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June 2005

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First Coffee for June 30, 2005

June 30, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a new recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 by the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda which you can download for free, along with Symphonies 7, 8 and tomorrow 9, here:

In the wake of Oracle’s triumphant fourth quarter earnings report announcement yesterday, speculation is on what Larry Ellison will do for an encore.

The acquisition of PeopleSoft went smoother than many had expected, at least as far as affecting the bottom line goes, so the office pools now are on who Oracle will buy up next – or whether they’ll stand pat and take care of Fusion first.

Robert Wallberg’s Street Patrol column reminds readers that he’s been suggesting Oracle’s application servers and middleware foe BEA Systems, or business intelligence software vendor Hyperion Solutions as targets, and throws Siebel and Business Objects in the mix. “Given the relative ease in integrating PeopleSoft, don’t be surprised if Oracle goes after one of these companies sooner rather than later,” he says.

Pop over to BusinessWeek this morning for some heavy hinting that it’d be a good idea for Oracle to pick up Siebel pretty soon. Naturally Ellison has to scotch the idea in the press – “we  have no plans to buy anything that doesn’t contribute to our five-year plan to grow profitability by at least 20% per year,” he announced loudly.

“Yet, in practically the next breath,” BusinessWeek writes, “he laid out his strategy for buying software companies with narrow profit margins but rich maintenance-revenue streams, adding them to Oracle’s portfolio, and stripping out costs.” That sure sounds like Siebel to First CoffeeSM.

First Coffee for June 29, 2005

June 29, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series Vol. 5, songs from his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue finally released officially in 2002:

Eerily enough, there’s an almost direct parallel to the Brand X contretemps elsewhere in the world – Latvia’s two mobile operators “appear unwilling to cooperate with newcomer Lithuania’s Bite GSM, which is eager to lease mobile infrastructure to begin operations, possibly setting the stage for a confrontation,” according to The Baltic Times a couple weeks ago.

Basically, LMT and Tele2 don’t want to lease their infrastructure to Bite GSM while Bite installs its own relay network.

Bite GSM won the tender for Latvia’s third GSM license on March 31, which evidently meant it now has to sink 150 million euros ($180 million) in building a new network, but “in the meantime the Danish-owned company would like to use competitors’ infrastructure in order to launch operations and begin receiving revenue,” the Times says.

The Latvians aren’t having any of it. “We are not considering such a possibility now,” Petras Kirdeika, acting CEO of Tele2 has said. LMT, Latvia’s leading mobile operator, said that it won’t lease its network to other operators, pleading a lack of excess capacity. Bite officials have offered to cover the costs of expanding LMT’s capacity.

First Coffee for June 28, 2005

June 28, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bruce Cockburn’s 1987 collection Waiting For A Miracle:

First CoffeeSM likes to follow arcane topics – Ivy League football, the history of New Zealand, Al Stewart’s recording career – and burrowing deep into the minutiae of the news has run across an obscure Supreme Court ruling on Brand X which no doubt you’ve missed, as First CoffeeSM is hard-pressed to find any commentary on it…

You’d think with the blizzard of words swirling around on the Internet this morning on this highly-expected, completely unsurprising to anyone ruling they’d put Michael Jackson back on trial or something.

Okay, leaving aside Grokster with the comment that if it’s legal to sue Grokster what’s to stop anyone from suing assault gun manufacturers for murders… huh? Oh, the NRA, right. Sorry, Grokster, you need an NRA on your side, then you can be protected from the legal consequences of people using your product for the exact, specific purpose for which you manufactured and marketed it.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority in the Brand X case, ruled that the Supreme Court must defer to the expertise of the Federal Communications Commission in regulatory issues. The FCC had already issued a 2002 ruling that cable companies did not have to share their line networks with competitors, the way telecommunications providers must share their lines with their competitors.

“The Commission is in a far better position to address these questions than we are,” Thomas wrote.

First Coffee for June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Allman Brothers’ magnum opus, 1972’s Eat A Peach:

The war between SAP and Oracle is escalating now that SAP’s combing through Oracle’s client base as part of a “telephone market research survey” trying to get JD Edwards and PeopleSoft users to switch to SAP products.

