Chickens Coming Home to Roost … the Communications Saga Continues

Om’s post yesterday, Global Telcos Plotting a Skype Rival, has certainly set the blogging world abuzz. I thought is was "Much Ado About Nothing". But probably the most articulate post is Alec Saunders’ Voice 2.0 Chickens are Roosting, where he sees his forecast of four years ago bearing fruition. Some quotes:

Here’s the rub. Today’s rich user directories are held at companies like Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and the Internet. Applications, which are dependent on access to those directories, are being built to be dependent on not a telco network, but Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and the Internet. ….

The biggest asset a telco has today, believe it or not, is their billing system and the billing relationship with their customers. They have become shop keepers who sell voice services.

Let’s posit for a second that they do plan a Skype competitor. To be effective they will have to recruit a user base and a developer community in pretty short order. They’ll have to show developers how they can make money with their platform. And they’ll have to deliver a platform that provides the quality today that competitors like Skype already do.

He then delivers his somewhat challenging prescription for the telcos; in summary:

  1. Deliver on a standards based solution
  2. Provide a way for applications that require centralized network assets to run effectively
  3. Partner with one or more social networks on an open directory solution.
  4. Leverage their billing expertise to help developer monetize applications.

He concludes with:

But what do I know? I only predicted that all of this would happen 4 years ago. The chickens are finally coming home to roost.

Read the entire post for more details.

Wednesday morning (May 7) Dan York will be guest host of SquawkBox where one of the topics for discussion will be the concept of a "telco-based Skype competitor". Other posts to consider as background:

  • Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch: Skype Competitors Coming from the Telcos?
  • Carolyn Shuck, VoIP Princess: Skype-Killer from Telcos. Can Elephants Fly? (Carolyn and I are probably the only VoIP bloggers who can say PL/1 and bring back horror stories. Turns out we’re both experienced IBM 7090/7094 operators.)
  • Eric Lagerway, SIP That: 3G Skype Killer – Action or Words? "Over the past couple of years I have been approached by some of these incumbents that Om refers to in his story to do just what he is implying."
  • PhoneBoy: Voice over IP Weblog: Go Back toYour Roots, Carriers. "Hello, incumbent carriers? 2003 called and wants their idea back."
  • Ken Camp: Realtime Unified Communications: Telcos vs Skype – Will There Be a Battle? Or More Talk?

Tags: Skype, Om Malik, GigaOm, Alec Saunders, Voice 2.0, Andy Abramson, VoIP Watch, Carolyn Schuk, VoIP Princess, Eric Lagerway, SIP That, PhoneBoy, Ken Camp

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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