other harmful software. You can take a look at the video below to see it for yourself and if you don't recognize any of the people below its because they are clothed.

Sonos Adds PLAY:3, Lowers Price

July 20, 2011

As a happy Sonos customer, I was delighted to learn the company has added more content (Spotify to be specific) to its system and also added a new music player and lowered its price on the SONOS BRIDGE, a wireless device you can connect to your Ethernet port to enable wireless high fidelity music to be streamed throughout your home. The price has dropped from $99 to $49 on this device.

Moreover, the newly announced PLAY:3 is a $299, 3-speaker, 3-digital amp music player. It can be used in a monaural or stereophonic configuration.

The ZonePlayer S5 has been renamed the PLAY:5 and provides stereo playback in a compact unit.

At first look, the PLAY:3 is a great addition to the SONOS family as it allows a low-cost entry into wireless music playing but I am wondering if $600 for two of these isn't a bit steep. Still, I have to hear it and compare it to the S5 to give a more informed opinion.

Until then, the company has produced a well-designed video which will show you how the system works and how the new PLAY:3 integrates with it.













Metaswitch Thrutu iPhone App Lets Carriers Become Social Hubs

July 20, 2011

Earlier this year I came across Thrutu from Metaswitch newtorks - an application development platform allowing carriers to leverage rich social features and provide them as services to customers. In short, this is the exact sort of solution wireless phone companies need to try to keep their customers engaged and more importantly paying them.

Of even greater importance for service providers is being able to ensure that the contact database doesn't continue to get moved from the carrier cloud to the social cloud. By that I mean, consumers are relying more and more on Facebook and Twitter as their contact database making the carrier and the phones they sell less important.

Thrutu brings social features such as location, contact and photo sharing as well as prodding via a remote vibration (like Facebook's poke) and more via an API which developers can use to do much more.

I saw a demo of it working on Android phones and was impressed and as of this moment the company has released an iPhone version as well. As you may have guessed, you will be better off using such a service on a network voice and data can be shared such as GSM or in an area where there is WiFi and 3G/cellular.

Of course the question you have to ask is whether it is too late for carriers to basically reinvent social networks which are already dominated by the web giants we all know (and many love).







Nosh from Google a P2P Foursquare Meets Zagats

July 19, 2011

I just met with Craig Walker the Founder & CEO of Firespotter Labs and he went over where his Google-backed companies will be innovating in the future. As you may recall, Walker founded Dialpad and Grandcentral which eventually got acquired by and became the foundation of Google Voice. Walker explained his new company will be looking to disrupt markets where there is an opportunity to disrupt.

We can for example expect more disruption in telephony and the hospitality market was referenced by him as a space worth $600 billion/year and yet there has been little innovation beyond the buzzing pagers they give you when there is a line to get a seat.

His company's new app, Nosh available on iOS and Android aims to merge the best of Foursquare and Zagat with the p2p elements of having reviews done by users who could be your friends. You can rate food at the restaurant where you eat and you can share the rating with others - the scale is 1 to 5 stars.



Time for Carol Bartz to Leave Yahoo!?

July 19, 2011

When Yahoo! announced Carol Bartz as the new CEO I expressed my concern that she had zero media experience. I really thought in this ever-changing world of media and what has turned into a rapidly evolving world of social, Yahoo! needed someone with different experience.

TMC's Silicon Valley Interviews off to Great Start

July 18, 2011

Are you using Lync or USING Lync?

July 18, 2011

Thought leader and noted UC analyst Blair Pleasant is skeptical that 70% of the Fortune 500 are implementing and using Lync. But Steve Ballmer tells us that 70% are on Lync. As we all know, there is a difference between using something and really USING it. Especially when you consider how many workers a typical Fortune-class company has - does a few people per 100,000 constitute real use? We need more accurate usage numbers to back up his claim.

The interesting thing is you can likely argue that almost all companions use Skype in some capacity - and as it merges with Lync - you could say virtually all companies of any size use Lync. I wonder what Blair will have to say about that.



Off to San Jose, Interactive Airport ads and Boingo: I Love this Service

July 17, 2011

I flew out of JFK as was pretty amazed to see a new interactive ad format which consists of what you may consider to be a giant tablet on the wall allowing consumers to play games on it. I didn't get a chance to see the company behind the great idea but I did see engagement as there was one person on each of the ads I spied and people watching the person play.

Boingo set me up with an account years ago and even though I am not paying for it, I gladly would (please tell me the Boingo public relations doesn't work weekends  and read comments like this ).

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Boingo now works with GoGo Wireless - but you still have to pay extra to get access to internet while in-flight. Anyway - I didn't get charged and more importantly I didn't have to deal with the GoGo interface for logging on. I have found it to be a bit sluggish - I know, I am in a plane, what do I expect?