And they’re having some luck: Industry observer Sandra Rossi writes that “in its first round of calls, 30 percent of recipients agreed to hold talks with the German software company,” according to SAP Australia managing director Geraldine McBride.

“Two years ago these customers wouldn’t talk to SAP, but now they are interested; they want to get off the frog march of upgrades they are on and take control of their maintenance spending,” McBride tells Rossi. She doesn’t expect JD Edwards and PeopleSoft customers to immediately migrate to SAP, but to make incremental moves.

“For examples, they can keep their AS/400 on the backend and just add SAP analytics, CRM or portal technology,” she says.

Part of SAP’s strategy was to acquire TomorrowNow at the beginning of this year. TomorrowNow provides support to JD Edwards and PeopleSoft systems, so the fact that they’re a “fully-owned subsidiary of SAP” gives them access to over a hundred Edwards and PeopleSoft – i.e. Oracle – clients.

No doubt Oracle will have a return volley soon.

First Coffee for June 24, 2005

June 24, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the 2001 compilation John Coltrane & Miles Davis, 1955 – 1961 from the Columbia Jazz series:

We have clarity on the Epiphany cash issue. It looks, like First CoffeeSM suspected, as if we have different definitions of “cash.”

Two days ago First CoffeeSM wrote about an article on Epiphany, which prompted a note from Gordon Evans, in Epiphany’s corporate communications department. Evans said that the ComputerWire article First CoffeeSM highlighted had grossly understated the cash Epiphany had on hand.

“Always known for being cash rich,” ComputerWire wrote and First CoffeeSM quoted, “in the second quarter 2004 the company had a $93.4 million cash pile, but by the fourth quarter 2004 this had dwindled to $18.1 million, and at the end of the first quarter 2005 it stood at $21.5 million.”

Evans wrote to say that actually, “we have more than $250 million in cash on hand as of our last earnings report Q105.”

Such a discrepancy is rarely a case of someone getting numbers wrong, it’s almost always a case of how you define the terms. Sure enough, a reader who knows a whole lot more about business accounting than First CoffeeSM does set the matter straight.

Looking at the Epiphany’s 1Q reported results, she writes, “you can see from the Balance Sheet at the bottom of the press release that Epiphany had ‘cash and cash equivalents’ of $21.5 million on March 31,” which is the number ComputerWire reported as their “cash” position.

“Based on a quick skim of the balance sheet, I’d hazard a guess that the $250 million figure (Epiphany CEO Karen) Richardson mentions is what you get if you add together all the current assets, which comes to $171 million, and the $84 million of long-term investments,” she says.

In other words, Evans and Richardson are wrapping up all the assets the company has that could be fairly easily liquidated into one big number that, arguably, gives the best picture of the company’s balance sheet health.

“Companies do this often,” First CoffeeSM’s reader wrote. “Personally, I can’t recall ever seeing ‘long term investments’ being referred to as ‘cash,’ but that’s just me.

First Coffee for June 23, 2005

June 23, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Johnny Cash’s 2000 gospel retrospective, cleverly titled God:

Yesterday First CoffeeSM looked at Epiphany, and afterwards received a polite note from Gordon Evans, in Epiphany’s corporate communications department. Evans said that the ComputerWire article First CoffeeSM noted was mistaken in their analysis of how much cash Epiphany has on hand.

“Always known for being cash rich,” ComputerWire wrote and First CoffeeSM quoted, “in the second quarter 2004 the company had a $93.4 million cash pile, but by the fourth quarter 2004 this had dwindled to $18.1 million, and at the end of the first quarter 2005 it stood at $21.5 million.”

“I do want to point out,” Evans wrote, “that Computerwire, while putting together a very balanced article, did include some incorrect statements about our financials.

“In fact we have more than $250 million in cash on hand as of our last earnings report Q105, and have had anywhere between $250 million and $272 million on hand over the last year.”

First CoffeeSM looked up Epiphany’s results for the quarter ended March 31, 2005 and found Epiphany CEO Karen Richardson quoted as saying “I am pleased that our results were within our financial guidance and we maintained our strong cash and investments balance of approximately $250 million.”

