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Security

Skype Developer Program Change

December 7, 2007

Andy Abramson reports that Paul Amery (interview) is no longer the Director of Developer Programming at Skype. I liked Paul a great deal and he had tremendous passion and enthusiasm for his work at Skype.   You may remember Amery was a keynoter at a past TMC event so I subsequently had the opportunity to spend a good deal of time with him.   I am not sure what the reason for this departure is but perhaps it was just time. Here is the statement the company put out:  
Change has always been a constant at Skype and will continue to be. We will keep re-shaping our business to take advantage of the immediate and short-term opportunities in front of us.

Consumer Gadgets Eclipse Business Phones

December 1, 2007

The maddening division between consumer and business mobile devices continues to grow and as the trend picks up steam it is apparent consumers are the winners and businesspeople suffer. This is not to say the problem isn’t in some ways necessary.   Case in point was the amount of time it took for Research in Motion to put cameras on their Blackberrys. Many corporate customers actually didn’t want cameras on phones it purchased and this is the reason many of these e-mail workhorses seemed so featureless for so long.   This weekend however it really hit me. Consumers are getting unbelievable products and businesspeople are left wondering why our devices are so boring and devoid of features.

The Second Sprint Merger That Wasn’t

November 30, 2007

Android Sans SIP and IMS

November 28, 2007

Latest Skype Problems

November 26, 2007

The Latest VoIP Security Threat

November 24, 2007

For years I have been covering VoIP security and throughout this time it has been a one-sided conversation as there have been few documented cases of VOIP security attacks. Companies are generally not too happy to discuss VoIP security breaches so this news shouldn’t be very surprising to anyone.   In the absence of news regarding companies who have had voice or video conversations compromised, vendors in the VoIP security market have been proactive. Some such as Sipera have revealed vulnerabilities of existing equipment and more recently one person has even released a proof-of concept program named SIPtap with the goal of showing how easy it is -- once a program is slipped onto a corporate computer via a Trojan horse or some other means, to record enterprise VoIP calls as WAV files for later analysis.   The person behind this proof of concept program is Peter Cox who co-founded and was CTO of BorderWare, a company in the VoIP security and session border control space. I first wrote about the company in August, 2005 in a blog entry titled Secure VoIP and I covered them more recently in an entry titled Borderware's SBC Strategy.   Cox left BorderWare and has his own VoIP Consultancy which will be up and running in 2008 according to PC World.   The issue of protecting VoIP calls is likely something corporate decision-makers gloss over all too often and just because companies are not reporting more security incidents, does not mean they aren’t happening.   In the end, if you are responsible for the IP communications infrastructure of your company you need to be 100% up to date on the latest solutions on the market.   For this reason it is essential you study the problem as thoroughly as time allows and network with others in the space.   One way to do this is to attend TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami, January 23-25, 2008 where there is a session titled Security Challenges in the Enterprise, which takes place Wednesday – January 23, 2008, 1:30-2:15pm EST.   As more and more crucial information gets carried over internet protocol networks, the incentive to eavesdrop on these conversations will grow dramatically.

Re-Kindle

November 21, 2007

I may have really screwed this prediction up. You remember yesterday when I said nobody wants the Kindle, the e-book reader from Amazon. Well apparently Amazon has announced today that they sold out of the units in stock. Normally this would mean I am way off with my prediction from about 24 hours earlier.

COTS to the Service Provider Rescue

November 20, 2007

There was a time when service providers had to purchase massively expensive proprietary equipment in order to deploy telephone service. Class 4 and 5 switches required enormous investment and could be justified as this equipment would be depreciated over many years in a well-known and slow-moving competitive environment.   Then along came VoIP and the market shifted into high gear. All of a sudden customers wanted more services and they wanted to spend less money for it all. Competition seemed to come from every direction with crazy “woohoo” ads from companies like Vonage and more sober ads from the cable companies.   Even worse, the wireless companies began to take share making it that much more difficult to pay for the massive iron sitting in central offices worldwide.   Just before VoIP became popular, new architectures such as CompactPCI and later Advanced TCA emerged allowing service providers to benefit from technologies being popularized in the enterprise and consumer markets.   As voice becomes a cheaper and cheaper commodity, service providers must look for other services to replace lost revenue.

Google in Wireless

November 16, 2007

More discussions regarding Google getting into the wireless game were sparked today by a Wall Street Journal article focusing on Google’s wireless ambitions.   In summary:  
  • Google will likely bid on the 700 MHz spectrum or lose good will in Washington
  • The company’s bid will be $4.6 billion or more.
  • Google has a test FCC license and has cell towers at its campus which it uses with Android-based phones.
  • The company has been in semi-serious discussions with Clearwire regarding building out a WiMAX network.
  • Google has invested in femtocell maker Ubiquisys
  • Everyone and their brother is on record explaining how difficult it is to build a wireless network.
  • Wall Street is enthusiastic about lending money to Google to bid at the auction
  • Google will think about bringing in partners after the auction is over and it sees what happens.
  • The company has brought on game theory experts to help it in the bidding process.
  There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the rumors of Google acquiring Sprint with many thinking the idea is farfetched. It would seem however that since Google is working on its own wireless network, they are very serious about getting into the wireless space.   As we discussed in my recent post on the matter, Google likes to build everything itself from scratch. This is just the way the company operates. However if you are going to go into the wireless business it will take years to put towers around the US and then the world.   Think about the layers of negotiation which need to take place… City by city… Neighborhood by neighborhood -- the company has to place base stations with antennas on tall buildings, water towers and hilltops as far as the eye can see.   Sure this can be done, but it will take such a long time… Let’s say five years to cover the U.S.

How Network Neutrality Solves the Cable Competition Problem

November 10, 2007

It is obvious to me the cable companies are getting the short end of the FCC stick. In fact I am not sure the FCC will be giving any sort of stick to the cable companies this Christmas. Even the lump of coal Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Comcast were expecting may not be in the stocking – don’t they know how bad coal is for the environment?  

The cable companies are in deep trouble because FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has decided to regulate cable and in so doing ensure there is more competition. They will for example make sure access to spare channels by other content providers is done at a reasonable cost.

  There is an arcane law on the books called the 70/70 rule which is being used as the basis for the FCC to get involved in regulating this market.   The rule says that if 70% of households in the US have cable access and 70% of those that do use cable, the agency can step in and regulate it.   This is great for consumers in my opinion but is also coming at a time which is incomprehensible to me.   If you want true cable competition, it seems to make more sense to ensure network neutrality is enforced.
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