03/05/2013 - Skype: Get Your Payment Act Together
Image via CrunchBase
Note to the Tony Bates-if you have customers, bill them as Skype, not an unknown, back office company. It's called Branding 101. You see, it's been a few years since Skype started to charge for services, so one would think that in an era of global transactions that they would get their payment act together, especially since they are now owned by Microsoft, but treated as an off-shore owned entity.
In the past they and many of the leading USA banks have had the same problem I've seen with other off-shore merchants-they fall into the high risk of fraud, so the credit card companies and banks take a careful look at their transactions. Now that Skype accepts the American Express card, a sign that more businesses are using Skype, one has to educte their credit card companies about them. At one point Skype and CapitalOne had issues, then Barclays, all in how they presented their data to to them.
Enter WorldPay, a European processor of credit card transactions. Today, the account security group of American Express flagged some renewals on various Skype accounts we use in my agency. Of course, Skype is who I do business with, but instead of Skype being the "merchant" presented to American Express, the name provided was WorldPay, a company that has only transacted business with me four times in the past few years, and those were for purchases in the UK.
It took a while with the very helpful AMEX rep, Ahmed, who basically said "oh, yes, we often see WorldPay flagged and it ends up being Skype."
8x8's CEO Bryan Martin was featured in an NBC TV news feature in the Bay Area about the second coming of the technology boom in Silicon Valley as the Nasdaq, where many tech companies list their stock reached a twelve year high. Watch the video.
My take--we're seeing a new renaissance of sorts in technology. Quickly we have moved away from a hardware based economy to one of apps and services. Devices, though being replaced faster and faster, are also more relevant longer because of it. A two year old Android or iOS device is still usable and able to present data taken from the cloud and presented, while the server in the cloud gets updated every so many months with faster chips, better code and is connected to a faster, lower loss network.
27/04/2013 - VoIP Companies Are Growing In San Diego
The San Diego area is known largely for bio-tech and mobile leadership, largely due to Qualcomm and its dominance on the local technology scene. But quietly, the region is becoming home to some of the more rapidly growing VoIP companies on both an infrastructure level.
Whose here? Well for starters here's three---Sansay, Phone.com and Telcentris.
Sansay, led by long time friend Andy Voss who co-founded Nuera Communications in 1995, continues to be a force in the Session Border Control sector. The little heralded technology, is an integral aspect of the telecom technology eco-system, making it pretty much a necessity for ITSPs and mobile operators to deliver high quality calling and services, including the ever increasing demand for real time video and WebRTC.
While the industry goes ga-ga over Broadsoft and its softswitch technology, without companies like Sansay and Acme Packet producing technology that insures the maximization of performance and profitability for IP communications companies to route, peer and secure telcos services, much of what makes VoIP able to be better than the PSTN wouldn't happen. With Oracle's recent acquisition of Acme Packet the likely need for SBCs will only increase down to the enterprise level on a regular basis is my guess.
Phone.com, with headquarters in Newark, NJ, recently outgrew their tech side office space in Poway, CA so they moved next door into bigger quarters, as the San Diego Business Journal noted, along with SoCalTech. The growth, and recent funding led by ff Venture Capital and the Edison Innovation Venture Capital Growth Fund shows that investment in IP based communications continues.
Telcentris, best known for their unified/social/OTT offering VoxOx also has recently been growing. They raised another $5,000,000 and made some strategic hires of late adding PR and Marketing exec Joe Lawrence from the CDG and Tristan Barnum, best known for being a co-founder at Switchvox, which is now part of Digium and befoe that working with long-time friend Michael Robertson at MP3.com.
25/04/2013 - OnSip Debuts Busy Lamp Field
One of the neat things about IP based calling companies is the fact that most are founded by innovators at heart. That's why today when I watched the video OnSip Busy Lamp Field note from CEO Mike Oeth, I just had to share it.
What the busy lamp field means is users can now see when someone is on the phone-whereever on the network they are. Sweet.
Poor PC sales contributed to a disturbing 25 percent year-over-year decline in Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) net income in the first quarter of 2013.
The company reported a net income of $2.05 billion, down from $2.74 billion in the first quarter last year. Revenue totaled $12.6 billion in the first quarter of 2013, compared to $12.9 billion in the same quarter last year.