The other information was as ComputerWire had it, and if anything the second quarter looks grimmer for Epiphany – for the quarter ending June 30, 2005, they currently expect total revenue to range between $15.5 million and $18.0 million, with license revenue ranging between $4 million and $6 million. Net loss per share on a GAAP basis for the second quarter is expected to range between $(0.12) and $(0.14), of which approximately ($0.05) will result from restructuring charges of up to $4 million.

First CoffeeSM does not have an accounting background, and is more than willing to be corrected in this – as well as any other – area of ignorance, but knows “cash” is not an exact definition. First CoffeeSM wonders if “cash” and “cash and investments” are interchangeable terms – if we’re talking about cash and investments that can be quickly converted into cash, or if ComputerWire’s subtracting debt for a net cash figure, or what.

First Coffee for June 22, 2005

June 22, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the transcendent Lyle Lovett-Al Green duet on the Willie Nelson song “Funny How Time Slips Away,” from the 1994 Rhythm, Country and Blues album:

Things appear to be going swimmingly for salesforce.com at their Summer ‘05 SalesStock in San Francisco this week, where “tight integration” is the mantra. They’ve unveiled their so-called “operating system,” Multiforce 1.0, billing it as a single platform companies can use to run any and all hosted applications, add-ons plus whatever creative things your tech guys can write using Customforce 2.0.

It’s a great idea, and while First CoffeeSM’s not sure Marc Benioff will accomplish his goal of putting Microsoft out of business – although we’re rooting for him – it does force Siebel, SAP et al to take note of the new way of delivering software.

As industry observer Antone Gonsalves notes, salesforce.com “hopes customers will use Multiforce not just to access Salesforce.com applications, either pre-built or custom, but also applications from partners or third-party ASPs.”

This will prove tricky, “particularly if it involves competitors,” Gonsalves says, remarking that “Got Corporation, a maker of marketing software, is the only company to announce support for the platform so far.”

GOT CEO Eric Melka jumped up on the stage with Benioff to trade stinging guitar licks – uh, to announce Campaigner for Salesforce, GOT’s “tightly integrated” e-mail communication tool for Salesforce which lets users track large volume e-mailings from within Salesforce in a two-step wizard, while unifying them with sales and customer support activities.
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Good piece on what the heck happened to Epiphany on ComputerWire this morning. CEO Karen Richardson’s sunny and optimistic in the face of some pretty grim numbers – she calls her company’s net loss increasing from $4.2 million in the first quarter last year to $6.4 million this year, and revenues dropping from $20.2 million to $16.2 million “bumpy” and “seasonally challenging.”

At the end of 2004, ComputerWire says, Epiphany dropped the “E.piphany” dot in the company name “to distance itself from the dot-com era,” and refocused on “what it was first known for: analytics and marketing, following its nondescript foray into operational CRM, and restructuring the sales organization.”

Richardson says Epiphany is focused on sales and capitalizing on its niche position. The software world is splitting into really big players and niche vendors, “and I mean niche in a good way,” she says.

First Coffee for June 21, 2005

June 21, 2005


A man jumps in the air from the top of one of the stones as the sun rises over Stonehenge.
Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 1272 in E flat, performed by the Quartetto Italiano for a 1968 Philips recording:

In good news, slimebucket John Rigas and his reptilian son Timothy Rigas were sentenced to 15 and 20-year prison terms for stealing at least $100 million, looting Adelphia Communications Corp., hiding $2.3 billion in debt, bank fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy, bankrupting a billion-dollar company, destroying the retirement security of investors who trusted them and generally being repulsive water rats with the ethics of corrupt third-world kleptocrats.

First CoffeeSM has absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for contemptuously dishonest businessmen, and the Rigases are among the worst. The Associated Press reports that Judge Leonard Sand asked Rigas’s lawyer “Do you see what he did? What he did to Coudersport, what he did with assets and by means which were not appropriately his?


First Coffee for June 20, 2005

June 20, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is The Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, the finest American pure pop music of the rock era:

Late Friday – First CoffeeSM missed it, maybe you did too – Renee Ferguson wrote that SAP is expected to announce early this week that they’ve hired away several executives from Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel.

