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Yahoo! Strong With the Poor

February 16, 2008

I thought I had heard it all. Now it seems that some are suggesting that Yahoo! is having problems because it is stronger in poor areas while Google is stronger in areas where people are affluent such as suburbs, etc.

Could this be part of their problem? Possibly.

Better than Free

February 16, 2008

In the world of VoIP, there is a serious problem... There are so many companies giving away telephony, how do you compete? Vonage sells service which is ridiculously cheap yet Skype gives their service away even cheaper and in some cases free.

In such a world, the companies in the space need to evaluate how they can add value to their service and products so that people will actually open their wallets and shell out their hard-earned cash.

For those vendors looking to monetize what many think is unmonetizable, you should check out this post by Kevin Kelley which focuses on ways to generate revenue in a world where everything seems to be going free.

Here is an excerpt:

Personalization — A generic version of a concert recording may be free, but if you want a copy that has been tweaked to sound perfect in your particular living room — as if it were preformed in your room — you may be willing to pay a lot. The free copy of a book can be custom edited by the publishers to reflect your own previous reading background.








Jeff Bonforte Leaves Yahoo!

February 16, 2008

SMBs Embrace FMC

February 17, 2008

Huge news comes from Nortel as they recently commissioned a survey which found SMBs are more technically savvy than some might have imagined. SMBs seem to be screaming for FMC solutions and unified communications -- especially as it relates to integrating mobile devices with traditional computer solutions like laptops, etc.

900 SMBs responded to a web survey to generate these results. Unfortunately this skews the survey a bit as the people taking the survey had to be web savvy and also it is unclear what site users went to find the survey.

Still, this is a good sign that at least web-savvy SMBs are looking for the absolute latest in communications products and services. For vendors, it is just a matter of figuring out how to position your solutions in the most appealing fashion possible while ensuring that the leading edge features are in your products.

Only a marriage of excellent R&D coupled with effectively targeted marketing/PR/branding and positioning will guarantee vendors can effectively penetrate this market.

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Intel's Skulltrail Motherboard

February 18, 2008

I just have to wonder if Intel's latest motherboard code named SkullTrail will be useful beyond the gaming market. The device can be outfitted with two quad-core processors and multiple graphics chips from AMD (yes, AMD) and Nvidia.

Obviously the gaming market is all over this news -- awaiting it like subprime borrowers wait for rate cuts.

But one has to wonder if the IP communications space won't be able to take advantage of this motherboard for serious call processing via HMP-based software. Hopefully Nick Jensen and Alan Pound are mulling this over already.

It will be interesting to see what applications are enabled by a motherboard which is expected in systems that cost no less than $6,000!

In addition I yearn for the days when parents had to shell out no more than a quarter for their kids who wanted to play video games.

Oh, and one last point.









Sony's VoIP Headsets

February 18, 2008

The ISPS Strike Back

February 18, 2008

In the quest for behavioral targeting, companies who control ad networks have been working as hard as possible to allow advertisers to reach web surfers based on their online behavior and not just what page they happen to be on.

The company best positioned to take advantage of behavioral targeting without a doubt was once Yahoo. The wealth of services the company offers is surely staggering and they are able to ascertain what stocks you are considering, what content is in your e-mails, what sports teams you track and much more.

Google has one-upped Yahoo! with their purchase of DoubleClick and in an article titled Google Achieves Behavioral Targeting Nirvana, written about ten months ago, I spelled out why Google is now in a better place than Yahoo! to take advantage of the most accurate behavioral targeting. As a reminder, between Google and DoubleClick the surfing habits of virtually all web surfers will be known to Google.

But it is really the ISPs who have a better handle on where people go online than even Google.





Jon Arnold on Vonage

February 19, 2008

Jon Arnold has done a great job of analyzing how Vonage is doing and according to the Arnold, the latest quarter had some ups and downs. Jon spells out why Vonage may not make it into 2009 and I for one would be sad to see this happen as Vonage does a great job with its services and web interface.

In addition, if Cable becomes one of the few choices left for residential service, we all lose as Vonage allowed the ATA to move with the customer. In addition, the ability to block calls at certain hours of the day has not been widely matched by the cablecos, etc.

Here are some excerpts of an article which is worth a close read:

Vonage is trying to strengthen its value proposition with new features such as visual voice mail and virtual phone numbers, and planned features such as outbound fax and ContactBook, but it essentially remains a landline replacement service.






Skype Serves up 100 Billion Minutes

February 20, 2008

What can you say about a company that has generated 100 billion minutes of telephone traffic. Skype has been around for 4.5 years by the way making this milestone an even greater accomplishment.

While these minutes were all free, it shows just how Skype has changed the way the world communicates.

I remember when long-distance calls in the US were about 25 cents. If you assume that Skype could charge this amount per minute of calling this would amount to a cool $25 billion in cash.

Of course this exercise is kind of ridiculous -- especially when you consider all these minutes of use are due to the service being free.

Then again, I use Skype video because it is convenient. I would pay may $10/month if I had to for such a service.

Many will look at Skype as the ultimate company that has brought the telecom companies to their knees but it is amazing to me that they are also the company with the most video users.

Why did it take a start-up from Europe to give us the most popular videoconferencing software in the world?

It goes to show you how disruptive companies are generally the greatest innovators as well.













The Latest Microsoft/Yahoo News

February 23, 2008

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