71% of Austin Companies Complain of Tech Worker Shortage

July 15, 2011

New Austin job fair to help match tech workers with growing tech companies

I have said before the employment market is really a tale of two worlds. In the realm where you have tech skills and experience you are much more likely to not only have a job but see your value increase. In the last few months I have seen the number of tech companies getting funding skyrocket and the trend does not seem to be slowing down as the IPO market is alive and well for tech and many even say we are in a valuation bubble in certain sectors.

Texas is one of the best states in the nation in terms of job creation - the Lone Star State is luring away business from the rest of the country and moreover, its strong tech and telecom corridors already have an entrenched group of companies and many are growing.

All this growth has led us to a point where there aren't enough tech workers, causing 71% of executives in Austin, Texas to complain that there aren't enough tech workers and 59% of these companies say the shortage has caused their companies to be held back.

Isn't this amazing? the mainstream news tells us constantly about how bad the employment situation is with "real" unemployment estimated at around 20% and still, there aren't nearly enough tech workers to go around.

As you may know, TMC's west coast ITEXPO event takes place in about two months and has moved from Los Angeles to Austin, TX this year.









Ingenious New Ad Format Charges Phones

July 15, 2011



We've seen the pods in the airport which charge your devices - often sponsored by Samsung. But now the idea has gone to the next level with an ad in a bus shelter from Vitamin Water which has an outlet allowing you to plug in and get some juice while you wait for your public transportation.

I am sensing an opportunity for Starbucks and other restaurants and retailers to start offering charging sponsorships as well. Very cool. Picture is courtesy of Mashable.

I for one hope the food court in LaGuardia Airport gets into the game soon.





Google+ Targets Facebook not Twitter

July 15, 2011

There have been numerous discussions lately regarding how Google+ could be a Twitter killer and while anything is possible, my research shows that Facebook is in the most trouble. Perhaps the most compelling argument for Google as a Twitter killer comes from Rolfe Winkler at the Wall Street Journal who suggests Google can pay celebrities to switch from Twitter to Google+ and they can even afford to share advertising revenue with the celebs making it worth their while.

This reminds me of the bidding wars Sirius and XM satellite radio went through years back – it got to the point where the companies had to merge because costs got so out of hand that they were having trouble making money.

Justin Timberlake recently invested in MySpace with the hopes of revitalizing it by bringing fans together with artists and if successful, it is possible celebs everywhere will be getting pressure to join, invest and run new and existing social networks.

Amazon Turns to Voters to Decide on Tax

July 14, 2011

Amazon has filed a petition for a referendum to allow voters in California to vote on whether they want to have the company pay sales tax in their state.

This in response to a new law recently passed in the state which requires online retailers to collect sales tax on sales in California.

Hanging in the balance are thousands of affiliates in the state who earn a living by displaying Amazon ads on their sites. Amazon has cancelled their ability to be affiliates as a result of the new California law and now residents of the sunshine state have to decide if they prefer to have the company collect sales tax on their state's behalf or continue having paid affiliates in their state.

It really boils down to more jobs or more taxes - and as is generally the case, more of the latter kills the former.









These New Sony Tablets Look Interesting

July 14, 2011

Dragon Go! Shows Speech Tech is Alive and Well

July 14, 2011

One of the most interesting mini-reviews I have done was with Dragon Go! from Nuance - an iPhone app which I found to be deadly accurate in my testing. Not only did it recognize my voice with a moderately loud air conditioning unit in the background, there were occasional interruptions courtesy of gadgets and fax machines all around TMC headquarters as I tested.

Here are examples of the tests I did - you can see, I couldn't trip it up. See for yourself how it went and how this app compares to similar ones from Bing and Google.

Since Chipotle Mexican Grill opened literally next-door to TMC's HQ, I had to try a search for nearby Chipotle restaurants.The first three results were dead on.



FlipIt! USB Charging Innovation Continues

July 13, 2011



I thought I had seen it all but today I came across the FlipIt USB Stealth Charger which utilizes power outlets already in use. Specifically it has a thin contact pad which rotates 270 degrees allowing the user to plug it into an outlet which has another plug in it at the same time.


It provides 1,000 mA or 1A of power at 5V which is double the amperage and power of a USB port and as a bonus can work with 100-240V power outlets making it a great addition to your travel kit. I have a high-speed Targus iPad charger which puts out 2.1A or more than twice the output of the FlipIT!




TMC Video Crew Coming to San Jose July 18th

July 12, 2011

Dear readers, in our tireless search to bring you the latest news, the TMC video crew often visits trade shows and even cities to speak with all the companies of interest in a specific geography and/or industry.

For companies in tech, telecom and other areas TMC covers such as smart grid, healthcare, financial, etc. – please reach out to be considered for a video interview.

