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Rich Tehrani
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Is Vonage the New Google

April 12, 2007

Now hear me out. I realize the title of my article is baffling and your brain is already calculating all the different ways you will flame this piece with negative comments.   You may be thinking of all the differences between these two companies. For example: Google makes money and Vonage does not. Google can easily afford the lawsuits it is in.

Crippled Mobile Phones

April 12, 2007

I have written in the past that the iPhone could be responsible for opening up the cell phone world by forcing carriers to give use better devices. Moreover it was my hope that cell phone carriers would see the light as Apple’s newest mobile phone would prove that by not unduly crippling a device you could sell even more of them and even more service as a result.   It seems sadly that my vision if it happens will be in the long term as Andy Abramson points out today that European carriers seem to be following the lead of the Americans by beginning to not quite cripple phones but at least make them less useful and less VoIP friendly.   I for one am not surprised by this but it is always a sad day when consumers loses out on the benefits of being able to communicate in the way they find most suitable. Instead, wireless carriers seem to be convinced they know what’s best for all.   Of course these carriers do make money from selling minutes. In addition, carriers in the US are pretty smart in subsidizing phones with less functionality and thus ensuring they boost minutes used.   When Verizon sold devices with crippled bluetooth they received a class action suit as a result.

Webinar Update

April 12, 2007

TMC’s marketing team is apparently very generous as I found out today they are giving away a TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner 80-hour DVR in a drawing to one lucky webinar attendee.   I would be remiss in my responsibility if I did not bring to your attention that you could be the lucky winner of this device. Personally I don’t have TiVo in my house (yet) as I am under the impression TiVo users watch more TV and I watch quite a bit already.   Enjoy the webinars and good luck in the drawing.     IP Media Servers and IMS: Key Enablers for Voicemail and Unified Messaging   April 19, 2007 2:00pm ET 11:00am PT   ---------   Securely Enabling VoIP Remote Users   May 1, 2007 2:00pm ET 11:00am PT   ---------   Also be sure to check out the webinar page for archived events and an upcoming schedule.

Vonage to Focus on Profit

April 12, 2007

Jeffrey Citron will replace Michael Schneider as CEO of Vonage. It seems Wall Street is happy with this move as the stock price has increased somewhat on this news.   In addition the company has instituted a hiring freeze and layoffs of 180 workers or about 10% of the workforce according to CNBC.   Vonage also says they are just shy of the 3 million customer milestone which is a fantastic achievement.   Having Citron back is CEO is great news for the company as he is responsible for building Vonage into the strong brand it is today. Unfortunately blame can be placed on him for building a market-share at all cost company.   Hopefully the layoffs could be a sign that Citron is serious about achieving profitability. Jeffrey has got to focus on profit now more than ever if he wants to gain Wall Street’s blessing and get the stock price to start moving in the positive direction.

Entertainment Wars

April 11, 2007

Movie review site Fandango was snapped up today by cable company Comcast with the ultimate goal for Comcast being increased web traffic and support for a new site Fancast.com devoted to allowing consumers to watch on demand content on a variety of devices.   Comcast is the nation’s largest cable company and Fandango is one of the largest movie sites around. There is a natural synergy between Fandango’s base of movie enthusiasts and Comcast’s goals to allow users to watch on demand content across a variety of devices.   The question worth asking is what other acquisition ideas have been created as a result of this one. Will other cable companies, AT&T and Verizon be looking for movie content sites as well? Does everyone who distributes content now need a TV Guide like audience to market to?   Fandango has a community of interest and Comcast will now be able to tap into this community to sell things – beyond its geographic boundary if it so chooses.   It seems companies are waking up to the concept of online communities and their inherent value.

Skype for Mac Improved

April 11, 2007

Skype for Mac has a new beta version 2.6 available here and it’s brimming with new features. In addition you can expect improved sound quality and software stability according to the company. There is a nifty new call transfer feature allowing you to send a call to someone else. This is something you had to use an office PBX for and this is an unexpected bonus for Mac users.   The concept of having software come out for the Mac first used to be something we saw in the desktop publishing world all the time in the late eighties and early nineties.

Vanu

April 11, 2007

Software defined radio (SDR) systems are somewhat of a holy grail in technology as they use software to shift frequencies and modulation schemes while utilizing multipurpose underlying hardware. In a perfect world you could use software defined radio technology to receive cellular calls, WiFi, bluetooth, GPS, AM/FM, Sirius, XM, HDTV, etc.   Imagine if your smartphone used all the communications modes above with need for just a single processor – wouldn’t that just be amazing? Of course this will likely be possible some day but for now there are hardware components which handle each of the above functions.

The FMC Border Architecture

April 9, 2007

In 1999 I had an interesting discussion at a Lucent Technologies luncheon with Arun Netravali who then headed up Bell Labs for Lucent Technology. Netravali spoke of the future of communications being an all encompassing communications skin which would have all sorts of devices connected to it.   The idea made sense and wasn’t such a logical leap but at the time it was something that wasn’t really happening. Networks did not interoperate so well with one another. Arun predicted this would happen at around 2025 or so.   Although the concept seemed a bit far off, I decided to write about it in the January and February 2000 issues of Communications Solutions Magazine.   Here we are in 2007 and it seems like to concept of a communications skin is farther away and closer than it ever has been before.

Cantata Gets New CEO

April 6, 2007

You may have seen the news about Cantata hiring a new CEO and could possibly be wondering why they would do such a thing. After all, Mark Zionts was involved in building Cantata into the company it is today with the combination of Brooktrout and Excel.   This is the story based on my conversation with Peter Vescuso the VP of Marketing at Cantata. It seems that Mark is acknowledged as the talented entrepreneur that took the company to where it is today. The goal now is to take Cantata to the next level.   The new CEO is Tim Murray and Tim is an AT&T veteran having worked as Executive Vice President and President of various divisions of the Telecom giant.

Unified Communications Magazine

April 6, 2007

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