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Rich Tehrani
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Skype

Skype Shows us Closed Can Win

December 3, 2010

Dan York at a recent ITEXPO - specifically the collocated Cloud Communications Summit - Dan is on the right and Thomas Howe is on the left
 

Yesterday I discussed how open always wins referring to the competition between Apple and Google's Android and a side conversation was started on Facebook questioning my assertion. I took the opposite viewpoint in a comment and mentioned that Apple does have a lock on customers via iTunes as well as the App Store which have a tremendous lead in the market.

I was reminded of this discussion when I read how Dan York of Voxeo is espousing the virtues of Skype - a closed provider of communications - when Voxeo and Dan are huge proponents of open ecosystems.

As I read the piece, I became fascinated at how Voxeo has chosen to use Skype as a way to make the company's operations better - utilizing persistent group chats which focus on various subjects.

The point is that using these chats, the company which consists of many people located all over the world and some who travel are able to not only communicate effectively but are able to rapidly be brought up to speed on various topics after getting off an airplane by just logging onto Skype.

Dan mentions that there are other alternatives but it seems from the outside anyway that habit will keep the company using Skype for a long while - even if a better solution comes along immediately.

And this gets us to the counter of the open always wins argument - if you have loyal fans and/or people who habitually uses your interface and are happy with it - or some other differentiator, it becomes tough for competition to come in and take the market over. Even if the new competition is open.

Let's recall that compared to Apple and iOS, Windows Mobile was very open - it just wasn't as good as Apple's OS - and there was no contest from a marketing perspective either.

Apple definitely put together a more pleasing experience and were able to do so in part because they owned the stores, hardware and  packaging.

But now, Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android are taking some of the best parts of the Apple experience and replicating and in some cases improving them.

This in and of itself may not be enough to win against Apple but what the open approach has is a slew of hardware partners making devices in a variety of form factors. Some of these device sizes may catch fire.




















Will VocalTec and Skype Merge?

November 22, 2010

One of the major factors that led TMC to decide to launch Internet Telephony magazine back in 1997 was that we saw VocalTec launching products in the space which allowed telephony to travel over IP networks - and just like that the IP communications market was born.

Prior to this point, voice over frame relay was the preferred way to transmit voice over a packeted network.

When we launched Internet Telephony, we invited VocalTec co-founder and CTO Lior Haramaty to write a column in the publication - after all, no one knew more about the technology he helped invent than well, him!

Getting back to present-day Vocal-Tec, the company has merged with magicJack parent Ymax Corp. and recently raised its revenue guidance slightly and is looking to officially launch magicTalk - a PC-based service offering free US calling.

Back in August, TMC ran a piece on magicTalk and now the company says it has 100,000 beta users and 10,000 downloads per day. The magicTalk one-month Alexa rank is 386,430 up from 893,141 (lower numbers correspond to higher rank) and their Alexa chart is certainly improving as the chart below shows.



My two cents are it is tough to compete with Skype and Google in the VoIP space with a new offering but magicTalk has used television advertising to sell VoIP service in a way which turned an unknown company into a household name overnight. They used marketing well and although they have had some controversy surrounding them, I have always considered Ymax to be great promoters.

One of the past issues the company had was when they launched, they made some claims about their technology which were a bit over the top and many industry bloggers went ballistic in response. Moreover, the company has been called out about its inability to provide live voice service calls - but in reality if live support calls cost about $15 per interaction, how can you expect to get these bundled into service which costs about $40/year?

I reached out to the company for more information about what they're up to but they weren't immediately available for comment.















Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Impresses

November 14, 2010

TMC’s Tom Keating reported the fact that Microsoft OCS will be called Lync going forward and the name is much more conducive as a Skype alternative as asking someone to Lync you sounds much better than asking them to OCS you. Tom and I recently went to Manhattan with a group of analysts and other media to get a demo of the system at Microsoft's Technology center and put it through its paces. We had a chance to see about a dozen or more machines with various endpoints and spent time listening to Jamie Stark the Senior Product Manager walk us through what this new release will do for customers.

New Editorial Additions to TMC

November 3, 2010

Tehrani on Future of Broadband

November 2, 2010

Anana Enables Social Networking Dial-Tone

October 25, 2010

It was only a matter of time – social networking has permeated so many aspects of our lives that almost one-in-five divorces cite Facebook as part of the reason for the split! Moreover, in some countries a single text message is legal grounds for divorce. But wait, how did I get on this tangent? This was supposed to be a happy story about how social networking has integrated with telephone service like never before, enabling carriers to generate revenue by tapping into one of the most popular phenomenons on the planet.