This is an invitation only event being offered to a limited number of companies at no cost and will take place at the San Jose Marriott from monday, July 18th – Wednesday, July 20th.

SEO Webinar: Last Minute Butterflies

July 12, 2011

No matter how many webinars and speaking engagements you do - there always seem to be the last minute butterflies which encourage you to nail your subject matter before presenting. I am going through the slides for my presentation on the webinar titled Practicing Smarter SEO Techniques Through Online Communities which takes place today, July 12th at 2:00 pm EST. Hope to see you then. You can still register here.

This will be the third webinar TMC has done in its online community building series and thank you to the thousands of people who have signed up to learn more about how online community building can generate thought-leadership, improved branding and increased leads and sales.

Also - one final reminder - you don't want to miss Jonathan Allen from Search Engine Watch -  he will add major value to the experience as he is sharp and knowledgeable.



Top 5 Road Trip Apps

July 12, 2011

SEO Webinar Tomorrow With Search Engine Watch

July 11, 2011

Jonathan Allen, at SES London - courtesy of Flickr and Toprankonlinemarketing
Tomorrow, I have the pleasure of presenting on a webinar with Jonathan Allen, SEO expert and director of Search Engine Watch. This will be the third-part in a webinar series which has focused on helping companies build content-based and other types of online communities allowing them to gain increased thought leadership, branding, traffic and sales.

Jonathan is extremely knowledgeable about SEO and I can promise you this will be one of the most information-packed webinars on the topic you will find. You may even witness a discussion/debate on using white hat Vs. black hat techniques when it comes to search engine optimization.

Join over 1,000 other people who have signed up and register now. The webinar takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, July 12th at 2:00 pm EST.

More:

You likely know I am the CEO of TMC - a company who has built hundreds of sponsored online communities for our customers and for more on Jonathan, here is an excerpt of his bio below:


Jonathan became Director of Search Engine Watch with Incisive Media in December 2009 with the objective of creating a vibrant community of search and tech marketing professionals.











Want Google+? Check Your Gmail

July 11, 2011

HTML5 Job Growth at 34%. Scholarships Now Available

July 11, 2011

With HTML5, Every Web Page Becomes an App

Between the first and second quarters of 2011, HTML5 job growth was at 34% while HTML-only jobs increased by only 7% and Flash jobs decreased by 10%. This according to Freelancer.com

This confirms that one of the most exciting trends in tech right now is what investing legend Roger McNamee, managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners calls the HTML5-based post Internet cycle boom mega-cycle.

Examples of interactive Visa ads within the Wall Street Journal app on the iPad



This past weekend I was reading the Wall Street Journal on an iPad - and an ad came up for Visa which touted hotels and movies. And as I clicked on this interactive advertisement I was presented with an offer from a luxury hotel. Moreover, within a matter of seconds I was virtually viewing a hotel suite which was gorgeous and I was further able to book a room if I chose to do so.



Even though the app I used wasn't developed in HTML5 the potential for the same level of interactivity exists in all all pages designed with this new standard.













You Have No Business Being on Google+

July 11, 2011

In case you missed it, Google is asking you to hold off listing your business on Google+ for the moment. The company is working on integrated Google+ business listings which will tie into Adwords and other Google features and until it gets its ducks in a row it suggests you wait patiently on the sidelines.

For Facebook, the thing that has to scare you more than Google+ for personal use is Google+ for business because that's where the money for ads and sponsorships comes from. Also, think about the hundreds of millions of dollars of free promotion Facebook receives from companies advertising their Facebook pages on television, magazine ads and billboards. Imagine if some of this revenue started to head over to Google+.

Tech Bubble Talk from Eric Schmidt

July 11, 2011

Are we in a bubble or not? Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt thinks the idea is worth paying attention to. He isn't declaring we are in one but he says either the revenue growth of these new tech companies is so large that the valuations are justified or that there is a liquidity squeeze where a large amount of capital is chasing a small amount of shares.

Bottom line is we don't know if we are in a bubble - but we will likely learn if we are in 2012 when much of the share lock up periods expire.

Interestingly, he mentioned that although many people said Google was overvalued when it went public, it never dropped below its offering price.



Gary Kim at IP Carrier has more.







Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?

July 8, 2011

If you are working with a phone system maker who isn’t innovating rapidly, beware - their days could be numbered.

I hate to be sensational but you have to wonder, with real-time video & voice communications embedded into social networks where a billion or spend a good part of their day, is standalone unified communications now much less important? And with Google+ tying together all of Google’s activities from voice to video to Gmail and chat, will people prefer to make calls from their Google toolbar or something a PBX company provides?

