VoIP Predictions

Tom Keating finally got around to making his Top VoIP predictions for 2006. That’s Tom for you… Always waiting till the last second 🙂

They aren’t all VoIP related so let’s just call them predictions. He also went back to last year’s predictions and was honest enough to say where he was right and wrong.

In his predictions there are some real gems and perhaps my favorite one is as follows:

6) Microsoft buys Level3 – Ok, you’re probably thinking this prediction is from way out in Left field, but hear me out. Level3 has been burning cash for awhile, had to restructure debt, etc. While many won’t touch Level3 with a 10-foot pole due to their outstanding debt, Microsoft has the deep pockets to be Level3’s knight in shining armor. Level3 is one of the largest termination providers if not the largest in the world. Microsoft has been itching to break into the VoIP space for years. If Microsoft owns Level3 they can offer free worldwide long-distance (or heavily discounted) to anyone that uses their Windows Live Messenger client to entice people away from Skype or the impending Google Gtalk threat. Microsoft needs to do something drastic if they are going to get into the VoIP game. Remember General Norman Schwarzkopf’s famous "left hook" into Iraq that took the Iraqi army completely by surprise and is widely credited with shortening the war by 4 days? Well, Microsoft could pull a similar "left hook" that would leave Google and Yahoo scratching their heads saying, "Where the hell did that come from?"

Further, Microsoft can leverage Windows Mobile 5.0 smart phones install a Windows Mobile 5.0 compatible Windows Live Messenger client and then leverage inexpensive Level3 termination to offer price-competitive VoIP calling from Windows smart phones.

As Tom says, this would take the entire industry by surprise and would allow Microsoft to do lots of nifty things that competitors would be hard pressed to match. Another option of course is Google buying Level3. Google is really trying to build out its own network and it may realize at some point it is better to acquire than build. At least it’s faster and may be cheaper.

Here are my recent VoIP Predicitons.

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