VocalTec News

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
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VocalTec News

A few industry insiders sent me this article about VocalTec. I am fascinated by how such a general business site can have such great VoIP coverage. I suppose the reason is that in Israel, VoIP is like the auto market in Detroit.

Getting back to VocalTec (news, quote), I hope they find a good way out of this mess. I have known many really good people from this company over the years and they always had great technology. As we know, the best technology or being first does not guarantee success.

Perhaps it isn’t too late for someone to sweep in, pick up the pieces and create a truly leading edge VoIP company that can generate profit.

As I look back at VocalTec, and reminisce about working with them over the past decade or so, I remember when I first got the press release about their Internet Telephony gateway and how I thought this was truly huge news. As I recall they were using NMS boards at the time to develop the gateway. This announcement was one of the reasons we decided to launch our VoIP magazine in the first place.

VocalTec had the best PR people in the business. I remember Jo Lee in particular. Here is a link that discusses the Deutche Telekom MOU and Jo Lee at the same time from the first-ever issue of Internet Telephony Magazine. When TMC was going to launch Internet Telephony Magazine in 1997 their PR team was all over us.

Back in 1996 or so TMC worked with N+I to help them set up an educational center on IP Telephony and we invited a number VoIP companies to participate. None of the other companies wanted to be next to the VocalTec team. They told us it was for personal reasons. On closer inspection, the word in the industry was the company was abrasive and arrogant.

It turns out that a few of the marketing people were responsible for this reputation and these “abrasive” people left VocalTec around 1999-2000, just before the company disappeared off the US map and was said to have made their living selling product in India. I would like to point out that not all the marketing people were arrogant and I reiterate there were some very good people working for the company. As with everything in life, a few bad apples can ruin it for everyone.

The company reemerged a few years back in the US with the nicest and must unassuming marketing people around.

But I think the shift in focus hurt the company. You can’t easily disappear and reappear in a market and be taken seriously.

These problems could have been overcome. The new marketing team in place was good but the company needed to invest more in marketing and PR a few years back when the VoIP market picked up.

With their name and reputation, they would have been a force to be reckoned with.

VocalTec didn’t make the move to really promote themselves when they should have and now they have to deal with a slew of negative articles and as a publicly traded company it is tough to hide the fact that you aren’t doing well.

The company still has amazing technology and the name alone should be worth a significant amount of money but there is a limited window of opportunity here. Will someone step up to the plate or will the company fade into obscurity like the Osborne Computer Company, the corporation that made the world’s first portable computer?
 



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