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News Archive - August 2009

Yahoo Messenger 10 beta: A legitimate Skype rival?
August 31, 2009
Yahoo introduces a new Yahoo Messenger 10 beta that appears to put a bit more emphasis on real-time communications with several new video-related features. Folks are asking whether this might be a strong competitor to Skype.
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Is it Time for Enterprises to Consider Session Border Controllers?
August 28, 2009
Many technology markets associated with VoIP and UC have been on the bubble for many years. Technologies such as VoIP firewalls and service delivery platforms have floundered for a while but never really crossed that line where we consider them a core part of the UC ecosystem. One of the markets that I've watched for a while that I feel may actually emerge from the noise is the technology known as "session border controllers" (SBCs).
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China Unicom in 3-year deal for Apple's iPhone
August 28, 2009
Apple's iPhone will go on sale later this year in China, the world's largest mobile market. Unicom may have to offer substantial subsidies to reach a competitive price, given that China Telecom said it would increase its budget for handset subsidies to 37 percent of wireless revenues.
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Microsoft Boosts VoIP With JahJah Partnership
August 25, 2009
JahJah unveiled a partnership with Microsoft aimed at improving the quality of VoIP calls made using Office Communications Server 2007 R2. JahJah is providing Microsoft's customers with SIP trunking services, thus allowing users to bypass traditional services providers like AT&T for long-distance calls.
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Microsoft dials up emerging-market phone push
August 24, 2009
Microsoft announced plans for mobile software that aims to allow people in emerging markets to access various Internet programs using lower-end feature phones.
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AT&T to require smartphone data plans
August 21, 2009
Beginning September 6, 2009, AT&T customers who activate or upgrade to a smartphone will need to sign up for an appropriate data plan. Existing smartphone customers active prior to September 6, 2009 will be grandfathered and exempt from the new policy. — Ouch! What about those customers who use a smartphone for purposes other than Internet access? And this is per phone, so those with family plans get to see their phone bills double?
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Google Denies Blocking Skype on Android Devices
August 21, 2009
Google denied that it is blocking VoIP services like Skype on Android devices, and said that full-featured VoIP apps are not available on Android phones only because developers have not yet created them.
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AT&T to take a "fresh look" at Internet calling for the iPhone
August 21, 2009
AT&T confirmed what many have suspected: its partnership agreement with Apple requires Apple to block VoIP, or Internet telephony, on the iPhone. In comments submitted to the FCC, AT&T said it plans to take a "fresh look at possibly authorizing VoIP capabilities on the iPhone for use on AT&T's 3G network." AT&T added that it would "promptly update" the FCC "regarding any such change."
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FCC takes a closer look at wireless industry
August 21, 2009
The Federal Communications Commission plans to look more closely at the wireless industry as it scrutinizes everything from the industry's billing practices to the state of innovation and competition in the market. The commission, headed up by newly appointed chairman Julius Genachowski, will open up two "notice of inquiries" to look at some of these issues.
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Google-AT&T-Apple fight over Net calls draws FCC interest
August 21, 2009
Apple and AT&T are expected to tell the FCC why Google's free voice application, called Google Voice, is banned from the Apple iPhone. Google is also filing comments.
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Video conferencing helping companies save, but at a cost to travel industry
August 20, 2009
Cisco says more than 300 corporate customers have deployed its TelePresence conferencing system. HP, whose conferencing clients include AMD and Nokia Corp., would not disclose how many clients it has for its system, called Halo. Cisco and HP also battle smaller videoconferencing companies for market share in the rapidly growing niche. — Smaller videoconferencing companies? They might be smaller companies, but they are giants in the videoconferencing space.
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Pidgin instant messenger adds video and voice support
August 20, 2009
The Pidgin instant messenger application, formerly known as Gaim, added support for video and voice chat over XMPP, the Jabber / Google Talk protocol. The voice/video protocol is referred to as Jingle in the XMPP standards. Will XMPP make SIP irrelevant?
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O2 allows mobile VoIP use, launches new wholesale broadband offering
August 19, 2009
German mobile operator O2 Germany has announced it has started to allow VoIP use on its wireless network. Previously all four of the country's mobile network operators have tried to block VoIP applications such as Skype, which allow customers to make cheap long-distance calls via broadband internet connections.
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Vonage Bundles International Calls, Voicemail Texts
August 19, 2009
Vonage is expanding its flat-rate VoIP calling service to include more than 60 countries and territories, including several countries in Europe, Brazil, South Korea, China, Australia, and India. Plus, they are adding text-to-speech conversion to their voicemail service. Perhaps most surprising is that the price is reportedly going to be the same $24.99/month they have charged for years.
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Microsoft's plan to get back in the phone game
August 19, 2009
Microsoft's efforts to regain lost ground in the mobile phone business will see the company offering two different versions of its operating system next year. The company will continue to broadly sell Windows Mobile 6.5 to a large variety of handset makers, while working more closely with several handset makers to sell phones built on a new version of Windows Mobile that has been several years in the making.
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Amex Launches Videoconference Aggregator, Point-Of-Sale Analytics
August 18, 2009
A new American Express Business Travel tool would extend private corporate telepresence networks to public facilities and, using the price, destination and purpose of a proposed travel booking, evaluate at the point of sale whether a remote conference would be a superior alternative.
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Dell shows prototype at China Mobile platform launch
August 17, 2009
China Mobile introduced a new mobile platform, and one of the presenting partners on hand has raised a few eyebrows: Dell is apparently offering a new mobile phone called the "Mini 3i" running the Android operating system.
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Verizon completes initial 4G wireless test
August 14, 2009
Verizon Wireless announced that it has completed initial testing of its 4G wireless service in Boston and Seattle. Their 4G service is based on Long Term Evolution (LTE).
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Sonus Cuts Again
August 13, 2009
Sonus says it will cut its workforce by "approximately 93 people," or about 10 percent of its headcount worldwide.
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RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure'
August 7, 2009
Research In Motion's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis stood up before the Canadian House of Commons industry committee meeting and made a plea to keep Nortel's Long Term Evolution (LTE) know-how in Canada, saying that the two companies had come very close to an acquisition deal both before and after the vendor filed for bankruptcy.
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Vonage Subscribers Go AWOL, Shares Plummet
August 5, 2009
Shares of Vonage plummet on news that the company posted a profit that is largely due to reduction in expenses. Perhaps troubling investors is the fact that Vonage's costs per subscriber are higher and the number of customers is on the decline. Still, the company seems to have a healthy subscriber base of 2.5M "lines". While the referenced article attributes customer decline to mobile, I suspect it might be MagicJack ($20/yr) or Skype ($36/yr), both of which are substantially lower than Vonage ($300/yr).
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Attack on audio and video conferencing made easy
August 3, 2009
UCSniff automatically detects video data transferred by VoIP telephones on the network, even when mixed with audio data. VideoJak can feed arbitrary video sequences into a network in order to, for example, fool video surveillance systems.
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Legal battle puts Skype's future in jeopardy
August 1, 2009
Apparently the creators of Skype, which was sold to eBay for $2.6B, never sold the underlying technology with the sale of the company. Now Joltid, the company that owns the technology and owned by the original Skype founders, has revoked Skype's license to use its technology. This is interesting to hear, since the founders had plotted to buy Skype back, only to be presented with IPO plans by eBay.
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