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Rich Tehrani
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Nortel

Chinese Nortel Hack Unconfirmed by my Sources

February 15, 2012

Although reports have been swirling regarding Chinese hackers breaking into Nortel's computers for over ten years in order to steal trade secrets, I have been unable to confirm such a breach took place. I have tapped into a few high-level sources and they were unaware of anything like this happening - the internal Nortel employees would almost certainly need to know if such an attack was taking place.

After all, reports say that even Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski had a computer which was compromised.

One of the reasons Nortel went bankrupt had to do with Chinese competitors Huawei and ZTE undercutting Nortel on price for carrier wireless and other products. So it easy to understand why many would easily believe that Nortel had been hacked.

And hacks from China are not unusual - they have happened to numerous US companies and even government agencies.

But again, would you not let your company workers know if this was the case?

Siobhan Gorman has a story in the Wall Street Journal on what happened at Nortel and it seems there is enough information to make you believe the hack was real. But still, I remain skeptical that the breach if it happened was on such a massive scale.









ITEXPO East 2012 Miami Out of Office Message

January 24, 2012

While I digest the super-strong, mind-numbing Apple growth numbers which propelled the stock to a high of $460 per share after hours I have just set my out of office message for next week when I will be at ITEXPO. The message is below in case you want to use something similar. And for your convenience here is the first show daily from the event – which covers news from Sprint, AT&T, Whitespace Alliance, Panasonic, Accedian Networks, Cycle30, FaxSIPit, Phone.com and Polar Media.

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New Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin Cloud Contact Center Trial Portal

October 17, 2011

Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58% while orders increased a whopping 146% during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26% of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011. Company CMO Joe Staples said the following to me in a meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift towards the cloud.” He continued, “It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”

As a refresher – the company started selling a hosted solution in 2005 but relaunched its cloud-based communications as a service or CaaS solution in 2009.

Latest Trends in Speech Technology, CRM, IVR, Collaboration and Cloud Computing

August 14, 2011

Speech analytics in greater demand

At the recent SpeechTek 2011 conference in New York I gained some great insight into the state of speech technology. For example, Jeff Schlueter of Nexidia told me his company’s speech analytics solutions have been in greater demand in this current economy as the desire to control costs has led to increased adoption of speech analytics. In addition, the company has released version 9.0 of its Enterprise Speech Intelligence product suite which cuts the TCO in half and allowing for customers to handle even larger amounts of data.

Will AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Slow Wireless Innovation?

July 25, 2011

AT&T has done an incredible job of getting special interest group after group to endorse its merger with T-Mobile, saying it will provide better broadband access for minorities, rural subscribers and just about any group of people you can think of. The broader gay community too has endorsed the merger - apparently transgender-Americans have been hoping for the day when there was one less GSM provider to choose from.

Here is how the system works - AT&T has hundreds of thousands of workers and inevitably large numbers of them in myriad groups. This in turn coupled with large contributions to various organizations and associations is rewarded with the reciprocal endorsing of anything AT&T requests.

To help grease the wheels even further, AT&T has further upped its lobbying budget by 58% according to PC Magazine.

AT&T is doing the smart thing by getting rid of its sole GSM provider allowing it better negotiating leverage in its roaming agreements with foreign carriers and gaining the ability to raise rates with one less major competitor to depress market pricing. It will also gain more leverage when negotiating with hardware and software companies.

An anti-merger video by the Free Press Action Fund



If the US government blocks the deal it will be because the remaining major companies AT&T and Verizon will have so much share that they are effectively a duopoly at about 80% - allowing them to raise prices at will.

Again, if you are an AT&T or Verizon shareholder, you likely want this merger to happen and AT&T is serving its short-term  shareholders well by seeking this transaction.

But the challenge I see is that with one less major telecom carrier in the US it becomes that much more difficult for innovative start-ups to launch, get funding and hold their breath long enough for a carrier to buy from them.















TMC Dallas Video Interviews 2011

July 25, 2011

Recently I spent some time in Dallas doing video interviews with companies in the Dallas, Texas area and during the course of the discussions I was able to get a sense of where the markets have been and are going. The vast range of different opinions really comes together into a few themes.

They are simply that wages and turnover rates in India are skyrocketing meaning some jobs may be headed back to the US. This is offset by an interview with  King White of the Site Selection Group - an organization which helps companies decide which countries and states they should locate in. He tells us that states with higher taxes are less attractive and subsequently deter companies from opening there.

Are you using Lync or USING Lync?

July 18, 2011

Thought leader and noted UC analyst Blair Pleasant is skeptical that 70% of the Fortune 500 are implementing and using Lync. But Steve Ballmer tells us that 70% are on Lync. As we all know, there is a difference between using something and really USING it. Especially when you consider how many workers a typical Fortune-class company has - does a few people per 100,000 constitute real use? We need more accurate usage numbers to back up his claim.

The interesting thing is you can likely argue that almost all companions use Skype in some capacity - and as it merges with Lync - you could say virtually all companies of any size use Lync. I wonder what Blair will have to say about that.



PSTN Death is Near

July 7, 2011

I vividly remember driving my car in 1999 – two years after the company where I am CEO, TMC decided to launch Internet Telephony Magazine and thinking VoIP was going to change the way communications works and eventually kill the PSTN. It seemed to me that within five years most of the world would make the transition as the cost disparity at the time was quite large between the PSTN and VoIP connections. Moreover, there were a myriad of free calling services using VoIP such as Dialpad which were ad supported, putting even more pressure on traditional telecom networks.

Within a few years the dotcom and telecom bubbles burst (we collectively said goodbye (details) to Dialpad and its competitors) and the cost for using the PSTN dropped substantially in order to better compete with IP communications alternatives.

Avaya's Support Strategy Emulates Successful Cancer Diagnostic Systems

June 23, 2011

It is an unusual occurrence for me to receive a call from any company to discuss their support. Generally the media gets all warm and fuzzy about tangible things like new product launches – scoops and items you can put in the category of breaking news. Ironically though if you ask most companies what differentiates them from the pack, service and support is typically the most common answer. Yet, I can’t remember other companies asking me to meet their new head of global services.

Now You Need to be a Lawyer to Understand Tech?

June 23, 2011


It seemed to start off slowly but now the trend is gaining momentum - lawsuits over patents in tech are everywhere and its tough to make decisions which are best for your company when you aren't sure if the products and services you are purchasing are infringing on the patents of others.

I must say that when the number of stories of tech patents gets to the dizzying level we are seeing today, it isn't good for anyone. Well except lawyers of course. Sure it is great to protect peoples' inventions but at the same time there are some very silly patents out there which are being used to "extort" money out of companies who have successfully put together a suite of products and services consumers want.

Solving the problem is beyond the scope of this entry but to get an idea of what set me off take a look at some recent stories in the patent space:






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