I just want to thank Apple's Steve Jobs for reminding me that the holiday shopping season is already upon us ... even though here in Connecticut it’s still in the 80s and people are swimming at the beaches. I also want to thank him for lowering the price of the iPhone from $599 to $399 barely three months after the phone hit store shelves. Now maybe I can afford to buy one as a Christmas gift for someone special. Or should I wait until January, when the price will drop to $199? Granted, Jobs issued an apology to those who already bought the iPhone for the full price $599. Plus, Apple is now offering a $100 rebate to everyone who purchased it for the full price, meaning that the original full price was, in fact, $499. But in my view, anyone who went out and bought the iPhone right away (perhaps even waited in line for it) got what they deserved.
San Jose, Calif., start-up Pudding Media has unveiled a new Skype-like VoIP service which allows advertisers to deliver targeted advertising content to user’s desktops while they are chatting away on their PCs. Basically, the company is using speech analytics to monitor, or eavesdrop on, people’s VoIP calls, and then based on what words are used in the conversation, targeted, personalized advertising will be displayed on screen, corresponding with what is being said. So, for example, if I’m talking to my wife about what to have for dinner tonight, a frozen food manufacturer can have their ad pop up on my screen when I say “dinner.” Advertisers pay based on how often users click on their ads, with prices similar to those offered through Google’s AdSense network. Pudding Media reportedly plans to add other payment models, like charging for each ad impression or by the number of calls an ad generates to the advertiser. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m going to let someone monitor my calls for the purpose of delivering personalized advertising. I mean, if I’m watching a cooking show on IPTV and a local store that sells gourmet food or cookware wants to show their ads during the commercial break, that’s fine. But monitoring my calls to find out what I’m talking about is just a little too Orwellian for me.
Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. has reportedly agreed to buy privately-held call center and business intelligence software company Latigent. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Chicago-based Latigent specializes in Web-based business intelligence and analytics reporting solutions, with a focus on contact centers. The company last made news on TMCnet in June, when it announced version 3.0 of its BlueVue X-Ray Edition business intelligence software, which is said to give managers and executives an “X-ray view” into their contact center operations. The new version of the software offers Real Time Performance Manager (RPM) and “cradle-to-grave” reporting for Cisco ICM & IPCC, plus expanded support for Cisco IPCC Express. Some no doubt saw Cisco’s acquisition of Latigent coming, since the two have been working closely together for years. Latigent's products will add nicely to Cisco's suite of Unified Customer Contact solutions.