Obviously Avaya with its Flare interface and Cisco’s Quad are examples of being ahead of where the consumer market eventually evolved to.

TMC Covers NASA STS-135

July 8, 2011

How Skype and Facebook Work Together

July 7, 2011

It is fascinating to hear how Facebook and Skype work together - the news this week that the companies have a solution merging the best of social and video has shaken the industry up a great deal but now the details on how the system works are beginning to emerge.

TMC's Tom Keating has an extensive podcast interview with Chaim Haas with Skype PR and IP communications veteran Jonathan Rosenberg, Skype's Chief Technology Strategist where he learned everything you need to know.

New Skype APIs There are Skype server APIs made available to Facebook users which allow "shadow" accounts to be created with random Skype IDs. This happens even if you have a permanent Skype account.

Stripped down client: The Skype client used in this instance is stripped down (just does p2p no supernode functionality or unnecessary UI or codecs) so it will download quickly. It doesn't use Adobe Flash as some web reports have stated incorrectly.

Thank you Amazon: All the Facebook calling is supported by server supernodes - no PC supernodes - with cloud support from Amazon EC2.

No PSTN just yet: There is no PSTN calling at the moment but in the future there could be. Some interesting use cases are the ability to allow calls to mobile phones based on profile or even e-commerce and click-to-call.

No HTML5: There were rumors of the client being HTML5 - sadly it isn't - that would have been great to see as it could have conceivable run on all platforms like iPads, etc. As you can imagine, the company had to work on scaling this app - as there are over 750M active users on Facebook - even more than Skype users.

Will it scale? The question now is will the Skype network which has had a number of outages these past few years be able to to deal with flash crowds, update issues and more.













PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Google+ Becoming Serious Facebook Threat

July 6, 2011

Microsoft was known for producing winning products after its third attempt - we may be saying something similar about Google soon

Google, a company known as the king of search - certainly has a mixed record when it comes to other spaces. Obviously they are doing a great job in the mapping space and their Android OS has turned into a real winner. But when it comes to social they have had flop after flop.

But now, after a week, the company seems to be doing amazingly well - with some sites reporting large amounts of traffic coming from the new social network. That and there are many sites who have more followers in a week on Google+ than they amassed on Google Buzz which is years old.

The bottom line - Facebook may have a real challenger - and more importantly, it shows us that even when you believe a company has a space locked up in tech, it may not be the case.





Survey: Games Most Popular Smartphone Apps

July 6, 2011

And surprise, most people will pay for apps

Games, weather and social networking apps are where people are spending a tremendous amount of their time followed by mapping, news, music and entertainment. These are the results of a new survey from Nielsen which asks what apps people used in the last 30 days. iPhone users who are mobile gamers play about 30 minutes per day on average or 14.7 hours per month while Android users play 9.3 hours per month.

Nielsen supplied chart of apps which smartphone users have downloaded in the last 30 days


While we see mega deals in the video game world for titles like Angry Birds and social companies like Zynga preparing for multi-billion dollar IPOs - let's keep in mind part of the reason for this is that everyone it seems will pay for games on their phones. Consider in fact Nielsen found 93 percent of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games they play.






Cell Phones Now Pose no Cancer Risk

July 5, 2011

The studies go back and forth and a few weeks ago the World Health Organization or WHO said there was an increased cancer risk as a result of cell phone use. Now, another study says the opposite is true.

The review was conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology* chaired by Professor Anthony Swerdlow from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The ICNIRP committee analyzed all published studies that have examined whether there is a link between mobile phone use and the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma and determined that although there is some uncertainty, there is no link between cell phone use and brain tumors in adults.

The professor and his team analyzed data from thirteen countries going back 10-20 years.

We live in a world full of radio signals - a typical tech trade show for example could have dozens if not hundreds of WiFi access points. Add to that satellite, FM and myriad other radio signals coursing through our bodies at all times and you have to wonder if the addition of one more radio emitter near our heads will have any major effect on our likelihood of getting cancer.





Search Marketing: Where it Pays to be Young

July 5, 2011

There is a crisis of unemployment in the US and those aged 16 to 19 are being hit with unemployment rates of 24% or almost three times the rate of adults. Worse yet, minority teens are seeing rates of unemployment as high as 41%.

There are a number of factors at play here - burst bubbles in credit and housing as well as margin compression due to price discovery on the Internet. The trend has gotten even worse as price discovery is now taking place via bar codes read by cellphones allowing consumers to buy from Amazon instead of the brick and mortar shop where they happen to be shopping and doing product comparisons.

Even worse, the Internet allows jobs to be outsourced with a mouse click and IP communications allows call center agents and other BPO jobs to be anywhere in the world. And these jobs are flowing to where there is less regulation and lower costs.

The good news is where the Internet takes away it also gives back.





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