Subba’s Serendipitous moments

October 16, 2009

Will India ever emulate Finland?

I moaned about the state of broadband in India here. Based on some more research I found that the performance of broadband even in metros are poor. Reliability is an issue, committed performance are not delivered, and getting premium performance to test high bandwidth applications is impossible.

Let’s see Finland which has a small population, but has always had a strong, liberal telecom sector.

Finland introduced laws which guarantee broadband to every resident living in the country. This is the first such guarantee anywhere in the world. Starting July 2010, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection as an intermediate step, says the Ministry of Transport and Communications. By the end of 2015, the legal right will be extended to an impressive 100 Mb broadband connection for everyone.

Will India ever introduce such a guarantee? It would be mind boggling to see what the innovative entrepreneurial Indians will do with powerful broadband access!

We could just catapult to world stage as Korea did in this decade and the way China is poised to do in the next decade. And honestly, I don’t understand what’s holding them back!

August 2, 2009

Who is Google’s rival — Is it AT&T or Apple?

By now everyone is aware of how Apple managed to yank out Google Voice applications from the App Store. iPhone users will not have access to this application. This has caused an uproar in the blog world with some reputed bloggers mincing no words. The mainstream media has been quiet, proving once again that the blogging community is increasingly taking the lead in breaking news.

Unfortunately everyone who is involved — Google, Apple and AT&T have maintained a conspicuous silence.

Google Voice is clearly a major disruption. Through Google Voice, people can have one number for all of their phones, free long distance calling, and free text messaging. Two of these would obviously cut into AT&T’s bottom line, since users would no longer have to pay AT&T’s exorbitant service charges for messaging and cellular long distance.

It also is apparently easier to use than the dialer application from Apple itself.

So, in this case has AT&T been firing from Apple’s shoulder? I would believe so but for the fact that the Google Voice software works on Blackberry and so are other VoIP applications. I am not sure though whether the VoIP applications are allowed to run on AT&T’s networks though I am sure many other devices will be able to run Google Voice applications once Android phones are released in the market, which should be soon.

So, I am not entirely sure that it is AT&T which is exerting the influence to reject the Google Voice application from Apple’s Appstore.

Can it be Apple then? The only plausible claim that Apple can make is that it is a duplication of functionality as far as the dialer is concerned and that it could leave the customers “confused”. Clearly the AppStore is owned by Apple, and what it allows on the Appstore is their prerogative, but yet such a poor defence dents into Apple’s credibility. It cannot use a near monopoly position to thwart fair competition.

So, who is it that wants to block Google Voice? For those who do not know Google’s CEO — Eric Schmidt sits on the Apple board.

I think the players owe an explanation. Does it not become a fit case for the regulator (in this case the FCC) to investigate?

March 30, 2009

Skype in the Enterprise

Filed under: Business,Competition,Model — Subbaraman Iyer @ 2:13 am
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Saw the news item that Skype¬† is finally targeting the enterprise. Makes you wonder, why they didn’t do it earlier and what were they waiting for!

Few people know that Skype with 33 billion minutes of use is the largest provider of international voice traffic in the world. And it surpasses AT&T. More importantly, Skype grew by 41% in 2008, compared with traditional international call traffic at just 12%.

With revenues of $550 million in 2008, it is now trying to penetrate into the Enterprise segment with a view to grow aggressively.

Skype launched its Enterprise offering which enables employees to make domestic and international calls using normal PBX systems instead of using computers. The key dependency is that the PBX needs to support SIP (an open source PBX protocol)

This is another potential game changer, but Skype doesn’t have an enterprise sales team nor the alliance network to penetrate the enterprise. If Skype can find the right go to market model, some of the IP Telephony vendors could feel the heat.

Well, why they didn’t pursue paying customers earlier beats me! Worse, EBay paid $2.5 billion for Skype in 2005. My hunch is that EBay may very soon put up Skype for sale.

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