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Cisco EMC Merger Rumor

May 19, 2008

With a majority stake in VMware and a commanding lead of the storage space, what's not to like about EMC. If you are Cisco, it makes sense to pick up EMC now because the stock is down a bit and moreover Cisco would be able to immediately expand its product line beyond networking, telepresence and networking.

Overnight, Cisco could become a leader in storage and a very strong security player.

Remember that Cisco was an early VMware investor and they likely want to expand their ownership of the company.

Remember also that Cisco is doing some amazing things with virtualization in their routers and owning a premiere name in the virtualization space can only help their core offerings.

At this point the rumor is just that but I have been pretty amazed at just how many of these speculative discussions have become reality.

One of the exceptions was the Microsoft/Yahoo merger and even that one seems to be happening in some capacity again.

I think there is little room for complaint if this rumor is true as shareholders may be better off with Cisco stock and customers would likely want to consolidate their purchasing with less vendors. At this point such a deal -- even if hypothetical, makes sense for most involved.











CBS Picks up CNET

May 18, 2008

My Canada Trip and Nortel Wrap Up

May 16, 2008

I am back from Canada and the first thing I did when turning on my phone was praise the engineers who came up with the awkward-sounding acronym called EVDO. By the way in my discussions in Canada it seems the people who told me Rogers will be offering EVDO are wrong as Rogers uses GSM/GPRS and their evolution is to LTE - which coincidentally stands for long term evolution.

Bell Mobility is going to be upgrading to EVDO according to my sources and moreover the high price for wireless access is explained by Canadian analysts as the problem of providing access to an entire country where only a fraction of the land is inhabited. Apparently country-wide access is mandated. Oh - and it also seems that Bell Mobility is intentionally throttling bandwidth to what I would have to say are inhumane levels.

One of my most memorable moments these last few days was driving from Ottawa to Montreal and back.



Virtual Worlds, The Future of Communications

May 15, 2008



I am here at Nortel R&D headquarters in Ottawa, Canada where the Nortel incubation team is showing us a bunch of the latest technologies they are working on in the labs. This is the first day the media has been allowed to see the next-gen products the Canadian-based communications company is working on.

We are an hour or so into the demo and so far we have seen a Nortel specific virtual world where all avatars use their corporate identities. In addition, there is voice collaboration with 3D stereo built-in.

If this sounds familiar it is because Diamondware has similar technology. Nortel cannot comment on whether they are working with the Arizona-based company but regardless (I would say they are working together and even will even potentially buy the company), the demo was impressive as it reinforces how the quality of audio really is more important than we realize.

We use a single ear to listen to one another while on the phone and we compress the audio and filter out most of the feeling.







Digium Picks Integrics to Power Carrier Solutions

May 13, 2008

Perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions among those who dabble in communications is that Asterisk is only used in small business environments. The reality is that Asterisk is being used in service provider environments as well.

Of course this doesn't mean that a product which happens to work great in a small to medium business is also able to simply flip a switch to become the heart of a service provider install.

In other words Asterisk + "a variety of additions" is what Mrs. or Mr. service provider needs to use this popular open source product to power services to their customers.

In an effort to simplify the process of adding Asterisk to the service provider environment, Digium -- the company behind the world's most popular open source communications software has partnered with Integrics, the maker of Enswitch.

According to an article on the subject by TMCnet's Susan Campbell, Enswitch allows service providers to use Asterisk in order to provide, full-featured, telephone management and billing solutions, calling card integration, toll free and number translation services, voice mail, call queuing, ACD, fax to e-mail, and multi-level IVR.

I am pretty impressed with the feature-set of Enswitch. For example, they provide XML and PDF invoices for customers, wizard-based activation, simple sales tax management, web-based administration, sophisticated authentication mechanisms, shared speed dials, .csv integration, dial by name, unlimited classes of service, etc.

In fact you may be hard pressed as a carrier to find a feature that Integrics hasn't thought of.

So what does such an announcement mean to the market? Well first off, service providers are likely to feel more comfortable working with products from Integrics as they now have the Digium brand, muscle and market power behind them.

In addition, we can expect the service provider market to embrace open source at an even more rapid pace than they are already doing.















UMAThought Leader Steve Shaw on TMCnet

May 9, 2008

PAETEC: Success Under the Radar

May 8, 2008

Recently I traveled to San Francisco to PAETEC World, the largest of annual meetings that PAETEC has with its customers. During this cold San Francisco week, over 350 customers and well over 100 PAETEC employees spent a few days in a downtown San Francisco, CA hotel learning, exchanging ideas and networking at evening receptions.

To my knowledge I am the first analyst or reporter ever invited to this event and this fact coupled with my desire to learn more about the company made me jump on a plane to meet with the company's execs and customers.

In a keynote speech there were slides showing how much farther ahead the Company is than the competition in terms of service. At the same time, PAETEC was frank in recognizing they still have room for improvement, admitted their imperfections, and shared their plans for growth. They frankly want to change the dynamics of the industry.

Now let's sit back and think about that for a moment.





Vonage Record Quarter: Jeff Citron Interview

May 8, 2008

Vonage has done a great job this last quarter --  posting growth numbers in a slower economy. I just had a podcast interview with Jeffrey Citron where he talked about the company's growth rate and the number of new initiatives at the pure-play VoIP service provider.

Citron explains that they are pleased with their financial performance as their revenue was $225 million and this is a 15% increase from the previous year. One great bit of news is that expenses increased and adjusted operating income is now $8 million.

These results were ahead of expectations and in addition to the news on earnings, Citron was proud to explain how well-received his new  products have been. Visual voicemail and unlimited international calling are some of these new items.

Moreover, the company has a new prosumer product and another called Companion which installs on your computer and works in conjunction with your phone service.

Perhaps most importantly, Vonage is becoming a double-play provider by reselling Covad broadband DSL service.







Sangoma's David Mandelstam Shares Thoughts

May 2, 2008

Nortel's Joel Hackney Discusses Earnings

May 2, 2008

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