She quotes Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting in Berkeley as saying they’re “senior-level people.” Matt Hines writes that Bill Wohl, SAP’s communications chief, said late Thursday that SAP’s new hires are “on the same level” as George Paolini, the company’s senior vice president for platform ecosystem development who was one of the guys in on the creation of Sun’s Java.

The new hires, which Ferguson says “in some cases have been on board at SAP since the company’s annual Sapphire user conference in May,” are said to “have experience in technology and application development” SAP needs to “morph from an applications provider to an infrastructure provider.”



Announcing Salesboom.com’s new CRM and SFA add-ons, Aziz Samarai ,VP of Sales lashed out at salesforce.com, saying they don’t listen to their customers.

The Nova Scotia-based provider of on-demand CRM and SFA is announcing the release of its CRM Outlook Integration Software add-ons, some of which, Samarai says, were inspired by comments from “disgruntled” salesforce.com customers.

“Our competitors tout Outlook based CRM integration functionality, but did they listen to their customers when they designed it,” Samarai asks rhetorically. “Evidently not, because the functionality behind Salesboom’s Microsoft Outlook CRM software was inspired by requests from former Salesforce.com customers who weren’t pleased with Salesforce’s Outlook CRM offering.”

That’s right, jump in the ring, plenty of mud to go around, grab a fistful and throw.



ShoreGroup, Inc. of New York City is announcing Release 3.0 of its CaseSentry Systems Management product, a product “that ensures the availability and integrity of the vital systems and processes that business depends on,” according to officials.

ShoreGroup and TiVerity Consulting of Atlanta, two old Cisco Intelligent Contact Management and Customer Voice Portal installation hands, have also announced they will join forces to offer a complete suite of contact center products for enterprise, service provider and government sectors.

TiVerity Consulting is a consulting, engineering and implementation provider of large distributed contact centers focused on the Federal marketplace. Pete Schamberger, CEO and President of TiVerity Consulting said the partnership would “give us entrée into the commercial contact centers areas.”



Telefonica Moviles Espana, the wireless operator of Telefonica Moviles Group in Spain with over 19 million customers chose Nortel as the main supplier for expansion of the core multiservice network that will support its third generation service offering under a multi-year contract.

The network will enable TME to support increased voice and data traffic on its 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System network, while reducing operational expenses through consolidation.

First Coffee for June 17, 2005

June 17, 2005


(Photo by Aimee K. Wiles)

Coffee shops are the finest institutions in the United States of America, and those which sell just doughnuts and coffee are the best of the best. So it is with a heavy heart First CoffeeSM salutes Donuts Delite of Rochester, New York which for the past 47 years has sold just doughnuts and coffee, and which in another sign of the decline of Western civilization is closing June 30th. Frater, ave atque vale.


First Coffee for June 16, 2005

June 16, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Daughters Of the Lonesome Isle, the 1994 John Cage collection of piano compositions played by longtime Cage pianist Margaret Leng Tan:

Pegasus Wireless Corporation is announcing today the signing of an agreement to supply its complete line of 802.11 WiFi broadband wireless networking products to Ukrainian company Walrus Ltd. Walrus Ltd has agreed to carry Pegasus Wireless’s 802.11 WiFi line exclusively for a period of two years.

Jasper Knabb, President of Pegasus Wireless, calls Ukraine a “a virgin market.” He said upon his first visit toUkraine “it was clear that they have the entire technology infrastructure, except for 802.11 WiFi products. There are no wireless products on their shelves at all.”

First CoffeeSM has friends who’ve tried to make money in Ukraine, one of whom, safely back home drinking a decent beer, implied that its business ethics diverge slightly from America’s. First CoffeeSM wishes Pegasus all the luck in the world.

Yet Alex Tsao, CEO of Pegasus is correct when he says “Eastern Europe has been overlooked as a market in general.

First Coffee for June 15, 2005

June 15, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, Ravel orchestration, recorded in Berlin in 1990 by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini:

Today at CommunicAsia IP Unity and Telekom Malaysia are announcing deployment of Home Prepaid Services. While not yet an enterprise application, this new service rollout is a major VoIP and IP messaging effort, and according to Telekom officials, “just the beginning of Telekom Malaysia’s enhanced services expansion.”

