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Rich Tehrani
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Microsoft

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.



Mitel Presence Tour

February 15, 2007

Today I will be flying to California to speak tomorrow at a conference hosted by Mitel. The name of the tour – I kid you not is the Presence Tour 2007. I will be discussing Unified Communications among other topics.   Here is all the info you need to know.   It will take place tomorrow in Costa Mesa at the Westin South Coast Plaza. I will be a speaker and am apparently substituting for Sir Terry Matthews – which is a great honor.

iPhone, AT&T U-verse, Blackberry and Hosted Communications

February 14, 2007

Edgar Bronfman Jr. a record company exec speaking at CTIA is right on when he says the interface on cell phones can use drastic improvement. On average, Bronfman said, it can take a person 20 clicks to buy a ringtone, depending on the carrier network the consumer is using. He also complained about the fact that ringtones, full-track songs, music videos and album art are all sold in separate virtual stores.   I believe Apple has and will continue to change the mobile phone industry and if the industry doesn’t get its act together soon, Apple will steamroll it. Somehow Apple does everything design-wise better than any other company.

TMCnet Mobile

February 2, 2007

If you are looking for the best communications and technology news on the go be sure to check out TMCnet Mobile which will display very well on most mobile devices. The service is in alpha at the moment but seems pretty stable based on my brief experience.   Any web browser can see this page by the way. Check it out now if you like.   One thing it does that I consider great about this new service but others may not like is that it allows you access to parts of TMCnet that are formatted for the mobile device.   In other words if a link exists in an article that is not formatted for the mobile device you can still get there. This is great depending ion your web device.   What is very frustrating to me about other sites is that when you click on a link in an article that is not formatted for a mobile device you get redirected to a page that is a mobile home page.

Vista Analog Hole

February 2, 2007

George Ou over at ZDNet a past speaker at ITEXPO has some great analysis of a Vista security hole that is basically a backdoor left open by the new operating system’s ability to recognize spoken commands. Microsoft is downplaying the need to worry about this flaw but Ou thinks the company should make some changes to make the OS safer.   Although a hacker would have to be sophisticated to exploit this hole there does seem to be a real possibility that a hacker could take control of your computer by using this exploit. If you happen to hear sound coming out of your computer – something similar to a voice speaking – you may just have a problem.   For more check out George’s great article.

IMS: Are We There Yet?

February 2, 2007

Here is my unedited Publisher’s Outlook for IMS Magazine for February 2007.

I start this column thinking about the most recent TMC IMS Expo last week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The takeaway for me from this event is that the market is somewhat confused about IMS.   Still, I can’t help but wonder if history is repeating itself. After all when I launched Internet Telephony Magazine – the sister publication to IMS Magazine, many service providers did not take the technology seriously.   Service providers first universally dismissed VoIP and then started to experiment with it when carrying their backhaul traffic. One would imagine the cable companies would have jumped all over VoIP quickly but they just didn’t.   There was early euphoria for IP telephony in 1998-2000 but from 2001-2003 virtually all service providers dismissed VoIP as something just not viable or worth discussing.

The Real Unified Communications Relationship between Microsoft and Nortel

February 2, 2007

The Real Unified Communications Relationship between Microsoft and Nortel   With all the IP communications industry focus on ITEXPO last week it was difficult to get a chance to share my thoughts on happenings from the prior week – especially between Nortel and Microsoft.   I really had a great time in New York listening to Steve Ballmer the CEO of Microsoft and Mike Zafirovski the CEO of Nortel talk about their collaborative Unified Communications strategy. What you may not know because you weren’t at the press conference is just how passionate Steve Ballmer is about communications. He is serious about our market and this could be a very good thing.   When I asked Steve about educating the market about Unified communications he got animated and his eyes lit up. He said, “When you show people this stuff, they get it.

ITEXPO Photos and More

January 30, 2007

Here is Ari Zoldan from Launch 3 based in Garfield, NJ. His company is in the investment business - they invest in communications companies worldwide.   On this day he walked away with a great education as well as a new SUV. Wow – now that’s a show.   About 30 minutes later when I accidentally saw him on the road he seemed elated. I think the shock wore off and it turned to happiness.       Note to self.

Spirit DSP in 2007

January 23, 2007

Spirit DSP recently announced an enviable portfolio of customers for the 2007 year. They include Adobe, Agere, ARM, Atmel, Compal, Flextronics, Ericsson, HP, HTC, Interwise, Kyocera, LG, Marconi, MediaRing, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, NEC, Nortel Networks, Oracle, Paltalk, Panasonic, Philips Semiconductor, Plustek, Polycom, Quanta, Radvision, Samsung, Siemens, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and Trinity Convergence.   The company provides embedded voice, video and conferencing engines typically taking advantage of VoIP/IP communications. I thought the roster of clients interesting as it is a cross section of communications and computing companies.

Microsoft and Nortel Stop the Messaging Madness

January 17, 2007

The average employee gets more than 50 messages every day on up to seven devices and today Microsoft and Nortel came together under the banner of the Innovative Communications Alliance to announce to the world that new software will help us manage the deluge of messages across devices, media modes and technologies. According to the companies the goal is to use a single identity across phones, PCs and other devices.   The announcement took place with an energetic Steve Ballmer the CEO of Microsoft and Mike Zafirovsky CEO of Nortel. After an hour spent waiting in line and going through rigorous security, customers, analysts and the press were ushered into studio 8H in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. While waiting, the energetic crowd was treated to breakfast accompanied by a range of new wave classics from Depeche Mode to the Smiths.   Steve Ballmer explained that Microsoft and Nortel have both been in the communications business.
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