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Rich Tehrani
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| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space

Consumer Electronics

TMCnet Sets Page View Record

March 20, 2007

TMCnet Search

March 13, 2007

We are always trying to innovate here at TMC and recently we have been looking for a way to ensure TMCnet becomes even stickier than it currently is. Our goal is not only to be the primary destination for all things in the communications and technology space but also the same for communications and technology search.   At search.tmcnet.com you will find a beta version of our newest initiative allowing anyone to search not only TMCnet’s massive archive of articles but others such as Network World and PC Magazine. We will continually fine tune this initiative to make it more valuable to you and hopefully it will become the first place you turn when you are searching in the communications/information technology space.   Please try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Huge News Coming From Plantronics

March 11, 2007

I recently met with Plantronics executives and they were basking in the glow of being market share leaders in the bluetooth space. They were very happy with this achievement and were further excited to tell me about how they see the future of communications.   I meet with many dozens of companies per month and you get a sense for when a company seems to be onto something big. Of course this is easiest to spot when they tell you flatly, “Rich, we are onto something big.”   I couldn’t get anything out of the tightlipped management about what to expect. I even hinted at the company moving upmarket to potentially compete with Polycom in the IP phone space.   I did not get positive feedback to this comment but instead I was told Polycom is a great partner.   In past meetings with headset vendors and market research questionnaires I have seen – headset vendors always ask me my opinion of adding more intelligence to the once dumb headset.   So as I am flying on a fairly crowded airplane I have time to ponder what I would do if my headset had a powerful processor.   I suppose the first thing I would do is add speech recognition.

Monsoon Day

March 2, 2007

Today was monsoon day here in Connecticut and we have had our share of cars breaking down and floods. It was a struggle to drive to work as the rain poured down when I got on the highway. It was almost like thick white fog coupled with large puddles that required careful navigation.   Thankfully I made it in and have been scanning some news sources today and haven’t noticed many earth shattering events. I was however pretty excited to hear Marriott is going to make their hotel rooms gadget friendly.

Costco Tightens Return Policy

February 28, 2007





A New Electronics Return Policy Spells a Terrible Day for CRM   I frequently hear people talking about Costco’s amazing return policy and how they only purchase their electronics from the warehouse club. In addition I usually hear these comments as people simultaneously complain about terrible experiences they have had at other retailers. Usually these stories revolve around a product that quickly becomes defective and is subsequently unable to be returned.   Apparently many people were taking advantage of the extremely generous return policy and were subsequently returning products to buy a newer or cheaper version of the same product.   This is unfortunate as a few people have now ruined it for the rest of us. Costco has a new return policy.   Costco has until now allowed customers to return items at any time for a full refund, except for personal computers, where returns were limited to six months.   The new policy will give customers only 90 days to return televisions, computers, cameras, camcorders, portable music players and cell phones.   To put a silver lining in this consumer electronics cloud, Costco plans to extend the warranties on televisions and PCs for a total of two years.



A Breakthrough Month in IP Communications

February 26, 2007

Skype, Google, Verizon, Vonage and Other Happenings   Please enjoy the March 2007 Publisher’s Outlook from Internet Telephony Magazine:   The last few weeks have been among the most newsworthy in IP communications since this magazine’s first issue in February 1998. If you have any doubts about the VoIP market’s strength and power, consider that Skype has recently petitioned the FCC for something amazing. They want to apply the Carterphone rules to the wireless industry. These are the same rules that were applied to break up the AT&T monopoly on devices, allowing anyone to make products for the AT&T network — as long as these products did not harm the network.   Innovations like the fax machine and vibrant competition in the handset market ensued.

Skype, FCC and Carterphone

February 23, 2007

The Carterphone ruling is what is responsible for opening up AT&T’s original phone networks to competition. Prior to this ruling AT&T had a monopoly on the devices attached to what it considered its network. AT&T even charged an electricity fee as I recall to light the lights on phones that hard plastic buttons representing phone lines.   In the US some think wireless providers are acting like monopolies as well by restricting access to their mobile networks to devices sanctioned only by the wireless provider. Verizon is famous for crippling devices – bluetooth for example -- and thereby driving revenue from services which require subscribers to rely on Verizon’s network.   Skype for its part is not happy with this situation and is subsequently asking the FCC to apply Carterphone principles to wireless networks allowing any device to be used on these networks.

Skype Pro: The Ultimate European VoIP Bundle

February 20, 2007

A few weeks back at ITEXPO there was a lot of buzz about Skype Pro and as it turns out the service goes live on Tuesday, February 19. I had a chance to speak with Skype’s Imogen Bailey and Stefan Oberg's the VP and General Manager of Skype Telecoms about the announcement and much more.   What is Skype Pro?   Skype Pro is basically a bundled package of services at a fixed price. The reason for this offering is to eliminate the one by one marketing of services customers would have to buy to receive similar functionality. In much the same way a cell phone provider gives voicemail, some SMS messages and a certain number of calling minutes, so too has Skype decided to make it easier for customers to buy a package of services.   Skype Pro’s subscription package costs €2 per month and includes:


  • Zero cents per minute calling to domestic (European) landlines in (country) previously €0.017* per minute
  • Free Skype Voicemail (normally €15 per year)
  • €30 discount on SkypeIn numbers
  • €5 Skype Credit included as part of the introductory offer
  • A €30 discount on a Philips VoIP 841 cordless phone.



Apple, iPhone and the AT&T Power Struggle

February 18, 2007

Apple’s ability to open the music industry up and now the mobile phone market is amazing. Steve Jobs has more control over the iPhone than any other recent domestic equipment provider has had over their devices. In fact few people at Cingular Wireless – now AT&T Wireless even saw the device before it was announced at MacWorld.   AT&T Wireless put up with Jobs and Apple but Verizon Wireless balked at some of the terms of the agreement such as where the phones would be sold. Apparently none of the wireless carriers are happy with comments made by Steve Jobs in the past – specifically, that telecom operators as "orifices" that other companies, including phone makers, must go through to reach consumers.   Obviously AT&T has high hopes for this device to put up with these comments and to lose so much control of the device.   But there is more at play here worth mentioning.
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