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Rich Tehrani
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Web Democratizes Auto Repairs

June 12, 2008

It is amazing to see how the internet has changed industry after industry. The latest to feel pressured by the power of a mouse, broadband connection and monitor is your local mechanic who now needs to worry that his/her prices are outrageous compared to other mechanics. As this article states, auto repair is one of those areas where the consumer is really at an informational disadvantage.

The new site focusing on democratizing auto repairs is called RepairPal and it is in beta at the moment and in some ways may even be a guide for mechanics who aren't charging enough for their repairs.

If the site helps you, be sure and comment or drop me a line as I am very interested in seeing how the web is changing business after business.



Yahoo/Microsoft Deal Off

June 12, 2008

It seems any chance of a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! is over. The number of billionaire Yahoo investors who are likely furious about this state of affairs which is trashing Yahoo's stock can't be counted on a single hand.

The latest talks between the companies centered around Yahoo selling its search technology to Microsoft. As was expected by some, Yahoo did not want to part with technology it considers essential to its future.

What is perhaps most interesting about the talks breaking down is that it shows Microsoft places little value on display ads and page views as compared to search technology. This means Microsoft likely thinks search ads are really more valuable than display eyeballs.

It will be very interesting to see if the frenzy over search ads is not just a part of the natural change that comes into the advertising market from time to time.





Sipera Looks To The Channel

June 11, 2008

Build Communities With Google's Help

June 10, 2008

Let's say your company plays in a few different spaces such as information technology, security and storage. And let's say your company has decided to build a community of interest which is dedicated to a specific subject area as you are hoping like-minded people will visit the community regularly and begin to associate your company as a leader in the space and hopefully some of these people will become new customers.

In this example, your resources are limited and even if they aren't, you need to choose one of these above areas to build your community. Assume each of them has equal market sizes and growth rates and you need to determine where the highest level of search interest lies.

Using the updated Google Trends, you can now see a graph over time of search volume on a relative and absolute basis and this information can be exported for analysis.

You may find for example that storage interest spikes around the year-end holidays but also seems unusually high in May of each year... This information can be useful in your business as it helps you see how people are searching for various terms.

If you have read my blog before, you know TMC has been building communities (Global Online Communities, Channels) for companies in the communications and technology space for some time now.







T-Mobile Lawsuit Repercussions

June 10, 2008

Rob Adler has an interesting take on the T-Mobile/Starbucks WiFi lawsuit at his Vantage blog. His point? That the PR hit of winning a lawsuit which takes away WiFi from millions of users will be extreme. I can't help but wonder if the general public would ever be aware of the lawsuit.

Amazon Down Again

June 9, 2008

Switchvox AA300

June 9, 2008



Greg Galitzine  broke the news regarding the new Digium Switchvox AA300, a new appliance dedicated to companies with about 150 users. The box also supports 45 simultaneous calls, 10 recorded and 15 simultaneous conference calls.

Tom Keating speculates about how this product may compete with the Digium Asterisk Appliances such as the AA50 but to me it seems the distinction is the flexibility and complexity of the Asterisk Appliances is greater. If this is not your cup of tea, chose Switchvox instead.

The small business segment of the market has the most activity and this move makes good sense for Digium and the company's resellers as it allows the them to offer solutions for companies who don't want to pay for a system which is bigger than their current needs.

In fact the Switchvox family now has three members, the AA60 which is smaller than the AA300 and the AA350 which is larger. In addition, there are also hosted and free editions of this product line and it seems that Digium's purchase of Switchvox has turned out to be quite successful as new products are rolling out and they seem to be able to cover virtually all your communications needs.







Amazon Fights for First Amendment

June 7, 2008

The scary part about so much information about people being in a single place is that the government knows where to look. This is a good thing when they are investigating a suspect but when they start to investigate the reading habits of people who are not under any suspicion, it becomes troublesome.

In short, Amazon was asked by the government to hand over which products were purchased by a large group of people in the hopes that one or more of these customers would testify against the seller (in this case Amazon did not sell the products directly -- they were purchased through Amazon Marketplace).

Amazon refused. The government narrowed the list to 230 -- Amazon refused again.

The court records regarding this case were recently unsealed.





Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Will LTE Fuel IMS?

June 3, 2008

Will LTE fuel IMS? Bob Emmerson seems to think so and he has a great point. With similar elements defined in WiMAX, LTE and IMS, the chances that carriers will have to install more and more IMS components are good. Similar to how you put a few pieces of a puzzle together at a time only to find your entire puzzle is solved before you know it, expect carriers to look at their networks and say that with a few more dollars they will have full-fledged IMS and the benefits such a framework allows.

Another point worth making is that IMS is due for a revival as we have already gone through the hype phase and there is less buzz around this term than there has been since its inception.

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