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Nokia, Sun: Sales Down, Oracle Sells Hosted CRM, American Airlines Does Mobile Boarding Passes and Microsoft Offers Free Financing

November 14, 2008

Here are some of the news items which caught my eye recently with some commentary:

Nokia predicts the recession and a lack of credit will reduce cell phone sales. Nokia Siemens too says there will be a slowdown next year. The company further thinks the fourth quarter will see industry volumes fall by 20 million.

ScanSource Communications Presents Optimistic Outlook

November 11, 2008

The future of IP communications seems very bright according to Buck Baker the President of ScanSource Communications. I had a chance to speak with him, Mary Ellen Grom, Mike Ferney and Yvette McKenzie today and they seemed quite upbeat about their opportunities. Of special note is their distribution of Polycom products such as videoconferencing. This area of their business is doing well as it offsets reduced travel budgets.

ScanSource plays a vital role in the distribution of products and services, shipping thousands of boxes daily from a 600,000 square foot warehouse outside of Memphis, TN where they help resellers with cash flow and even financing.

President Obama And The Coming Tech Revolution

November 6, 2008

I will admit it is difficult to put the words tech and revolution together less than 24 hours after John Chambers cratered confidence in technology with a conference call which mentioned that the next quarter will likely see revenues 5-10% lower than the same quarter last year.

But as we get past this hopefully-temporary negative news, I believe we are getting ready for another technological leap where companies of all sizes begin to embrace technology like never before.

It may be useful to go backwards before we progress and in so doing let's stop in the late nineties when Al Gore mentioned the term information superhighway in a speech on TV. Almost immediately the tech markets were abuzz and I remember the next Internet World expo saw traffic increase exponentially.

You see, government has always had a huge influence over tech.

White Spaces + Google/Yahoo Break Up = Great News

November 6, 2008

There has been a tremendous amount of news worth analyzing as of late and perhaps two of the most important items of note are the FCC's approval of vacant TV white spaces for the use of broadband data devices. I cannot emphasize how important this news could be to consumers as it is yet another broadband choice. Sure there are lots of details to work out but I am optimistic that consumers will see more inexpensive wireless broadband as a result. This will be fantastic for the tech industry as evidenced by positive comments from Google, Dell and Microsoft.

SMBs Buy Better Communications To Combat Slowdown

October 31, 2008

 In an economic slowdown, companies need to focus now, more than ever on their communications solutions. Today's technologies can make your company more efficient, save you money directly on communications costs as well as travel and even real estate.

Recently I had a chance to speak with Praful Shah, VP of Strategy from RingCentral, a company providing hosted communications services and he told me the last four weeks have seen business increase dramatically.

In a reaction to this increase, RingCentral surveyed its customers and found some very interesting trends. The company framed the survey as how Main Street is reacting to Wall Street - with a specific focus on the SMB.

TMC Partners with Ex-VON Execs, Launches 4G Event

October 30, 2008

Today the TMC team announced a new venture in partnership with Carl Ford, Scott Kargman, Joann Varello and others from the former VON team who currently work for Crossfire Media. The partnership includes web sites and events and will focus on the fourth generation or 4G wireless space.

 It goes without saying that Carl and Scott are very well known for the strong relationships and community the built in the fledgling days of IP communications. We entered this partnership with Crossfire Media to leverage these relationships.

Selling Communications in a Recession

October 29, 2008

Thoughts from Jon Arnold and a discussion regarding Nortel, Avaya and Cisco

How do companies navigate a slower economy? Well, you first need to show strength to ensure your potential customers are not scared off. As Jon Arnold points out today, this is a challenge companies like Vonage have struggled with. You also need to provide ROI.

Digium/Asterisk World Has Nine Booths Already

October 23, 2008

With all the gloom and doom talk, I thought it might be worth sharing some really good news. I just got back into the office this morning after traveling for a few days and heard the great news that Digium Asterisk World already has nine companies participating in it.

As you know, this event is being collocated with ITEXPO February 2-4 in Miami, FL. My team tells me they have been calling companies for about two weeks regarding this event and I can tell you from experience, nine booths in two weeks in a new collocated event is quite an accomplishment and more importantly tells you how much interest there is for open-source communications in the world. Even in a very strong economy, you don't see such high levels of interest.

The ITEXPO team thinks this part of the show will sell out very quickly and with the premium space the pavilion enjoys, it is not a surprise to see such strong interest.

Back From Dialogic One

October 22, 2008

Strategy Change: Make Money

October 21, 2008

In my conversations with a number of CEOs of small tech and communications companies, one thing has become clear. The market for exiting businesses has become tougher. This is common sense and the added challenge is with today's stock market valuations, there are thousands of bargains out there. This just means the odds of a start-up or existing concern getting picked up at significant valuations has been considerably decreased.

There are a number of company heads who have recently come to the conclusion that while hoping for an acquisition by Google, Cisco and others they need to simultaneously work on getting customers.

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