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Gmail Outage, Safari, Skype go 4.0 and Neutral Tandem Outperforms

February 24, 2009

This has been a very busy news week and I have tagged dozens of stories to cover but haven't had time to write about them all in separate entries so here is a summary of what you need to know from today.

Stacy Higginbotham over at GigaOm has a short but sweet summary of the recent 2.5 hour Gmail outage with lots of interesting links. Google did post a nice apology by the way but I am sure it comes as little consolation to people affected.

In a sign we could be at the bottom (let's hope) of the financial mess, consumer confidence hit an all-time low and perhaps more surprising is the fact that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified today and made markets go up by sating we could see an economic light at the end of the tunnel in 2010.

Freedom to Connect

February 24, 2009

I recently had a chance to sit down with David Isenberg and discuss his Freedom to Connect (F2C) conference which takes place March 30 & 31, 2009 in Washington DC. He reminded me the price for the conference goes up $100 on February 28 so you need to act quickly.

Update: David kindly offered readers of this blog $100 off if they register at this URL. So until 2/28 it'll only cost you $395, then after that, when the list price goes up to $595, your discount will still be $100.

There are a number of new speakers announced who join already-announced speakers such as the CIO of San Francisco, the CTO of Seattle, the Chief Technologist of the FCC, and the visionaries of Lafayette LA and Burlington VT municipal networks.

Unless You are Cisco or Oracle, Don't Acquire

February 23, 2009

Unless you are Cisco, Oracle or a handful of other companies such as a telco, you will have a tough time making tech/communications acquisitions work. That is my advice after watching the past decades. Perhaps the most sobering evidence is Nortel's Alteon deal which the company paid $7.8 billion for in 2000. The products are being spun off to Radware for -- get this, $17.65 million.

Ooma, the FCC-Backed Phone Company

February 22, 2009

There are a number of bright spots in the IP communications space as evidenced by the last ITEXPO in Miami but the consumer market is not one which you would imagine tops the list. Sure, there is massive growth in the space but unless you are a telco, Skype or a cable company it is tough to make money in the space.

But that hasn't stopped thousands of companies from trying. One such example is ooma, a company which started out making consumer devices which bundle in free phone service.

Avaya, Altigen Going After Nortel Customers

February 20, 2009

 Yahoo search for term Nortel


Do a Yahoo! search on Nortel and you see ads from Microsoft and Avaya which are quite friendly. Microsoft for example directs you to its People Ready Business site where it pushes its relationship with Nortel with messaging which emphasizes global solutions to empower the enterprise. Avaya's ad is pretty generic - and goes directly to the home page.

Microsoft Live search for term Nortel


If you use Microsoft Live as your search engine the results are similar to Yahoo with a Microsoft ad but the Avaya ad is replaced by one from Fonality going to their home page which touts their "New Deal" or a 20% discount on certain models.

Google search for term Nortel


Will Wireless Broadband Turn this Economy?

February 20, 2009

It goes without saying the need/desire for wireless broadband is growing - partially fueled by social networking applications but perhaps just as importantly the need to be connected regardless of location. Instantaneous access to information is an addiction which I have found very difficult to break. Personally I feel withdrawal symptoms when my devices run low on battery and I don't have access to power. Likewise on Valentine 's Day when I forgot both phones at home I had this naked feeling until I consciously told myself I won't need these gadgets to help me through my meal.

TMC's Erik Linask wrote an article about how wireless broadband can boost global economies and it may sound improbably at first but it makes sense to me.

Stimulus Could Reshape Broadband Tech Landscape

February 18, 2009

With all the talk of broadband stimulus, many of us in the more densely populated areas of the nation probably wonder just why this is such a big deal as we have cable and companies already competing for our business. For regions of the country where cable modems and DSL are not viable options, you have to make do with satellite and hope for WiMAX to give you higher speeds.

Another more viable option is being brought to market by IBM and International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc. (IBEC) -- an Internet Service Provider - who just announced they have begun to establish Broadband over Power Line (BPL) networks for nearly 200,000 rural customers served by seven electrical cooperatives in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia. TMC's Michael Dinan first reported on the story last November.

Soros a Communications and Tech Fan

February 18, 2009


Billionaire investor George Soros seems to be a fan of tech and telecom as evidenced by the recent Soros Fund Management SEC filing. Holdings include a ton of familiar tech and telecom names and I listed some of them below. Amazingly, about 50% are tech or telecom related.



Here is the complete list for those of you who are interested.


Would You Spend $5 For E911?

February 17, 2009

Verizon is thinking about offering a $5/month landline for incoming calls and E911 access. Another idea is a $10/month line for limited local calls. These offers would be available only to the company's broadband customers and the idea is to come up with price points below the $40/month mark that would retain customers. The idea of course is to push the fact that phone service over copper works in the event of emergency.

Ng Connect's Broadband Industry Convergence Opportunity

February 16, 2009

In 1998 I was walking the halls of a prepaid calling card trade show in New York's Javits center and I mentioned to one of the vendors that the future for service providers was enhanced services. The reply from the vendor was blunt. "Service providers don't want to sell enhanced services," he exclaimed.

And it seems a decade later, this random exhibitor was right on.

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