Avaya Flare Interface Detailed

October 3, 2010

Thought Leaders Descend Upon ITEXPO

October 2, 2010

Kind of a silly term- "thought leader" but in every market there are people involved in setting the conversation... Those whose thoughts and ideas permeate the web and industry conversations. "Did you hear what so and so said? Can you believe he thinks this company sells junk products and won't be around in a year?"

Well you get the idea.

It turns out a number of the people in the market who I have personally followed for some time have joined forces on a blog called Voyces.



ITEXPO West 2010 Show Guide Available

October 1, 2010

The ITEXPO West 2010 Show Guide is here and if you are flying to the show - you may want to download it to your Kindle/laptop/iPad/netbook/smartphone or print it. I am on the plane now and we have the equivalent of a 300 baud modem's worth of bandwidth so I can't download it but as I recall it is over 100 pages and gives you a solid overview of the dozen conferences taking place next week.

In addition it shows you the exhibit hall with over 200 exhibitors and which sections correspond to which technology.

I have this dream that I will have enough time to go through the directory and point to some of the interesting highlights in a blog post.

We'll see how that works out.

Here is the PDF and it is fairly compressed down to 5 Megs as I recall - we may be getting a higher res one soon as well in case you have the bandwidth.







ITEXPO West 2010 Information Update

October 1, 2010

The following ITEXPO welcome letter and update on important components of the multiple shows next week in Los Angeles was sent by my operations team. I hope you find it useful:


October 4-6, 2010
Los Angeles Convention Center
www.itexpo.com
It's Time for ITEXPO

Largest B-to-B Communications and Technology Trade Show Opens Monday in Los Angeles.

Dear Rich,

The final stages of preparation are being completed over the weekend - conference presenters tying together their slides, exhibitors readying their booths, and our TMC team putting the pieces in place for a great week of learning, networking, and business-building.

Your registration is confirmed.

Can't wait to see you Sunday night at Avaya’s Kick-Off event at the Westin Bonaventure, then on Monday at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the official start of ITEXPO.

Once again, here are some details and information that will help make your experience at ITEXPO great. As always, if you have any questions before the show, please check the event site or contact Frank Coppola.


REGISTRATION / KEYNOTES / EXHIBIT HALL HOURS Monday, October 4
Registration: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Keynotes: 4:00 – 5:00pm
Welcome Reception: 5:00pm, sponsored by Aloe Systems

Tuesday, October 5
Registration: 7:00am – 7:00pm
Luncheon keynote: 12:15pm
Keynotes: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Exhibits Open: 4:00 – 8:00pm
Networking Reception: 6:00pm in Exhibit Hall, Sponsored by Aculab

Wednesday, October 6
Registration: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Exhibits Open: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Mustang Convertible Giveaway at 4:45pm – Must Be Present to Win
See below for a complete, updated schedule or visit www.itexpo.com


Keynote Schedule: (Open to all attendees) Monday, October 4
4:00 pm: Alcatel-Lucent: Jean-Pierre Lartigue, CTO and VP
4:30 pm: CA Technologies: Adam Famularo, General Manager Cloud Computing

Tuesday, October 5
12:15pm: Phil Edholm, Vice President, Avaya
2:00 pm: Salesforce.com: Alex Dayon, Executive Vice President of CRM
2:30 pm: Ribbit Corporation: Crick Waters, Co-founder, EVP Strategy and Business Development
3:00 pm: AT&T: Hank Hultquitst, VP of Regulatory
3:30 pm: ShoreTel: Kevin Gavin, VP Marketing

Wednesday, October 6
10:15 am: Xirrus: Dirk Gates, Chief Executive Office
10:45 am: Level 3: Nigel Williams, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales


WORKSHOPS at ITEXPO – Open to All Attendees

StartupCamp2: Communications Edition
Monday, October 4, 5:30pm
Room 153

Ingate’s SIP Trunk-UC Summit
Monday, October 4 – Wednesday, October 6
Room 403A

Reseller Solutions Day Workshop
Tuesday, October 5, 8:30am – 1-day Workshop open to all Resellers and Agents
Room 153

MegaPath’s MPLS University
Tuesday, October 5, 4:10pm
Room 153

Phone.com’s Innovation and Excellence for the Small Office
Wednesday, October 6, 11:00am
Room 150


SHOW LOCATION

Los Angeles Convention Center
South Hall K
1201 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90015
Phone: (213) 741-1151


Detailed Schedule of Events:

MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 9:00 am . Ingate SIP Trunking Professional Development Program
10:00 am .
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