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Rich Tehrani
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In Wake of Skype Deal, Will Microsoft Investors Revolt?

May 9, 2011

In 1997 when TMC decided to launch a magazine focused on IP communications named Internet Telephony, the nascent market had VocalTec, a software manufacturer charging around $50 for their software and Microsoft with their NetMeeting software which was free. Overnight, Microsoft took over the VoIP client market and became the reference software for H.323 calls - a standard which is rapidly losing out to SIP for most applications.

NetMeeting was clumsy to use - it had a GUI but was clunky and not friendly to users. Microsoft lost interest and reallocated most of its telecom developers to its newly formed Internet strategy.

Likewise for Microsoft's wireless phone strategy - the company was way ahead of the market in developing phones which could do so much but the level of complexity kept the company from becoming the market leader.

In the first case Skype became the winner of the easy to use VoIP software wars. Not that there was really a war - there was a massive vacuum in the market when Skype launched.

Super WiFi Hotspot Gives 3 Mile Range

April 19, 2011

One of the absolutely most disruptive technologies I have seen is Super WiFi and although, until now, the technology has been more theory than practice, there is a grandmother in Texas named Leticia Aguirre who has lit up a hotspot in her house with a range of three square miles – an absolutely staggering distance. Utilizing dynamic spectrum access the network shifts automatically between WiFi and a dormant digital UHF TV channel to provide the ideal coverage characteristics.

Organizations involved in this trial are Rice University, Houston nonprofit Technology for All (TFA) and the NSF who provided a grant to incorporate super WiFi into the network.

Coincidentally, this September will see the second occurrence of the world’s only Super WiFi Summit which will be cohosted by TMC where I am CEO and Crossfire Media where Carl Ford is a founding partner.

Is Android Security Really an Issue?

April 15, 2011

Yesterday I showcased an interview with investing legend Roger McNamee, managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners but what I didn't mention was the following comment he made, "I don't trust Android because some 16-year-old kid in the Eastern Bloc presses a button and erases everyone's hard drive."

McNamee also made a call to short Google as a pairs trade with buying Apple the day before the stock of the search leader dropped almost $50 or 8% after missing their earnings number.

But just as interesting is another big piece of news which has to do with Skype responding to an Android vulnerability which has to do with unencrypted SQLite information on the device which can be accessed by malicious software. Of course the challenge is - what software is malicious - it certainly isn't advertised as stealing data in its description in app stores. Moreover, in this case, the issue seems to be Skype not setting file permissions appropriately to avoid data from being hijacked.

Of course when I read about the controversy I thought of the comments about the 16-year-old kid.

And at a time when Android is so popular - in fact in South Korea there is an antitrust complaint against the company - one wonders, what happens if McNamee is right and the platform isn't so secure?

But then again, any platform with a degree of openness and massive adoption is a major target of hackers and if our experience with Microsoft products is a solid guide, we can expect more Android vulnerabilities to surface and potentially frequent patches to be released to counteract them.

Voice Carrier Wants a Big Piece of the SMB VoIP Pie

April 14, 2011

The business VoIP market has a tremendous amount of growth potential based on a recent FCC report I highlighted last week. And perhaps the most exciting aspect of the market is there is no single leading player which comes to mind – especially for the SMB. And losing and gaining marketshare in the segment can be done quite rapidly if you aren’t careful. Case in point are Comdial and Inter-Tel: two major players in the SMB CPE space just a decade-and-a-half ago.

Regulatory 2.0 Conference in DC Tomorrow

April 11, 2011

In an age where the government is so crucial to shaping communications and technology through its decisions on mergers, net neutrality, spectrum and a host of others, it is imperative that we take these actions into account as we plan for the future. Lawyers, decision-makers, policy-makers and everyone who could see their business fortunes change as a result of government policy shifts should be in DC tomorrow for this event.

Thank you Google who is the Diamond Sponsor and Pillsbury who is the Gold Sponsor. You can register here, this press release has more details and the schedule is below:

April 12th, 2011  The ICC FUSF NPRM:  
A New Vision for the Future of Communications?

Hosted by
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
2300 N St. NW Washington DC

The Regulatory 2.0 Conference DC is going to focus on the following topics:

8:45  - 9:00 Opening Remarks:  Jim Kohlenberger, President, JK Strategies

9:00 – 10:00 Rumors of POTS Death have been “Greatly Exaggerated”.
While packetized technology dominates the backbone of our networks, most of the end user community still experiences the revolution through the traditional twisted pair. 

Important HD Voice Research Report Available

April 7, 2011

You probably know I have been a huge proponent of HD voice as to me it’s an inevitable outcome of transitioning away from the PSTN to IP-based networks which allow us to upgrade CODECs without having to downshift our conversations to technology which was invented many decades ago. When I was a kid, television was an 11 inch black-and-white screen which seemed to always have Walter Cronkite on it and changing the channels was a manual and rotary process.

Yet, the incredible tech advancements we have seen in the television space haven’t yet fully materialized in the world of telephony. Sure, I can have high-quality conversations if a call stays on IP networks and there is no need for transcoding or jumping onto the public switched telephone network.

Leading SIP Client Bria Gets Upgrade to 3.2

April 6, 2011

FCC Reports Highlights 8x8 Business VoIP Success

April 4, 2011

While many technology decisions are made based upon what analysts or the media think, these sources can be flawed as they involve relationships – sometimes financial which could potentially skew how a specific company may be rated by the media or analyst firm. Even if everything is 100% objective, there is a certain amount of guesswork related to determining share of market in any industry as much of the data is not available and has to be surmised from multiple sources which could include interviews. Typically though, there aren’t other places to go when trying to ascertain which companies are leading in a particular market.

But in the VoIP space, there is a relatively new source of information worth noting.

IT Spending Up: Thanks iPad

March 31, 2011

I've been using the iPad 2 consistently for about a week now and although I sense the battery life of the original tablet was greater - I find I am much more productive using this device. For example as you delete email, other emails - especially those of the HTML variety open much more quickly. This allows you to go through much more graphically intense messaging in a fixed amount of time. And this could be the reason for the battery drain as I am using the processor and wireless network that much more per minute.

Another plus is the WiFi radio seems to do a better job of finding the closest access point meaning less issues of having to turn your wireless radio on and off or rebooting to get things working right.

Obviously I am not alone in seeing a business use for tablets.

Is AT&T Using Investment Angle to Silence Blumenthal?

March 25, 2011

One thing you have to give AT&T a tremendous amount of credit for is knowing how to work the regulatory system - legal, financial and lobbying to get deals done. They are absolute masters and off the record I hear amazing things about just how connected they are. And they will likely need to pull on all the strings they have access to in order to make the T-Mobile acquisition happen.

So realizing the US is a Republic made up of 50 states, the company has now begun working on public opinion in individual states. Consider that today alone the company has put out two releases regarding their building of what they call the most advanced mobile broadband experience in Cincinnati and Connecticut.

In boilerplate press releases where a few items are changed, the company explains that in the greater Cincinnati area it is going to install 10 new cell sites, add spectrum carriers to 35 cell sites, enhance backhaul to 100 cell sites to enable 4G and deploy a distributed antenna system at the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium to enhance network coverage during events.

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