Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Vonage Broadband VoIP service provider

Vonage to announce earnings

July 27, 2006

Vonage, who just recently became a publicly-traded corporation, will report its second quarter 2006 financial results in just 5 days -- on Tuesday, August 1. This will be the first IPO earnings call since the Vonage IPO performed poorly. My only question is will the revenue report cause a continuation of the stock price decline or will Vonage's stock get a little bump from some good news? They sure could certainly use some good news considering they are currently trading at $6.99 or essentially $10 under their $17 IPO price.

Anybody hear anything about all those Vonage IPO investors suing Vonage?

Vonage spyware ads funds customer acquisition

July 18, 2006

Vonage customer acquisition relies heavily on spyware advertsing according to Ben Edelman.  Considering Vonage's failed IPO and continued downward stock price, you'd think Vonage would be on the "up and up" - above all these sort of tactics. After all, any bad news now can't be good for Vonage's stock price. Of course, you could excuse some of this as affiliates run amok, but now with Vonage's books open to the public, it will be interesting to see how much of this is 3rd party affiliates and how much of this is Vonage paying the Internet underworld of spyware companies.

Vonage fights patent suit by buying patents

July 10, 2006

In a tit-for-tat battle, Vonage today announced that it has acquired ownership of three patents from Digital Packet Licensing Inc. that enable voice over internet protocol technology (VoIP). The three acquired patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 4,782,485, 5,018,136 and 5,444,707, are directed to the compression of packetized digital signals commonly used in VoIP technology.

This acquisition of these VoIP patents is obviously in response to recent litigation by Sprint and also Verizon. I speculated that the rash of lawsuits by the carriers against Vonage, knocking Vonage's stock down even further, could be "sweet revenge" for bringing down their profit margins. But it could also be a precursor to a takeover of Vonage by Sprint or Verizon.

Sandisk offers Skype on a USB stick

July 10, 2006

Just last week Vonage launched their "VoIP-on-a-stick" V-Phone (see review) and now it appears that Sandisk is going to all offer "VoIP-on-a-stick" by bundling the Skype application pre-loaded on the SanDisk Cruzer Micro and Cruzer Titanium lines of Skype-certified U3 smart drives. The nice thing about this USB-based VoIP sticks is that you can make and receive VoIP calls from almost any PC without leaving any information behind on the host computer, but it's still a very "niche" feature.

The SanDisk Cruzer Micro with Skype preloaded is available at retail outlets in U.S. and Europe, including Skype‚Äôs online store, for suggested retail prices ranging from $39.99 to $199.99.  Capacities are 512 megabytes (MB), 1 gigabyte (GB), 2GB and 4GB. 

Vonage V-Phone Review

July 5, 2006

Vonage sent me one of their Vonage V-Phone USB devices to review. As you probably recall, I wasn't very keen on the V-Phone, but I decided to go ahead and test the V-Phone anyway. The concept of the V-Phone is that it's a small portable device that you can take anywhere and your phone number will follow you, as well as the added benefit of inexpensive VoIP minutes. I received my eval unit on June 30th (last Friday) and I attempted to install it on my work PC.

Vonage V-Phone ho-hum

June 28, 2006

Vonage announced their oft-rumored USB "VoIP-on-a-stick" product today. Nothing new here, Mplat has a similar product called Mplat FlashPhone F2K that I wrote about. Unlike the Vonage V-Phone which is limited to Vonage, the Mplat device not only comes standard with Skype software but it's also compatible with MSN, Google Talk, and other VoIP services. Prices for the Mplat device start at about $40 for the 128MB unit and $80 for the 512MB model.

FCC approves new VoIP taxes

June 22, 2006

Well, we knew it was inevitable that the FCC would pass on USF (Universal Service Charges) taxes onto VoIP service providers and thereby unto VoIP subscribers. I griped about this pending tax just recently. Well, the FCC voted unanimously yesterday to require all voice over Internet Protocol services that connect to the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.  ZDNet has an excellent overview of this news, as does TMCnet's Robert Liu.

Vonage begs customers to stay

June 19, 2006

Last week, Russell Shaw reported on how Vonage is essentially "begging" customers to stay by offering discounts (down to $19.99/month) to their monthly service. As a Vonage customer myself, still looking to dump Vonage in the next few weeks (See: Time to Dump Vonage), maybe I can get a discount as well? Maybe if they offer me $10/month I'll stick with Vonage. Rich thinks offering discounts in a brilliant move.

Verizon slaps Vonage with Lawsuit

June 19, 2006

Vonage said today that it has been served with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Verizon.  The lawsuit from Verizon Service Corp. and Verizon Laboratories Inc. alleges that Vonage infringed on seven patents related to VoIP technology. The timing of this lawsuit is more than suspicious. With Vonage facing lawsuits from its customers over its failed IPO and its stock continuing a downward spiral, I'm wondering if this isn't simply Verizon going for the jugular while Vonage is down.

Already, the stock is down 2.24% ($9.60/share) 7.92% ($8.84) today (Update: Broke the $8 barrier). What sweet revenge Verizon could have - simply by hurting Vonage's stock - whether or not the lawsuit has any merit.

Vonage IPO Lawsuit and my Lawsuit over my Cold Pizza

June 5, 2006

Sure, all the hubbub is over Vonage users suing Vonage over their failed IPO and refusing to pay for their Vonage shares, but I have my own pending lawsuit against Vonage - and it's over my cold pizza.

Last night, I ordered a large sausage pizza from La Familia in Brookfield. I gave them my address and home phone number, which was a Norwalk exchange since I kept my Norwalk phone number when I moved to Brookfield. Apparently, the driver looked at the phone number (854-XXXX) and knew it wasn't a Brookfield exchange, so he thought it was a Newtown phone number, which coincidentally also has the exact street name as my house. So he drove on I-84 to exit 10 (20 min away from my house) and knocked on the door of some unsuspecting residents who told them they didn't order a pizza.

The delivery guy then called my house and asked where I lived.

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