Surprisingly, Intel's stock price did not decline after its financial results were released on Tuesday after the markets closed and instead was up slightly on erratic trading Wednesday.
The net income decline could also be attributed to high inventory write-off for the company building more chips than it needed in the quarter, as well as charges for excess manufacturing capacity for older production lines, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Intel said it expects its revenue to increase to $12.9 billion in the second quarter of 2013.
"Amidst market softness, Intel performed well in the first quarter and I'm excited about what lies ahead for the company. We shipped our next generation PC microprocessors, introduced a new family of products for micro-servers and will ship our new tablet and smartphone microprocessors early this quarter," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. Otellini will be stepping down from his post next month.
Intel has been struggling to move from a PC chip maker to a mobile chip maker, a market currently led by Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM). In fact, revenue from the company's mobile chip unit was down 9 percent in the first quarter, a steeper decline than its PC chip business, which only fell 6 percent, Wall Street Journal writer Tom Gara wrote in a blog post.
Perhaps investors were buoyed by Intel's predictions that the price of Windows 8 mobile devices could drop as low as $200 because of a new processor Intel is developing called the Bay Trail, Otellini told participants on the earnings conference call.
The Bay Trail chip is a redesign of the Atom micro chip that boosts performance close to mainstream Intel chips, according to an article in CNET. "Bay Trail is going to be a great product in that segment of the market and enable stunning performance relative to what the competition can bring," Stacy Smith, Intel's CFO, was quoted by CNET as saying. The Bay Trail chip is expected to be available later this year, the report noted.
Another explanation, offered by Gara, is that investors judged that Intel did well enough by only reporting a slight decline in revenue. Or as he titled his blog post: "Intel results: When not collapsing is good enough."
But will it be "good enough" to give Intel time to make the transition from PCs to mobile devices? Investors will need to see indications that the chip giant is in fact making the transition successfully.
09/04/2013 - WhatApp Rumors with Google and What May Happen
I love WhatsApp. I use it daily, especially to stay in touch with friends in Europe and elsewhere to avoid the costs of SMS. Sure, I can use GoogleVoice, but if those across the water don't have a US based GoogleVoice number it means an international SMS. Whatsapp helps me avoid that.
Recently rumors of a Google possibly making a purchase of Whatsapp made the rounds. And maybe there was some truth to it. Companies like Google always talk to smaller businesses about partnership or acquisition. Sometimes the negotitiations move along to a point where price is on the table, but often what Google and others like them are doing is looking under the hood to see if what's there fits into their long term strategy.
Candidly, the best buyer right now in Silicon Valley is Yahoo for WhatsApp, not the also rumored Facebook. The reason is simply this. Yahoo has basically moved in the direction of the mobile web, while Google is all about the browsable web. The fit between Yahoo and Whatsapp is likely better, as the Whatsapp team could likely be longer term players inside a new Yahoo and shape direction, while at Google it's all about Tim, Larry and Sergey and always will be for a long time. But at Yahoo, the opportunity has become more of a greenfield play.
But while all this is going on, and it goes on all the time, the best thing for WhatsApp to be doing is to keep driving user growth and to keep signing up mobile operators because in the end, those two metrics along with user retention and usage stats will be how the company is ultimately valued by whichever buyer pays the price.
09/04/2013 - AT&T Taps Boingo For Global Wi-Fi Roaming
First AT&T cut a data GSM deal with Jasper Wireless. Last week AT&T's Kris Rinne talked about AT&T shouldn't be called a dumb pipe and discussed how the new Ma Bell will do more to lower rates internationally. Today, AT&T tapped Boingo to start to put a dent in coverage holes and give their customers access globally with Wi-FI.
But while Boingo (a former client up to their IPO date) has hundred's of thousands of accessible access points worldwide, the way the press release was phrased leads me to believe that the access is limited to only the actual Boingo owned and operated hotspots, most of which are in major airports and large commercial building or sports facilities.
The key phrase is "managed and operated by Boingo's subsidiary, Concourse Communications Group." Those are not all of the access points in the Boingo worldwide network, but are indeed the ones that Boingo can do things like guarantee a level of service and insure that access really works.
