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LNP Still a Problem After 7 Years

August 4, 2011

Years back I had problems with number porting to a VoIP provider and now - seven years later the problem still exists as evidenced by TMC's Tom Keating who recently tried to and couldn't port his number to a VoIP carrier.

Interestingly I recently got to know an LNP specialist at a SIP trunking provider who was telling me about LNP horror stories. Certain carriers in rural areas just didn't have to port. I couldn't get anyone from the provider to go on record so I never wrote about the situation.

Here is my article from 2004 complaining about LNP, one from Tom Keating in 2006 and here is Tom's latest story about the trouble he just had with a number port.



Marketing Goes Almost Painfully Local

August 2, 2011

Pay attention, you might just overhear something

One of the most memorable business stories I hav e heard was when a consultant friend of mine flew to a large customer to quote on a substantial project. He was traveling with his business partner and happened upon a shuttle bus to the rental car company with his competitor and a partner. None of these consultants had ever met but my friend and his partner had the luck to keep quiet as he overheard the other two people on the shuttle bus finalizing their pitch and setting the price for the project.

Skype for iPad is Baaack

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad is here!

It was much-anticipated, released, then pulled, then re-released and it works great. The company said there were problems with it causing them to pull and then release it a few hours later. (Update) TMC's Erik Linask thinks the problem is related to chat bug. There isn't much to say except it has better quality than the iPod/iPhone version but the front-facing iPad camera is certainly a major limiting factor in the quality of the video calls you will experience.



An additional feature beyond what you can do on the iPhone is the ability to chat while conducting a video call.





Why Windstream Bought PAETEC

August 1, 2011

Broadband and communications provider Windstream Corp just agreed to purchase communications conglomerate PAETEC for $2.3 billion in order to add scale and drive growth. PAETEC is an interesting company as it not only provides broadband and IP communications services; it also has data center services, is a large telecom reseller/interconnect, provider of telecom expense management (TEM) solutions and more.

Earlier this year I reported that PAETEC CEO Arunis Chesonis was looking for potential acquisition targets in India and elsewhere and in fact the company did just pick up XETA Technologies to boost its cloud-based service offerings. Interestingly his own company may have been in play while PAETEC itself was exploring more acquisition targets.

Living in a Post-OS World

July 28, 2011



Two of the major drawbacks to a perfect cloud-based existence where the browser serves all your needs are speed of remote apps/services and UI flexibility. It just so happens, two news items have coalesced recently to help usher in the post-OS world. You see, while the tech pundits debate the idea of a post-PC world, companies like Google are going a step further and hoping to get rid of the operating system on the tablet, PC, smartphone and just about any other computing device you use.

HTML5 is one of the primary drivers of the flexible new UI allowing truly customizable media to be shown to users.



iOS Allows Apple to Correct Microsoft "Mistake"

July 27, 2011

If you look back at the early days of Apple, Microsoft has been a major supplier to Cupertino's customers virtually from day one. Even today, Microsoft is the go to software provider for not only Macs but PCs. So whichever platform you choose, Microsoft wins.

Microsoft Exchange too is a sales monster and it licenses ActiveSync to mobile companies who want to connect to it effectively.

Microsoft's operating income by division - Office and business software is a major contributor. Chart courtesy of Silicon Alley Insider

 

This overwhelming dominance however has changed drastically in the world of iOS - and if the momentum of Apple continues, what will become of Microsoft's Office business?

Writing on TMC's TechZone360 site, Rob Enderle asserts that Apple is correcting its "Microsoft Mistake" from its early days and its iWork productivity suite effectively shields Apple from having to rely on Microsoft for anything. From my perspective, ActiveSync is the only exception.

And if you're Microsoft and you have a chance of losing major OS share over time - this is happening now, you need to be sure you have software for major tablets which is so superior that customers have to have it.











French Web Precursor Minitel to Shut Down

July 27, 2011

France Telecom is shutting down Minitel - the precursor to the web - a service which provides information services to the carrier's customers. In less than a year, the service will be shuttered despite recently having about 10 million subscribers.

Like so many ideas which are good - a newer technology can come along and make even a well-liked service obsolete. Even though Minitel had a super-long run in tech years - 30 years, it reminds us that no matter how long you have been around - you can be wiped out when a newer and better technology comes along. In this case that new tech is broadband, the web and cheap computers.

One wonders however if France Telecom had focused on improving Minitel and broadening its reach so other global carriers could leverage it - would today's Internet be dominated by France-based instead of US based companies?

I guess we will never know.

TMC's Peter Bernstein has more.







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.

Sonos Adds PLAY:3, Lowers Price

July 20, 2011

As a happy Sonos customer, I was delighted to learn the company has added more content (Spotify to be specific) to its system and also added a new music player and lowered its price on the SONOS BRIDGE, a wireless device you can connect to your Ethernet port to enable wireless high fidelity music to be streamed throughout your home. The price has dropped from $99 to $49 on this device.

Moreover, the newly announced PLAY:3 is a $299, 3-speaker, 3-digital amp music player. It can be used in a monaural or stereophonic configuration.

The ZonePlayer S5 has been renamed the PLAY:5 and provides stereo playback in a compact unit.

At first look, the PLAY:3 is a great addition to the SONOS family as it allows a low-cost entry into wireless music playing but I am wondering if $600 for two of these isn't a bit steep. Still, I have to hear it and compare it to the S5 to give a more informed opinion.

Until then, the company has produced a well-designed video which will show you how the system works and how the new PLAY:3 integrates with it.













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