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Rich Tehrani
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Being Part of Squawk Box

May 23, 2008

I spent part of my morning on Alex Saunders' Squawk Box -- a gathering place for industry analysts and thought leaders to discuss important technology issues of the day.

Topics today included Ariel Waldman's harassment allegations against Twitter. This conversation digressed into what Twitter is... Is it a communications vehicle or is it media -- like a magazine or website?

Andy Abramson had some well thought out comments on the matter and others had great points too. Andy likened the concept of harassing someone on Twitter to taking a megaphone out and broadcasting negative things about them in public.

The whole argument reminded me a tremendous amount of the Juicy Campus website and the problems the site is having as it seems to be a forum where college kinds primarily gossip about one another.

This conversation morphed into a discussion regarding freedom of speech and the refusal of YouTube to take down Al Qaeda videos from its site.







Podcast: Starent Networks Thierry Maupilé

May 21, 2008

As the wireless industry evolves, the level of complexity has evolved with it allowing companies such as Starent Networks to thrive by delivering technology which enables carriers to deliver rich content multimedia services.

We all have cell phones and it seems obvious these devices will be delivering TV, YouTube and a host of other multimedia services as time progresses. Those of you who have kids with cell phones know more about this than others of course.

As this transition takes place, carriers need to think about taking advantage of adding intelligence to their gateways so they are able to build the most flexible next generation network possible.

I had a candid conversation with Maupil about wireless barriers to entry, Apple's iPhone, the latest generation of devices and the incredible opportunities ahead for service providers.

This podcast is certainly worth a listen and I hope you enjoy it thoroughly.







Roku: The Apple of TV?

May 21, 2008



Without a doubt, the new Netflix Player by Roku set top box will become a serious contender for the title "iPod of the world of television." I haven't seen this device yet but based on what I have read on Tom Keating's blog and on the New York Times, it is a killer offering.

Here are the details... A $100 set top box, a sub $10/month subscription and a web-based interface which helps you narrow down movie selections from a total of 10,000 Netflix offerings which are ultimately made by remote control.

At these price points some could be tempted to give up cable TV service altogether and if the box gains traction, it can become the TV delivery mechanism of the future -- worldwide.

I am not naive enough to think Roku will easily take over the world as Apple, Microsoft, the cable companies and phone companies will be looking to do everything short of hiring hitmen (is hitpersons more PC?).

Expect the box to eventually support YouTube, streaming TV and perhaps newer movies.

Really, everyone should be gunning for Roku except for content providers (including Yahoo! and Google) and chip manufacturers who can benefit from lower cost distribution and the sale of product to this consumer electronics company.

It is not hard to see Roku becoming a telephony provider in the future by upgrading these boxes with ATA functionality.

Expect this company to be included in net neutrality discussions of the future and if they aren't purchased in six months I will be very surprised. If Vonage had the finances or access to capital -- their brand would be a huge help in getting this box in millions of homes as fast as possible. They should consider a merger.

Then there is Google who could get broader YouTube penetration.

















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

ITEXPO West 2008 Conference Announced

May 16, 2008

One of the areas we have been feverishly working on at TMC is our conference program for ITEXPO,September 16-18, 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

We have truly strengthened this offering with the addition of new TMC University certifications.

Here is the complete list of tracks:
  • TMC University: Unified Communications
  • TMC University: Microsoft OCS
  • TMC University: FMC/Mobility
  • TMC University: Open Source Communications
  • TMC University: SIP
  • IPTV Workshop (For carriers)
  • Unified Communications
  • Service Provider Solutions
  • VoIP for SMBs
  • Hosted Communications
  • Call Center 2.0 at INTERNET TELEPHONY

TMC University certification courses offer a cohesive series of classes on a single topic, training how to select, deploy and manage complete systems. Conference tracks present a range of views on the most important challenges and opportunities faced in The transition to IP communications.

Certification courses and conference tracks present the perfect mix of technical and business-related information, allowing you to determine which solutions best fit your company.

As always, I am looking forward to seeing you all at ITEXPO and I have a great feeling about the show this fall. It should be very productive for all of us.









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.



What the HP/EDS Deal Means

May 13, 2008

When you look around the tech market you see factors which suck the profit out of every nook and cranny. In hardware there is a trend towards standards-based hardware which is not slowing down. As this trend continues, prices shrink and more competition exists in building computers, etc.

Moreover, as computers get more powerful they suck the life out proprietary solutions. It is very difficult to build a proprietary hardware system and not get undercut by a competitor who uses PC-based technology.

Software should be immune to this trend but open-source has made this segment of the market more challenging.



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.







SkyFire: The Cure for iPhone Envy

May 8, 2008

Do you have iPhone envy? I do. In fact, just this past Sunday I walked into the AT&T store and I browsed TMCnet on the iPhone and was blown away at how easy it was to surf on this phone compared to a Windows Mobile 6 device. I then asked if there was a firm ETA on the 3G iPhone (there isn't) and as I walked into the nearby Starbucks with my family I debated with my wife the pros and cons of switching to the Apple device from my HTC 6800 on Verizon.

I was close to deciding to switch to Apple (you already know I hate the soft keyboard) when I received my text message invite to the Skyfire Beta 0.6 release of their new browser.

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