In a lot of ways this is good for Boingo, and their partners. Too often some providers of Wi-Fi hotspots lag in keeping up with all the new standards or implement odd ball authentication schemes that make it difficult for early adopters, or Mac users, to connect. Having experienced this roaming issue first hand as a multi-account Boingo subscriber, I have also expeirenced how effortlessly all my apps work when I connect at a Boingo operated airport vs. a roaming partners' network. VoIP, Video, collaboration and cloud services sometimes work at partner locations. At Boingo locations, everything works.
And for AT&T and their customers, the gold standard approach dictates that everything has to work, or the cost to support it outweighs the value offered.
04/04/2013 - Say Goodbye to DSL, Hello to LTE
It's no surprise that DSL installations are on going the way of the dinosaur from the USA's larger telcos as that news is over a year old. But the reason is LTE is cheaper for the operators to install, and there are no wires to maintain. Today's formal launch of HomeFusion by Verizon Wireless, while pricier than the wired DSL lines means higher speeds, data caps and possibly some restrictions on what services you can access.
I say possibly some restrictions because my experiments with Verizon Wireless' LTE modems have yielded mixed results when I use over the top VoIP and Video services, as well as some challenges with IP based conferencing services because of how Verizon passes traffic or doesn't. They seem to double NAT which causes some IP communications providers fits, especially SIP traffic, and my attempts to get answers on this or organize calls between service providers and Verizon's engineering team have yielded no success, all the way up through their very polite Executive Response team.
But the good news is for those who have been speed challenged by wire, the new HomeFusion means higher speeds, higher bills and less time to download. Overall this is a win for those who are not as much in need of an always on, all IP based lifestyle of business.
02/04/2013 - Oracle In Telco-Look At FreeSwitch
With the purchase of Tekelec and Acme Packet one has to be wondering if market leading Broadsoft is next on Oracle's buying spree. While it's a possibility, I think the game plan is more of a surround strategy, than buy the company that would immediately grant SAP a licence to start working with every other telco and switch manufacturer on the planet. Basically, Broadsoft has so many customers that would feel Oracle's moves are too competitive in the long run they would begin to look at options. Oracle isn't buying up pieces to not make more money. What Mark Hurd is doing though is taking the parts that HP would have had if they continued on the path of being big in telecom and establishing the foundation to sell more appliances that are tied to the Oracle cloud.
Instead I would start to look heavily at the open source offering from Freeswitch the same way that Oracle now looks at Java. As an eco-system enabler. If Oracle gets behind Freeswitch then Broadsoft has to really start to start to look at other M&A options. Freeswitch according to many devs and CTO's I speak with is far more flexible and provides options that avoid the walled garden, royalty laden approach of Broadsoft.
01/04/2013 - Why Google Loves WebRTC
Todd Carothers' well penned post about WebRTC is totally in line with my thinking about the new technology. Lot's of money will be made, a bunch of startups will enter the space, many will die off, some will be successful, some will be acquired and of course, there will be Google, this decade's Yahoo or AOL-where new ideas come forth, some get acquired and others die. But for Google WebRTC is a big market opportunity, something that Todd points out when he wrote, and I quote:
"Meets Google’s modus operandi to implement technologies that better help it understand it’s users to sell advertising."
By this I mean the holy bucket of money that's sitting on the sidelines, not yet even coming into YouTube's coffers. I'm talking "commercials." Worldwide television commerical ad spend dominates and Google isn't even in the running today at getting much of the spend. But, as WebRTC technology improves now delivery of content, content that is dropped into a call, or around a conference call flourishes. Google's already figured out how to target ads, so as Sending Party Pays becomes the pay model for delivery of rich and massively sized data over other parties networks, users of Google's WebRTC technology (i.e. inside the Chrome browser, on Android devices and Chromebooks) all get served up television like commercials.
This takes Google smack into the middle of your viewing experience. And, delivers it for free to you. Your devices become like televisions. Remember when houses had more televisions than people? Well if you apply the same approach to laptops, smartphones and tablets, plus monitors and all, with WebRTC totally web browser centric Google can give away Chromebook and Chromepads all day long and recoup their money with targeted delivery of commercials.
It's the era of the all knowing about you, and your calling habits, your friends and relationships, plus your calendar and social patterns are what Google is collecting. Add in the delivery of commercials you want to watch and that can impact your lives, and Google wins.
Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI) plans to cut staff by 140 positions in an effort to reduce annual costs by $16 million to $18 million and refocus from PC accessories to mobile products, the company announced Friday.
