Monday, February 28, 2005

Teleo, Damaka, Peerio - if this is the best anyone can do Skype has already won.

I make time to try new VoIP services, particularily softphones or IM like products when they are released, and I have to say I really don't get what goes through someones head when they try to get into this market.

Neither of the aformentioned - Teleo, Damaka, Peerio (vaporware until the release something that actually does something), or Voiceglo have the feature list that Skype offers or will offer soon. Presence is an afterthought if even thought of at all, NAT firewall issues, install problems, the list goes on and on. Here are some words of advice to any other VoIP provider that wishes to enter the P2P telephony space. Skype has 150 000 downloads a day, if you want to compete with them then take your time and release a product that actually is as good if not better. Concentrate on your feature set, make the GUI a high priority and don't crash my PC. You only get 1 chance to knock Skype off my PC, cause' it works and everyone I do business with uses it. I am not changing unless you give me a killer app. that forces the change.

Skype is only vulnerable in the following areas and they won't be for long, concentrate here and you might actually disrupt the apple cart. Your app. would have to be standards based (SIP), P2P to keep your costs of new users at zero, firewalls have to be irrelevant, access to the media stream to people can build IVR's and use your network, offer a non-gui service versions for integration to other apps., have presence as one of your key selling features, non-proprietarty voicemail format, offer all platforms of OS both mobile and fixed as well as hardware enabled devices - and lastly whiteboard and video. Unless you hit the market with all of those features in release 1.0, you haven't a chance at this market, Skype has too big of a lead you have no time to "get better" you have to "be better". To give Peerio credit, they claim to be able to do this, so in my mind they have the only chance of upsetting Skype today by concentrating on the business market opposed to residential, but as I mentioned they haven't released anything other than promises and I have never spoken to anyone that has actually witnessed first hand seeing the product. I am supposed to meet with a biz dev. person in March from Peerio, I hope to have more info. about them at that point.

That is the word according to me, take it for what its worth.. :)

SKYPE: The Programme That Will Eat the Lunch Of African Telcos

I take a lot of thing for granted, cheap LD and Broadband internet service for starters - stories such as this one, about how the incumbent telco's in Africa (Telekom Kenya- in particular) are reacting to VoIP services encroaching on, what I can only describe as extortion like rates for international communication, really "boil the blood" so to speak. 1 dollar US a minute??? for international LD.. you have to be kidding me.

I don't profess to be an expert in African politics, but to me it seems pretty clear that this is an example of a network of government run telco's controlling media and communication only allowing the rich to get richer and ensuring their continued prosperity. It is a good way to keep yourself in the corrupt power you have become accustomed to. Heaven forbid actually encouraging people to organize and freely speak, you might actually drag your country into shared prosperity. Once again, these luddite telco's should be concentrating on providing ubiquitous broadband, not screwing people on voice costs.

In the lack of real competition, the enduser gets screwed, it happens everytime. Skype or (VoIP in general) levels the playing field, communication is a fundamental part of the matrix needed to change thinking, and VoIP services provide an excellent platform to speed development, aid and education.

I would hope, and now thinking I will look into it, that my government would be quite vocal about this type of corruption in developing third world countries that we provide aid to. Encouraging open and free communication, you would think, would make it a lot easier to bring a society into its own.

EDIT** - April 26th. Looks like Uganda is actually blocking Skype, adding to the UAE - this is hopefully a trend that can be stopped somehow. Perhaps a randomly changing proxy etc.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

Few writers have made any real impact on me, Hunter S. Thompson did. He was good. What came from Hunter's ether induced musings was always great, regardless of your personal feelings towards the subject matter, it induced controversy & thought moreso then any of the followers that taken up his pioneering work in Gonzo Journalism.

Hunter S. Thompson - 1938-2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Skype on Microsoft Smartphones

This is a big deal in the world of Skypeland. First; this week they announce a Partnership with a Japanese landline and infrastructure provider called HGC - to offer a cobranded Skype client and voice communication service to its user base. I applaud HGC as they "get it" delivering the pipe is much more important than the services that run on it, or I should say delivering the pipe is a much more compelling (and profitable) business to be in. Other telco's should heed this trend, the more prolific broadband becomes the less profitable voice service is. It is pretty basic reasoning.

Now it is rumored that Skype is going to be developed on a Windows Smartphone device. I wrote about an interview with Niklas Zennstrom, CEO of Skype, speaking of the plans to develop Symbian and Palm OS versions of Skype for mobile users, so it looks like it is moving forward quickly.

3GSM World Congress coverage: i-mate to announce partnership with Skype at 3GSM
February 08, 2005 [Pocket PC phone]
Jim Morrison, Founder & CEO of i-mate will announce partnership with Skype, thanks to which Skype will be integrated into i-mate branded Windows Mobile devices. i-mate devices are the first in the world to be integrated with Skype technology.

This announcement will take place on i-mate's yacht, the Bellissima at 06.00 PM on Monday Feb 14th. Aboard the Bellisima yacht Elec Cookie - a rising Korean electric violin band will play music for the enjoyment of press:

So in any wireless broadband coverage area, Wifi, 3G - you will have full voice and IM functionality on your handheld with no cost other than your data. This is very powerful and very disruptive at the same time.

The imate looks like a great unit as well.