This morning Telekom Malaysia is also “denying reports that it had made a solo bid to buy a 48 per cent stake in Idea Cellular,” according to PTINews. A joint $390 million bid by Telecom and Singapore Technologies Telemedia for 47.7 per cent of Idea Cellular fell through after they failed to get the required approvals in India.
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SST Communications, a developer of RF integrated circuits for wireless and multimedia applications, and a subsidiary of Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. are announcing a Bluetooth power amplifier that increases transmission range with lower power consumption than is currently available, according to company officials.

Targeting Bluetooth Class 1 applications like wireless USB dongle and long-range pico-nets, the SST12LP00 increases transmission range by 40 percent with less than 100mA in current consumption. “Dongle,” “pico-nets,” such colorful language.



Is “doing CRM” the same thing as being “customer centric?” Financial services doesn’t think so.

According to the results of a recent BusinessEdge study, the financial industry thinks doing a good, efficient, clean job is being “customer-centric,” skip the frills and froo-froo. The top three reasons for financial services firms pursuing customer centricity include operations efficiency at 44 percent, compliance at 24 percent and customer up sell or cross sell at 14 percent.

Across other sectors those priorities are inverted, as customer up or cross-sell is the top reason for 52 percent of respondents, sales force productivity for 28 percent and operational efficiency for 15 percent.

It reminds First CoffeeSM of when he was working with Bob Thompson of CRMGuru.com and went out to see him in San Francisco, and Bob asked him where he thought CRM was heading, and after an answer involving technology Bob said something like “See?

First Coffee for June 14, 2005

June 14, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an iTunes mix, current selection 1980’s “Romeo’s Tune” by Steve Forbert:

Thank God Michael Jackson was found innocent of all charges. First CoffeeSM can end his fast and start concentrating on work again.



This came in late yesterday, but First CoffeeSM is sure you were as distracted by waiting for the Michael Jackson verdict as he was so no doubt it slipped by you. Nuasis, which bills itself “the IP contact center company” announced that it has opened an east coast customer support, professional services and software development center in Montreal, which is close to Canada.

Company officials say its “growing east coast customer base” dictated the move. The new location is also an extension of the company’s California-based software development department: “Having a customer support center in the east coast time zone gives us greater availability to our growing east coast customer base,” explained Senya Rahmil, vice president of customer services and quality assurance, Nuasis.

Montreal is recognized as a global center for voice telecommunications expertise as it counts among its largest employers some of the industry’s giants such as Nortel Networks and Excel Communications.



Interesting ongoing thread at Pocket PC Thoughts on the availability of a pocket PC CRM application.

Jason Dunn posted “A friend asked me about a CRM application for the Pocket PC, and I drew a blank because that’s something I don’t know much about.

First Coffee for June 13, 2005

June 13, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Neil Young’s essential 1979 album Live Rust:

The Siebel Watch, Day 1

First CoffeeSM is initiating close updated coverage of Siebel today. Once the flagship company for Customer Relationship Management, today it’s a tottering giant, subjected to takeover rumors and tossing irate shareholders a bone in the form of a two and a half-cent stock quarterly dividend, the first dividend payout in the company’s history.

In late 2000 Siebel stock hit $119 a share. Today it’s $8.74, sales are falling for their fourth consecutive year and stockholders are clamoring for either a stock buyback or for the company simply to sell itself, put it out of its misery.

Tom Siebel stepped down as company head in 2004, naming Michael Lawrie as his replacement. In April Lawrie was sacked after first quarter numbers were even grimmer than expected, and George Shaheen, last seen at the wheel as Webvan ran into the ditch, named to take over.

First Coffee for June 10, 2005

June 10, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Stephen Stills’s 1972 album Manassas, one of the few Crosby, Stills or Nash projects as good as Neil Young’s work:

Okay, we’re off Supercomm ‘05 Chicago now, so what’s flown by in the meantime?

Got an e-mail from Ashlee Vance yesterday re First CoffeeSM’s assessment, based on his coverage of Chairman Martin’s appearance at Supercomm, that although his reporting lacked both humor and insight, “Vance is hep and linguistically frisky, he’ll do well on the Paris Hilton beat somewhere.”