The layoffs, around 5 percent of the firm's non-direct-labor workforce, are part of a realignment by Logitech's new President and CEO, Bracken Darrell, who took over the helm at the computer peripherals firm from Guerrino De Luca in January.
Wall Street was not sure how to react to the announcement. Logitech's stock price initially jumped in early morning trading Friday, from $6.78 to $6.84, then dropped to $6.77 and finally closing at $6.80.
"As we align the organization with our strategy to become a faster, more profitable company, we have also created opportunities to become more focused, improve operational effectiveness and even deliver additional cost savings that will contribute to improved profitability. These actions support our goals to develop outstanding mobility- and PC-related products, streamline our cost structure and achieve faster times to market," Darrell said.
Logitech expects a pre-tax cash charge of between $12 million and $14 million in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2013 year related to severance and termination benefits, according to its 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The firm said that the number and timing of the layoffs could vary depending on its "ability to implement the workforce reductions in various geographies; possible changes in the size or timing of the workforce reduction or the expected related costs and charges; and risks associated with Logitech's ability to achieve planned expense reductions and improved performance, efficiencies and profitability."
In its most recent quarter, Logitech reported a net loss of $195 million on $615 million in revenues, a 14 percent year-over-year decline. The net loss was due to a $211 million accounting charge related to its video conferencing reporting unit, which includes its LifeSize unit.
The computer peripherals firm is responding to changes in the market, in which IT spending on smartphones surpassed PCs for the first time, according to 2012 stats from IDC. As part of that effort, Logitech released in February the iPad Mini version of its iPad ultrathin keyboard cover.
02/03/2013 - AT&T: I Expected Better
AT&T and T-Mobile are in a war of words, using stats to confound and confuse and basically fighting a battle of whose is bigger...the most recent ads though by AT&T seem to go into the sewer after T-Mobile sought to keep the fight on the street. As a longstanding customer of both companies, it hurts to see wasted efforts like these when they both should be pouring their money into making for a better customer experience, not having a war of words, which in reality, don't solve the problems.
When it comes to mobile operators in the USA, I'm a customer of all four mobile operators. The reason? Coverage, or the lack of it in many places. Where I live, and where I travel means I need the flexibility and reliability that none of them really can deliver. In the USA coverage is huge issue and while there's a steady battle on about dropped calls, speeds and failed calls, the reality is that tower locations are getting harder to find, in building coverage is a challenge and backhaul for data is getting deeply constrained.
Over the past year my primary mobile device has become the iPhone, and while I started using it more than my BlackBerry on T-Mobile becuase of the apps, and no other reason, I still used my BlackBerry on T-Mobile heavily for two things. Email and BlackBerry Messenger. Up until the arrival of the iPhone 5, the iPhone on AT&T was my lead phone and carrier for calls, not because the network was better, but simply because it was the phone that worked best in the car with the least distraction to make or take calls. When the iPhone 5 arrived, I bought two of them. One each on Verizon Wireless, and another on AT&T-both unlocked.
Since its arrival, the Verizon phone has seen the bulk of the voice minutes which previously used to go to AT&T, and the reason is simple. Coverage but certainly not call quality. What happened recently in San Diego, and likely elsewhere is as AT&T "upgraded" their networks to LTE the voice coverage patterns changed, with places like my favorite breakfast joint losing coverage and other places like the freeway, adding better coverage. A long talk with folks inside AT&T Network determined that the changes to the network coverage in San Diego County caused this and what's more I was offered to be let out of any contracts.
But, as someone who travels, leaving AT&T wasn't the answer. Being polyamourous was.
My issue with Verizon though is different. The vagaries of call quality are very evident, especially when calls to me originate on Skype, go through GoogleVoice or come from or go to another mobile operator. The transcoding, and network hopping of voice calls today in the USA is so bad that its not about dropped calls, speeds and failed calls. No, its about quality.
My guess is that Sprint wins on quality, not because they have a bigger footprint. They don't. Simply because they have less people on their network. You don't see Sprint playing in this game of gutter ball. Nor Verizon. Both are taking the high road, and I hope they stay there, because, gutter ball marketing has a way of coming back to bite you, and customers have a long memory.
