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Ed Whitacre Jr.

April 27, 2007

Congratulations to Ed Whitacre Jr. for building a great big telecommunications company from an assortment of smaller ones. Certainly in this case the sum was greater than the parts.   Ed is about to retire and he can consider this my retirement present.   While I have perhaps had a rant or two over the years about net neutrality comments made by Mr. Whitacre, there is not a single person who can deny this man has achieved greatness in the world of communications and technology.   Ed Whitacre Jr. put AT&T back together again and left it in great shape.   The Board of Directors has chosen Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T's chief operating officer, to succeed Whitacre as chairman and CEO.   Randall has tremendous shoes to fill and it may be very tough to keep AT&T’s massive momentum going without even more acquisitions. These could consist of content plays such as perhaps satellite radio, internet companies and even advertising networks. Yahoo!

The Guy Who Won the FJ Cruiser

April 26, 2007

Mitel Acquires Inter-Tel

April 26, 2007

In a $723 Million transaction two of the leaders in the mid-market communications space have teamed up as Mitel has just acquired Inter-Tel. Both companies were very strong players in the mid-size PBX space and both were leaders in staying ahead of the technology curve   Going back to the days of CTI over a decade ago, Mitel and Inter-Tel are established players in IP communications and unified communications.   “We believe this is an outstanding transaction for our stakeholders,” said Inter-Tel CEO Norman Stout. “Mitel and Inter-Tel have state-of-the-art products and complementary channels to market. In particular, we are excited about the opportunities this partnership represents for Inter-Tel’s associates and partners, who we believe will benefit from being part of a larger, growing and dynamic organization that can compete more effectively in the marketplace. We look forward to working with the Mitel team to ensure a rapid and seamless transition.”

The combined company, including Inter-Tel international subsidiaries such as Inter-Tel Europe, Swan Solutions and Lake Communications, will have solutions to address the needs of very small to large businesses globally.

Skype Developer Program

April 26, 2007

There is big communications developer news afoot as Skype announced over 10 million downloads of Skype Extras. These Extras are in fact software programs designed to integrate with Skype. Collaboration software and call recording are examples of products that are part of this program.   The most popular Skype Extra to date is Reallusion’s CrazyTalk for Skype, which has been downloaded by consumers more than 3.5 million times. For business users, the Pamela Call Recorder has been downloaded more than 1 million times.   It goes without saying that the past few years has seen the rise of ecosystems in the communications market.

Vonage Free to Compete

April 25, 2007

EQO Funding

April 25, 2007

Jajah and Iotum

April 24, 2007

Blackberry users are having a banner day as fist they are able to run their programs on Windows Mobile computers and now Iotum and JaJah are collaborating to allow the power of Jajah’s calling network to be combined with Iotum’s Talk-Now application.   "We saw a clear opportunity to enhance the experience for mobile users by partnering with JAJAH," said Iotum CEO Alec Saunders. "Initially, our collaboration means that Iotum Talk-Now users will have one-click access to JAJAH for all their contacts. In the future, Iotum will release other 'New Presence'-enabled applications in conjunction with JAJAH, such as PIN-less, mobile conferencing."   What are the benefits? Blackberry users now can have access to all the presence applications Iotum offers and at the same time collaborate seamlessly with their Jajah contacts.

Interactive Intelligence and Alliance Systems

April 23, 2007

Interactive Intelligence announced today it has purchased the professional services group of Alliance Systems and I had a chance to speak with the president of Alliance Systems Rusty Cone about this deal. Rusty deferred to Alliance Systems chairman Jon Shapiro about the reason for this transaction.   According to Jon: “Our core server and infrastructure business has been growing very rapidly and we wanted to focus our resources on increasing our manufacturing capacity, engineering resources and our global logistics and support business.”   I did get a chance to find out a bit more about the transaction however. Rusty explained he is happy for the 14 people who will now be part of Interactive Intelligence as they now have more opportunity to move up in the organization.

Hosted Communications for the SMB

April 23, 2007

We hear about hosted solutions from so many vendors these days. This area of the market is certainly experiencing tremendous growth. Companies like Covad, AccessLine and 8x8/Packet8 are doing well selling services to customers who are giving up their small phone system for a hosted solution.   In many cases the smaller companies are familiar with and more comfortable with key systems and are not happy to lose some of these features when they migrate to a hosted solution which is designed for companies the size of major auto manufacturers. The way to get around this dilemma is to sell these companies hosted key system replacements.   How can a service provider interested in deploying such solutions learn more?

More on The VoIP Patent Mess

April 20, 2007

A number of people in the telecom industry tell me they have looked at the Verizon patents being used against Vonage and they say they have been doing the things that are claimed in the patents before Verizon filed. My sources further claim in some cases there are patents which have been granted to companies which conflict with the patents which Verizon has. Of course this is not unusual but no one has anything to gain from suing Verizon to get the phone company’s patents overturned. They would only do this if they are sued and this won’t happen as Verizon is too smart to sue companies that can overturn their own patents.
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