Vance sent an e-mail titled “Paris Hilton beat,” asking “where do I sign up for that?” First CoffeeSM wrote back saying sorry, can’t help, been trying to get on it for years myself.

Nice to see Vance has more of a sense of humor than his writing would suggest. In all fairness he did do a good piece on the iPod DJ scene in a Chicago bar, “Bars hold iPod nights for iDrunk DJs,” more suited to his smug-Brit-among-the-wogs style.



One thing that slipped by was BenchmarkPortal’s latest eGain-sponsored study finding that SMB e-mail customer service still stinks – worse than that of the large enterprises.

You’d think that the one thing small and medium-sized businesses would have going for them would be that they can focus on customer service more than the big boys. Wasn’t that supposed to be the big competitive advantage – “Hey look, you’re just a number to them, to us you’re a real person, we care?”

You’d be wrong. In what’s being billed as the first eService benchmark study “focused exclusively on small and medium-sized businesses,” BenchmarkPortal found that online customer service provided by SMBs is “even worse than the service level offered by large enterprises,” according to company officials.

This is the second study in the State-of-eService Benchmarking Series sponsored by eGain. The first study, released in August 2004, focused on 300 enterprises in the US and Canada with more than $250 million in annual sales.

The goal of the second study was to assess the state of eService in SMBs with annual revenues between $10 million and $250 million (drat, First CoffeeSM just misses the cut).

First Coffee for June 9, 2005

June 9, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Miles Davis’s 1959 album Kind Of Blue, one of the best, er, evening activities CDs my wife and I have found:

As has been noted First CoffeeSM is not actually in attendance at Supercomm, but it’s pretty easy to follow things from the Mediterranean coast. Heck, with today’s technology it’d be easy to get married to someone in Chicago from here.

Paul Kapustka kicks off his coverage of FCC Chairman Martin’s speech Tuesday afternoon by saying “[c]alling broadband deployment his agency’s ‘top priority’ is about as exciting and contentious as it got…” Elsewhere he writes “[w]e don’t know, especially after a boring appearance here at Supercomm… what he intends to do as chairman of the FCC.”

Kapustka’s a good journalist, but was it really that boring and opaque of an appearance? By some standards, probably. By D.C.

First Coffee for June 8, 2005

June 8, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is an old favorite, 2004’s The Platinum Collection, Frank Sinatra during his Capitol Records years of 1953 – 1961:

More happening at Supercomm ‘05 Chicago, the town that Billy Sunday couldn’t shut down. As noted in yesterday’s column the Officially-Approved Show BuzzTM is Internet Protocol television, but triple play is getting some noise as well.

Alcatel hits a buzz twofer as company officials claim the company has “leadership in the area of providing triple play solutions, including Internet Protocol Television capabilities, to its customers.” If First CoffeeSM had a quarter for every “leading” he deletes from company statements this’d be First ChampagneSM instead, and sure enough Alcatel thinks they’re “the leading triple play solutions provider.”

Granted they have done over 25 IPTV deployments around the world, and at Supercomm they’re unveiling the Alcatel 7342 Intelligent Services Access Manager FTTU Gigabit Passive Optical Network, which they announced a week ago. They’re also introducing the 5750 Subscriber Services Controller, what company officials call “a comprehensive policy management solution” for service providers to use to centrally manage their customers and services.

In Alcatel’s view, this “unlocks the full revenue potential of triple play by offering an unprecedented user-driven environment.” They’re also announcing a collaboration with global chip maker Freescale Semiconductor to create GPON-standards compliant silicon to further advance the adoption of triple play services (voice, video and data) delivered via standard fiber to the home.



ZyXEL Communications, a provider of secure broadband networking and Internet connectivity and routing products, is stepping up to the triple-play plate to… hmmm, not a good metaphor there, sorry, ZyXEL. Anyway, the company’s demonstrating its triple play bona fides at Supercomm ‘05 Chicago, that toddlin’ town, showing off its suite of VoIP, ADSL and VDSL products to deliver quality voice, video and data integration to address what company officials describe as “the growing demand for triple play applications by telecommunications providers.”

Specifically, ZyXEL will showcase its Prestige 2000W v2 VoIP Wi-Fi phone, one of its most promising new technologies.