What's really going on here is the new T-Mobile model of no contracts is going to hurt AT&T the most, because they are playing the accounting game, and have been for many years, not the sales and marketing game, where the customer is who matters. T-Mobile is, and in doing so, the strategic level battles that are going on began before merger was begun. If I was a betting man, T-Mobile was hoping for a DoJ rejection of the sale, as the strategy that has unfolded ever since --Metro PCS merger, switch to LTE, getting spectrum as part of the breakup fee, etc., all seems to pat.
AT&T-your legacy demands you do better. Getting into a gutter war, is not what I would have expected. There are other ways to win back your customers. It starts with being a different kind of company, not a gutter ball war.
27/02/2013 - Has Google Given Up On GoogleVoice?
googlevoice fluid app icon (Photo credit: benlundquist)
When one thinks about GoogleVoice one has to wonder if the team at Google has given up on it.
Let's face the facts, not much is really new with it, and what has been new has been more iterative post GrandCentral (my agency was one of two agencies that helped make it what it was and I was a founding option-holder.)
While there are now apps to do things with GoogleVoice on smartphones and tablets, no real easy to implement smarts have found their way into the service that millions of people love to use. For example, we're still stuck with manually setting up do not disturb, even if it can be a timed DND. But while calls get blocked, SMS notifications of calls still come through. Transcription is still very mechanical, and often error prone, while tighter integration with GoogleApps and Gmail seems to be missing. Sure you can send your messages to your GMAIL, but texting with threading isn't there, you have to go to the GoogleVoice web page to see that, or be using a mobile app on your smartphone. There's also been no enterprise oriented efforts to beef up the service to do more between groups of users within the same company nor has any conferencing or group messaging been added to the mix. Even something as obvious as a GoogleVoice integration with Hangouts is lacking, where an SMS could go from a Hangout organizer or scheduled Hangout from the Google Calendar using GoogleVoice is absent. About the only integration we've seen is either with contacts, or with Sprint as a GoogleVoice customer's mobile operator, with number porting. Nice, but that's more than a year old news.
The bottom line is most of what we have today with GoogleVoice we had when GrandCentral was its name. As a loyal GoogleVoice user I look forward to the day when there's more to it than we have now, but sadly, I won't be holding my breath.
20/02/2013 - Microsoft unveils Lync-Skype connectivity
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced on Tuesday the long-rumored connectivity between users of its Lync unified communications (UC) platform and its Skype VoIP service.
As a result, Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, instant messaging and telephony will be available to Lync users by June. However, the addition of video to the Skype-Lync connectivity is not coming for 18 months, explained Tony Bates, president of Microsoft's Skype division, in a blog.
During his keynote address at Microsoft's first Lync user conference, Bates said: "When we brought Lync and Skype together as one division, we had the opportunity to deliver this incredible communications experience and do it to scale... To that end, we have to break down the barriers so that you don't have to switch from one path to the other. That is why we are so excited that Lync 2013 is connecting with Skype."
Bates related that Lync has 5 million seats of enterprise voice deployed, up from 3 million just 14 months ago, and 90 out of the Fortune 100 companies are Lync customers.
Skype is expected to reach $2 billion in annual sales for the current fiscal year, close to the size of its SharePoint business, Giovanni Mezgec, general manager in the Skype division, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
In his blog entry, Bates noted that Crestron, Logitech's (Nasdaq: LOGI) LifeSize, Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) and SMART have agreed to bring Lync Room System, Microsoft's new collaboration-enabled conference room platform, to market. Lynch Room System can push the Lync server software into conference rooms with insufficient voice and video capabilities, explained an article in PC World.
Microsoft will make Lync 2013 mobile apps available for Windows Phone 8 and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS devices in early March, with mobile apps for Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android the following month, Bates noted.
Microsoft has added VoIP and video over IP to all of its apps as well as the ability for iPad users to view shared desktop and app content in a Lync meeting, Bates wrote.
Microsoft is also delivering other Lync products in the next 18 months: a new Lync server in the second quarter of 2014, along with quarterly Lync Online updates; enterprise voice support for Lync Online and Office 365; structured meeting support for Lync Online to enable the transition of Live Meeting customers to Lync; and interoperability between Lync and third-party video teleconferences.
The marriage of Lync and Skype makes sense from a UC perspective. Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011 for a staggering $8.5 billion, has been a leader in consumer VoIP, while Lync supports SIP trunking for enterprises.
