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Rich Tehrani
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An Honest Critique of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer

May 26, 2011

For the last five years there have been calls for Steve Ballmer to step down from Microsoft and I have refrained from comment until today because a confluence of news and events has made commentary necessary. Specifically, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager – whose firm Greenlight Capital owns almost 9M shares of Microsoft, said (video) Ballmer is stuck in the past and is ruining Microsoft’s stock.

Technologist Vs. Businessperson: One compliant about Steve Ballmer is that he is more a businessperson than a technologist and as a result, new and innovative products have been developed much more slowly. This point is very tough to argue with and more importantly, what is Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft?

Skype For Asterisk to Shut Down

May 25, 2011

One of the more exciting announcements in the open communications space was when Digium inked a deal with Skype to allow the most popular open source communications server to work natively with the most popular Internet telephony software.

But yesterday Digium put out a note telling users that Skype for Asterisk will no longer be available after July 26th, 2011. Current users should be able to use it for a period of two years after that date.

The question worth asking is whether this announcement marks the end of Skype support for non-Microsoft platforms. As Erik Lagerway asks - will Skype Connect for various PBX vendors be next?

In the past I've have heard there were scaling issues with Skype for Asterisk so this move could be a result pruning products which didn't meet certain standards or requirements.

Obviously we will know more as time goes on but this move likely won't be welcomed by the legions of open-source fanboys out there. And Microsoft needs to be careful to not alienate the influencers in the market if it doesn't want to intentionally reduce the value of an acquisition which many say cost too much.

Update May 26, 2011

Skype sent me their official comment regarding Skype for Asterisk from Jennifer Caukin, spokeswoman for Skype.













Family Plans Coming to Verizon

May 23, 2011

It took about six months for carriers to respond to my suggestion - and many families will be happy they did.


Back in December I wrote about the need for carriers to offer group data plans - especially for families. Specifically I said:

But one wonders if carriers aren't doing themselves a long-term disservice by not coming up with some sort of group or family plan for devices. In this way they get consumers to ante up a bit more - let's say for example $10-$20/month per device for dedicated 3G.


Today, I noticed on TMCnet's sister information technology site (I am the CEO of global media company TMC) TechZone360 an article about how Verizon will offer family plans in the future.






VocalTec adds magicJack to Name

May 22, 2011

In Life and Internet Telephony, Timing is Everything

VocalTec will now become magicJack VocalTec Ltd. – a nod to the fact that most Americans see more magicJack ads than they do even McDonalds and name recognition for VocalTec is virtually zero – except for the handful of us in the VoIP space in the nineties.

The personal irony for me is that Microsoft NetMeeting was an Internet telephony software package which was given away for free by Redmond shortly after VocalTec announced a paid product. As a result, VocalTec had to refocus completely on hardware gateways and Microsoft became the leader in VoIP.

BlackBerry PlayBook First Thoughts

May 19, 2011

In my review of the BlackBerry PlayBook I must say I am impressed with the device - it is small - not too heavy, feels good in your hands and runs Flash like a champ. The back of the device is rubberized which holds the promise of increased durability and a large degree of scratch-resistance. TMCnet's Stefanie Mosca has more thoughts on the device and as a BlackBerry user it was certainly more functional for her. She also thinks it is an ideal device for traveling which is tough to disagree with - it likely even fits in most purses.

Is The Mobile Market Beyond Intel's Reach?

May 18, 2011

A few weeks back Intel made news announcing its 3D transistors being commercialized. This new Tri-Gate technology can enable increased computing power at reduced energy levels. We all know that this sort of breakthrough is crucial in mobile computing and even general electronics can benefit from increased performance at lower power draws. Think about the benefit of such technology in data centers for example.

Over the years, specialized processors have had to compete with Intel's CPUs which gave so much more computing power per dollar.

Avaya SMB Event Features Cake Boss

May 17, 2011

Avaya Press and Analyst SMB Live Blog.



At an Avaya Event here in New York City, the company is set to detail its plans to migrate Nortel users to Avaya's IP Office 7.0. According to Isabelle Guis (pictured) General Manager of of the SME Communications Business Unit, the company now has 30 million users - 14M of those came from Nortel and there are 7 million total IP Office users - with 200k systems being sold last quarter.


Here are some shots of the event so far.




10:00 am EST Kick Off

Announcer addresses audience from TV via video Small business make is vital to Avaya.

Dr. Alan Baratz
takes the stage. He transitions to a video of happy customers "Thinking Big."



IP Office was designed for small to medium businesses and can scale to 1,000 users. 60% YoY growth - almost 150% QoQ growth in sub-20 end of market.


















Tehrani Stuck on Train

May 17, 2011

Should Carriers Charge Less for Pipes to Get More For Services?

May 17, 2011

Interop 2011 Day One Wrap Up

May 11, 2011

Day one of Interop has been great so far – I had video and written interviews with a number of companies such as Juniper Networks, Siemens, Brocade, ShoreTel, Navisite, Broadcom and Cisco. The videos will be posted soon – I will alert you when they are up or just go to our video page and click on the forthcoming Interop 2011 tab.

One point which came up repeatedly in my meetings is the micromanaging of budgets by CEOs – not just in small companies but some really big ones. It seems CXOs are scrutinizing new spending like at no time I have ever seen.

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