First Coffee for June 7, 2005

June 7, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bill Evans, from the Verve Jazz Masters series. As the liner notes say Evans never burst on the scene, people just gradually realized he was one of the most influential jazz pianists ever:

Okay, there’ll be a lot of news from Supercomm 2005 in Chicago in First CoffeeSM today, there’s a lot happening so let’s get to it.

One thing everybody’s talking about – so hey, it’s gotta be true, right? – at Supercomm ‘05 is Internet Protocol TV. IBM’s laying out their IPTV “vision,” Kasenna (“The IPTV Company”) is showing off what they bill as “the industry’s first fully integrated IPTV application suite,” Calix is demonstrating IPTV over ADSL2+, the oddly-named Scientific-Atlanta’s touting “the combination of our new, state-of-the-art IPTV set-tops… and a robust switched video network… to deliver new and exciting entertainment services to consumers,” plus all the reporters drinking on expense accounts are talking about it, so that’s good enough for First CoffeeSM.

Every show like this has to have some buzz, and although First CoffeeSM isn’t in Chicago – as they couldn’t drag First CoffeeSM out of the blues clubs until closing there wouldn’t be time for sober reportage anyway – the coverage indicates that this year’s Officially Approved Show Buzz™ is Internet Protocol television.

Entone Technologies, a provider of personal video content delivery products, and Neterion Inc. (formerly S2io Inc.), a provider of 10 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter products for servers and storage, have teamed up to provide the first 10 Gigabit Ethernet high-definition IPTV demonstration.

For the third consecutive year, the Metro Ethernet Forum has selected Entone as the IPTV provider for its SUPERDemo at Supercomm.

First Coffee

June 6, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the 1946 – 1959 Billie Holiday collection Lady In Autumn: The Best of the Verve Years, an oddly appealing era of emotion shining through her tattered vocal abilities:

Nortel today announced what company officials are calling a “major breakthrough” in enterprise communications, with the introduction of a new multimedia communications plug-in for Microsoft Office Outlook 2003.

Nortel’s new Multimedia Office Client is a stand-alone product using the “Office Anywhere” capabilities of Nortel’s Session Initiation Protocol-based Multimedia Communication Server 5100 and 5200.

The Multimedia Office Client will reside within Outlook 2003 as a toolbar that enables users to manage and personalize voice, video and text communications, and to initiate calls from a desktop phone or headset simply by clicking on a contact name, all from within Outlook 2003.

The Multimedia Office Client allows users to manage incoming calls in real-time –answering, rejecting or transferring calls, accessing voice mail via mouse and creating incoming communications rules to indicate how, where and by whom they can be contacted.

Service providers will be able to use this plug-in to complement hosted Microsoft Exchange services with VoIP and multimedia services, as well as offer integrated VoIP and multimedia services to enterprise-managed e-mail servers.

The Multimedia Office Client is now in customer trials and is expected to be generally available on the MCS 5100 and 5200 during the fourth quarter of 2005. Nortel will be demonstrating the Multimedia Office Client during SUPERCOMM 2005 (booth 39066) in Chicago.

Alan Stoddard, general manager, Multimedia Converged Networks, Nortel said over 400 million people around the world use Outlook.



On Friday the number of Skype downloads topped 100 million, and the company is launching two premium services, according to the Associated Press.

SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail are built into the latest version of the software, which is available for Linux, Mac OS, Pocket PC and Windows platforms, Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA said Friday.

SkypeIn offers customers regular phone numbers on which they can receive calls from landline or mobile phones without having to pay roaming charges. “Users can purchase up to three numbers from their home country in Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States during the initial test period,” the AP reports. It will cost $13 for three months and $39 for a year.

First Coffee

June 3, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the best album ever to emerge from Motown, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 What’s Going On:

Horsham, Pennsylvania-based CentraView LLC, a provider of Open Source Centralized Business Management software is being secretive about a deal they’ve signed with “an established software company” to develop its next generation of product and services offerings on CentraView’s software technology.

“CentraView recently secured a multiple six figure license agreement with an established software company” says Alan Rihm, CEO of CentraView. “We are unable to reveal the name of the company due to the private label nature of the agreement.”

