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Star Wars Everywhere

December 11, 2007


Should we be alarmed with the amount of Star Wars content on Tom Keating’s blog? I am not sure. As a huge fan of the Star Wars trilogy (quadrilogy?, quintilogy?, sextilogy?) movies I guess I am OK with it but what happened all of a sudden? Did George Lucas realize the price of jet and yacht fuel has just tripled and subsequently started licensing like crazy?   Here is Tom’s most recent post – an R2-D2 DLP video projector and here is an R2-D2 phone that Tom beat me to writing about.   Here is a Philips VoIP phone that I am sure Darth Vader would have used.

VoIP Inc. Gets Co-CTOs

December 10, 2007

Recently I wrote about Shawn Lewis leaving VoIP Inc. and a result I received a number of e-mails asking how the company can continue operations without Lewis. Today the company has responded to the departure of Lewis with the appointment of Arthur L. McCabe and Kevin Behanna as Co-Chief Technology Officers.   Investors have been asking me in-depth questions about the company but I haven’t had enough communication with them in the past few years to give any worthwhile thoughts.   In addition, I haven’t studied the company’s financials but I can tell you that VoIP Inc. has been extremely quiet for many months and the stock did much better when they were putting out more frequent positive news and engaging the media.   Finally, the company has recently dropped its contract with its current PR firm. We will see what the next moves are for VoIP Inc. I will certainly keep you posted.

It’s Google Vs. the Carriers

December 8, 2007

This past week at the VPF Winter event in Manhattan on a panel dedicated to the intersection of the internet, media and telecom I made the prediction that the company with the biggest advertising network will win the media and telecom war. My comments went unchallenged for a while the audience asked questions relating to fiber capacity and the like. Thankfully, Hunter Newby was sitting to my left and the rest of my esteemed panelists handled optical questions while I wondered silently why no one said anything about comments. Did the whole room agree with my thoughts I wondered?   And then suddenly, someone in the audience asked if anyone wanted to challenge my assumptions and then all hell broke loose as questions started to pour in regarding Google’s ability to be a serious telecom threat.   Here are some points made by both sides:  
  • Google is giving away many services for free and they are ad supported.
  • Many of these services don’t make money.
  • How can Google be a threat to telecom if none of their new services seem to be successful?
  • It doesn’t matter because the mere threat of Google in many industries is enough to make VCs wet themselves and scamper away like hurt children.

CompUSA to Close

December 8, 2007

In the neighborhood near TMC, three stores have recently been wiped away in the past years. The first to go was the hardware store which could not compete against Home Depot. The next was the photo development store because of ofoto and Walmart. The most recent was CompUsa because – well a number of reasons.

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.

JetBlue WiFi

December 6, 2007

Although I am disappointed by JetBlue’s decision to allow e-mail access only via a Yahoo! account and a Blackberry device (update: the service will also work with laptops) I am extremely happy to hear that at least e-mail will now be available while in-flight. And best of all, this service will be free!   Many executives have told me they don’t want e-mail access on United States flights because the plane is the last place where you can officially be offline and no one will fault you for it.   I always took the opposite side of this argument.   I must admit however that the airplane is where I write many of my articles and blogs. It looks like I will have to find a new quiet place in which to concentrate on writing.   Then again, unless the Blackberry 9000 is as good as I hope I may not be switching to a RIM device anyway… So I don’t need to worry about any of this.

Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 Kicks Off

December 5, 2007

At the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 conference the attendance is very good which indicates tremendous interest in this burgeoning market. So far it seems clear that Stealth Communications, the company behind this event has yet another successful conference under its belt.   Perhaps the best indication of how this market has evolved is the fact I am sitting in a session on wholesale VoIP meaning the Voice Peering Forum is not just about peering but has evolved to the point where it focuses on more general service provider topics – not just peering.   The session really focuses on international long distance growth and is being chaired by Stephen Beckert, Research Director at TeleGeography Research is speaking. Here are some of the session points worth noting:  
  • Aggregate wholesale revenues are growing 2-3% annually while traffic is growing 20-30%.
  • The impact on carriers net is not as bad as on gross.

Off to the Voice Peering Forum New York

December 4, 2007

Tomorrow I am off to the Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007 hosted by Stealth Communications. Shrihari Pandit the VPF Founder asked me to help with some video reporting which is always very exciting. If you know Hunter Newby from Telx, you know Hunter has been evangelizing video interviews for at least a year. So tomorrow I get the privilege of being a reporter and instead of the printed word I will be dealing with the video frame.   When you get used to dealing with words all day your mind seems to know that when you interview you can go back and modify things later.

Certified WiFi Telephony

December 4, 2007

Good news for those vendors looking for 3rd-party certification of their WiFi solutions as well as companies and consumers looking for the authentic “WiFi telephony” seal so glaringly absent from the marketplace today.   Russell Shaw’s blog discusses how the WiFi Alliance has established a Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice Personal Initiative and discusses how you can get involved.   Why would such a seal make sense you ask? Well, not only does WiFi telephony have all the inherent challenges associated with packetized voice such as having to deal with bandwidth issues, latency and jitter… It has to deal with wireless issues as well. Examples include seamless hand-off of calls between base stations and eventually seamless hand-offs between base stations and cellular, WiMax and who knows what other sorts of wireless standards.   This new initiative should be very good for the WiFi telephony market.

Blackberry 9000: The Real iPhone Killer?

December 4, 2007

If LG/Verizon can’t come up with an iPhone killer can RIM? Will the next Blackberry due in Q1of 2008 – the 9000 -- be the real iPhone killer? Moreover as a business device will the newest Blackberry have all the best features of an iPhone (sans iTunes connectivity of course) with the best of business functionality?   Will RIM give us the ultimate consumer/business gadget? There is a lot of potential here.
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