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IP Communications

Will VocalTec and Skype Merge?

November 22, 2010

One of the major factors that led TMC to decide to launch Internet Telephony magazine back in 1997 was that we saw VocalTec launching products in the space which allowed telephony to travel over IP networks - and just like that the IP communications market was born.

Prior to this point, voice over frame relay was the preferred way to transmit voice over a packeted network.

When we launched Internet Telephony, we invited VocalTec co-founder and CTO Lior Haramaty to write a column in the publication - after all, no one knew more about the technology he helped invent than well, him!

Getting back to present-day Vocal-Tec, the company has merged with magicJack parent Ymax Corp. and recently raised its revenue guidance slightly and is looking to officially launch magicTalk - a PC-based service offering free US calling.

Back in August, TMC ran a piece on magicTalk and now the company says it has 100,000 beta users and 10,000 downloads per day. The magicTalk one-month Alexa rank is 386,430 up from 893,141 (lower numbers correspond to higher rank) and their Alexa chart is certainly improving as the chart below shows.



My two cents are it is tough to compete with Skype and Google in the VoIP space with a new offering but magicTalk has used television advertising to sell VoIP service in a way which turned an unknown company into a household name overnight. They used marketing well and although they have had some controversy surrounding them, I have always considered Ymax to be great promoters.

One of the past issues the company had was when they launched, they made some claims about their technology which were a bit over the top and many industry bloggers went ballistic in response. Moreover, the company has been called out about its inability to provide live voice service calls - but in reality if live support calls cost about $15 per interaction, how can you expect to get these bundled into service which costs about $40/year?

I reached out to the company for more information about what they're up to but they weren't immediately available for comment.















Back from Budapest

November 22, 2010

I just got back from Budapest, Hungary and it was a great trip and I met met lots of great people - many readers thankfully at the Dialogic Connections Conference. Jim Machi at Dialogic was nice enough to write up the conference and include me in his piece.

Apparently the fact I like to talk a lot makes people think I should be in politics  but strangely my wife says I don't talk enough - I'm still trying to figure that one out.

In terms of Budapest and travel there - here is what you need to know:

  • The weather seems similar to New England.
  • There are many gorgeous buildings, statues and castles worth seeing.
  • 99% of people speak English.
  • They are very friendly and many people asked me how I like their country and one person even asked me to bring my business there.
  • The food is good - I ate some sort of mountain animal - a sheep or goat or something called a mouflon which was great.
  • Be sure to go to a restaurant called Spoon - basically a floating establishment in a ship and Golden Dragon in the art district in Szentendre - an hour or so from Budapest by train.
  • There are lots of free and open WiFi APs everywhere and the 3G is pretty fast as well.
  • You can also get hot wine and cider all over the place and a bus tour is a must.
  • Unemployment is around 30% but it seems like a very safe place.
  • The currency is not part of the Euro - they use a Forint which is very inflated and a hotel stay at a top location can cost as low as $150. One dollar is worth over 200 Hungarian Forints BTW.
  • And no, I didn't see Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.

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Dialogic Connections 2010 Live Blog

November 17, 2010



I am in Budapest, Hungary today and am live blogging the Dialogic Connections event which is hosting a few hundred partners and customers from around the world. A bit of trivia before we get started - Brad Pitt may be staying in our hotel the Hotel Kempinski. One of the people at the event may have seen him last night but then again there may have been a few drinks involved - so don't hold me to this. Apparently Mr. Pitt is is in Budapest right now according to many of the delegates here who were quick to check Google to ensure he is really in the country.

I am speaking in about an hour and will be interviewing Dialogic execs Doug Sabella and Kevin Cook. Hopefully I will remember what they say so I can report on it later.



Made it to Budapest

November 16, 2010

How Can You Live Without Boingo?

November 16, 2010

Thick as Pea Soup

November 16, 2010

On my way to the Dialogic Connections 2010 event in Budapest, Hungary, I was delayed on my outbound flight and as a result missed my connection. American Airlines did an amazing job finding me on the way to the connecting flight and giving me tickets for a future flight - in case I didn't make the connection.

Sure enough there was no way to make the flight so I have been working here at Heathrow Airport for many hours and have gone through and cleaned up about 2,500 emails so far.

The picture gives you an idea of why my flight has been delayed - the fog is pretty thick and its times like this I'm very glad that RADAR was invented.





Mobile Device More Important than Underwear for Travelers

November 16, 2010

It isn’t often I start a product briefing with a Twitter feed – but when I spoke with Chuck Dietrich, CEO of SlideRocket we started out by looking at a live feed of Tweets describing how awful PowerPoint is. And while the idea isn’t new – after all, death by PowerPoint (Tweet stream) has been used for ages, many people who use the program often know there has to be a better way. And this is the exact area where SlideRocket focuses. But more on that later.

Budapest Bound: Delayed at the Gate

November 15, 2010

Heading to Dialogic Connections 2010

November 15, 2010

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Impresses

November 14, 2010

TMC’s Tom Keating reported the fact that Microsoft OCS will be called Lync going forward and the name is much more conducive as a Skype alternative as asking someone to Lync you sounds much better than asking them to OCS you. Tom and I recently went to Manhattan with a group of analysts and other media to get a demo of the system at Microsoft's Technology center and put it through its paces. We had a chance to see about a dozen or more machines with various endpoints and spent time listening to Jamie Stark the Senior Product Manager walk us through what this new release will do for customers.

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