20/02/2013 - Skype and Lync Get Joined at the (mobile) Hip
Long suspected and not at all far fetched since Skype was acquired by Microsoft was the marriage of Lync and Skype. The reason for the purchase was the foresight of Lync lead Dr. Joe Williams who saw how the two could work together and at the same time, the looming threat Skype posed if independent of Microsoft. Now with the news today, as reported by Fierce, mobile apps will be where the two converge first.
When you take stock of the Skype acquisitions of GroupMe and Qik, both of which were mobile centric, those pieces fall nicely into where MSFT wasn't with Lync. MOBILE.
Now the two will be joined at the hip, making the enterprise extended to the mobile space.
20/02/2013 - Survey Reveals Mobile Users Prefer Voice Over IP
The professional PC market in the U.K. returned to growth in the fourth quarter after two consecutive quarters of declining sales, despite an overall decline in PC sales in the quarter, according to the latest stats from Gartner.
Overall, PC shipments in the U.K. totaled 3.1 million units in the fourth quarter, down 0.7 percent year-over-year due to slower consumer PC shipments. For all of 2012, U.K. PC shipments declined 3 percent to 11.7 million units.
In Western Europe as a whole, the professional PC market declined 4.9 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, much less than the home PC market, which dropped 17.6 percent year-over-year. The decline in the professional PC market was less pronounced because of replacement PC sales, judged Gartner.
"The PC market in Western Europe is in a downward spiral. In 2012, it experienced the second consecutive year of decline, but less steeply than in 2011, when the PC market in Western Europe decreased 14 percent. The second consecutive yearly decline indicates that the issues the PC market faces are beyond a weak economy, a poorly understood new operating system, or Ultramobiles being priced too high to generate demand," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Hong Kong-based computer maker Lenovo climbed into second place in the professional PC market in Western Europe with a 4 percent sales increase in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Success in Europe propelled Lenovo to its best quarter ever. The firm posted $9.4 billion in sales for its fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, a 12 percent year-over-year increase.
Lenovo shipped 14.1 million PCs in the quarter, a 7.9 percent year-over-year increase, giving it a 15.9 percent global PC market share, according to IDC data. It posted earnings of $205 million for the quarter, an increase of 34 percent over the same quarter last year.
The PC maker is diversifying its base from the PC market, acquiring U.S.-based cloud provider Stoneware in the quarter.
It recently realigned its product development and supply chain organizations to create two new groups: the Lenovo Business Group, which focuses on PCs, mobile Internet and digital home products, and the Think Business Group, which focuses on Think-branded products targeting high-end consumers and enterprises.
18/02/2013 - Spotlight: Logitech unveils desktop webcam
Computer peripherals maker Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI) has unveiled a desktop webcam designed for the enterprise videoconferencing market. The Webcam C930e provides a wide-angle field of view as well as support for popular video coding standards and high-definition digital pan-tilt-zoom capabilities. The webcam is optimized for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Lync but is compatible with most unified communications and videoconferencing platforms. According to a November Forrester survey sponsored by Logitech, 60 percent of enterprises had implemented desktop videoconferencing and 18 percent planned to implement it. Read more
Image via CrunchBase
In a prior era Skype was trying hard to get close to mobile operators. They had established deals with Three and Verizon Wireless and a few others around the globe. That all seemed to go on hold when Microsoft acquired the company and the focus became more surrounding integration with the rest of what Microsoft does.
Just yesterday news started to leak out of Russia that Skype is now supporting carrier billing meaning consumers can buy credit and charge it to there bill. To me, this is no surprise as Microsoft about 18 months ago started to view the mobile operators as their next channel of distribution. If you look at the mobile operators in the GigaOm post, Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon Wireless, all but Telus were on the short list of operators MSFT wanted to get close to first, starting in 2011. The others, AT&T and Vodafone, as well as China Mobile will likely come on board soon.
Fast forward to today. Dell becomes a major part of the Skype eco-system and the mobile operators and their billing platforms become the furture of online retail for Dell and all of Microsoft. The Microsoft - Dell loan is much like what Microsoft did many years back to help keep Apple alive, as it props up a competitor of sorts, but makes them a partner. But now, with the mobile operators and Microsoft being cozier, the distribution channel for Dell reopens in a bigger way. With Dell building tablets and PCs' as well as smartphones, one has to wonder why Microsoft needs Nokia much longer other than for manufacturing.