Evidently the company in question, according to Rihm, had the choice of “building, buying or partnering with CentraView” and chose CentraView because the company felt that working with CentraView’s architecture and code base “would enable them to get to market faster, and reduce the risks and expenses associated with launching their new product and service offerings.”

Source code for the CentraView Open Source project is now available for download through Sourceforge.net. Built on the Enterprise Java platform and optimized for Linux and Windows environments, it uses open source technologies such as Linux (RedHat Enterprise and Fedora), Apache Tomcat, JBoss and MySQL.



For those who missed this announcement, VoX Communications, a packet communications services provider deploying wholesale, residential and business VoIP services nationwide, has announced plans to debut its total VoIP product at SUPERCOMM 2005.

VoX will demonstrate its wholly owned packet telephony technology and its advanced, nationwide network, terminating traffic with Global Crossing VoIP Outbound Services. VoX Communications' President Mark Richards said visitors to the IPCC booth “will be able to make calls using the most advanced wireless IP phones available over our advanced, nationwide network and packet telephony technology.”



PacificNet Epro, a provider of contact center and CRM products and a subsidiary of PacificNet Inc. has announced a partnership with Epicor Software Corporation, a provider of software for middle-market companies, to provide Customer Relationship Management for Chinese companies.

PacificNet Epro became a Value-Added Reseller of Epicor in August 2004. PacificNet Epro and Epicor’s partnership includes holding joint seminars to promote integrated products by the two companies.

The seminars have the catchy, if somewhat ambiguous title “Unlock the hidden risks and cost for not having an integrated CRM and CTI solutions,” a title written by the same guy who writes such snappy slogans for China’s Communist Party as “Fully utilize various levels of the Party organization as bases in a battle ground.”

The seminars cover the cost and risks faced by sales and marketing professionals that can lead to lost sales revenue and market share.

At the seminar Billy Lui, Business Solutions Manager, Epicor Software (North Asia) Ltd, demonstrated various CRM tools such as eMarketing, Sales Force Automation, Customer Service for better understanding customer needs and improving customer loyalty.

In addition Terry Leung, General Manager of System & Solutions of PacificNet Epro, demonstrated Epro’s WISE-xb Contact Center System with customizable Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and seamlessly integration with Epicor’s CRM software.



Bangalore-based software giant and global outsourcer Infosysmade the Business 2.0 list of the top 100 fastest-growing technology companies in the U.S., placing at #8.

And they’re not just running call centers.

First Coffee

June 2, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Guilty PleasureSM, ABC’s The Lexicon Of Love:

A good BusinessWeek article this morning by Burt Helm argues that the splashy SBC move to offer high-speed broadband at $14.95 is a gamble for SBC but a no-brainer win for Yahoo!. It is that, and First CoffeeSM thinks it’s also a big step towards ubiquitous VoIP among normal, ordinary non-tech geek consumers.

You’ve heard that yesterday SBC Communications cut its price by a quarter to $14.95 for DSL, and that Yahoo! will provide SBC’s customers with “services like e-mail, instant-messaging, and Web-hosting” for an undisclosed fee, as Helm writes.

First Coffee

June 1, 2005

By David Sims
david@firstcoffee.biz


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Son Volt’s 1995 album Trace, as good as alt-country ever got:

How do you compete with the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone in the German cell phone market? Dutch telecoms group KPN hopes cutting costs and raising customer satisfaction is at least part of the answer.

Today KPN announced it would “restructure its call centre activities” with newly-acquired call center company SNT to try to do just that. Reuters is reporting that the restructuring will cut about 630 jobs, “which are part of the overall 8,000 job cuts over five years that KPN announced on March 1.”

Taking an farsighted view, KPN officials believe the job reductions, up to 1,750 jobs annually through 2009, will help save an upwards of $1.05 billion a year from 2010 on. It expects more modest savings of about $200 million a year until then, Reuters reports.

The cut of 630 jobs at call center unit is “relatively high,” Nico van Geest at Theodoor Gilissen tells Dow Jones. “KPN had already indicated it would integrate recently acquired SNT, but this announcement comes sooner than expected,” Dow Jones reports.

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