Now with Dell private, MSFT can make moves with Dell--possibly taking over the Nokia manufacturing facilities, using Dell's logistics and blending the clouds of Azure and BOOMI...
04/02/2013 - Acme Packet Bought by Oracle
Acme Packet (AKPT) makers of session border controllers and related real time communications technology has been acquired by Oracle, reports the New York Times this morning and others including Reuters.
This is an interesting grab by one of the tech world's true giants because it sqaurly puts Oracle into a game where they begin to compete with the giants of telecom, many of whom run Oracle software to drive things including SBC's, media gateways and firewall technology that's sold. What's more it means that for companies which compete with Acme Packet, like Sansay, a San Diego based private company founded by friend Andy Voss, that they now have an even bigger opportunity to take away market share from Acme Packet with Sansay's home grown technology that is viewed by many of their customers to be better, faster, more reliable and from whom they get real insight into VoIP network and topology issues. If nothing else, it increases Sansay's valuation, and will likely cause others in the space like Sonus to all embark on a very aggressive partnering and sales effort as mergers like these often cause attrition, if not immeditely, over the first 18 months.
How Oracle integrates a Real Time Communications business into their portfolio, and what this means for things like their cloud offerings is yet to be known. What this will do though is create excitement in the valley and across the country, as this will likely trigger companies like Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Juniper Network, F5 and others, as well as security and firewall companies to realize that they now have a giant that knows how to sell in and through in both to legacy as well as startups, forcing them all to become as nimble as Oracle is. I would not be surprised to see SAP want to get in the game, and they would be wise to look no further than Voss and his Sansay team.
MIAMI-- Sangoma unveiled four new session border controllers (SBCs) designed for implementation in virtual machine environments, the IP communications firm announced here at the ITExpo East conference on Wednesday. Three of the new SBCs are part of the firm's Vega enterprise SBC series and the fourth is a member of the NetBorder carrier SBC product line. Commenting on Sangoma's announcement, Diane Myers, principal analyst with Infonetics Research, said the firm's new SBCs enable "enterprises already using a VM architecture to integrate SBC functions within the existing operating environment" and incorporate "transcoding capabilities right in the box," which "should engender interest from the enterprise space." Read more
Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI) is taking a $211 million accounting charge against its fiscal year 2013 third quarter earnings due to a slowdown in its videoconferencing business, particularly the LifeSize unit, the company said in a statement.
Better known for its computer peripherals, Logitech also has a $440 million videoconferencing business that includes LifeSize, Sightspeed, Paradial and Mirial.
"The enterprise video conferencing industry has experienced a slowdown in recent quarters and consequently, through this period, the video conferencing reporting unit has not sustained the growth Logitech originally anticipated. Logitech does not expect this accounting write down to affect its business or financial performance beyond the recently completed third quarter," Logitech said.
For its 2013 third quarter, Logitech reported a disappointing $615 million in sales, a 14 percent year-over-year decline, and a net loss of $195 million compared to a net income of $55 million in the fiscal year 2012 third quarter. Its operating loss of $180 million was due primarily to the $211 million accounting charge.
In addition to the accounting charge, Logitech blamed its disappointing results on a slowdown in the global PC market. The one bright spot was strong demand for its tablet keyboard covers.
"These results are unacceptable and we are taking decisive action as an outcome of my strategic review… We plan to expand our presence in the growing tablet accessories category with the launch of a number of exciting new products later this quarter," said Bracken Darrell, Logitech's president and CEO.
Logitech also plans to sell off its Harmony line of remote controls and digital video security business and discontinue its speaker docks and console gaming peripherals by the end of this year, added Darrell, who only recently assumed the CEO post.
Logitech's stock price dropped 6 percent on Wednesday in response to the poor financial results.
Satellite operator Inmarsat has partnered with Metaswitch Networks to provide VoIP products as part of its Global Xpress broadband network set to launch worldwide in 2014. Inmarsat operates a fleet of 10 satellites and offers mobile and fixed satellite communications services providing broadband, voice and machine-to-machine communications services to enterprise, maritime and government customers. Metaswitch is providing Inmarsat with its Metaswitch universal media gateways, MetaSphere multimedia telephony application server, MetaView network management system and Perimeta session border controllers. Read more