Archive for the ‘Telecom’ Category

API Importance

March 14, 2006

Martin Geddes writes:

Marc Canter has an unmissable statistic: Did you know that 45% of all of eBay’s listings come in through their APIs?

As you might remember, at Sprint we were trying to open up the wireless side into an open technology and business platform. It failed, mostly for lack of a cultural imperative to drive in that direction.

Ebay’s business comprises two stages: someone lists an item (eBay gets paid for this), and someone buys the item (eBay gets paid for this too). They’ve taken all the friction out of the first half of their business. No human necessary! Only the actual purchase still requires a human click, and it can’t be too long until the shop-bots start to change that too. (Although we’re part-way there already.)

Now think about the traditional telephony business. I have to dial, you may have to answer. Voicemail part-automates the answering, generating more metered minutes. But you have to ask yourself: is it really the best you can do? Is it impossible to broaden the business model – temporary buddies, address book access, directory, etc.? Can’t you deepen it too, and automate previously manual business transactions via APIs?

Two-tier Internet?

December 18, 2005

The Boston Globe writes:

AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. are lobbying Capitol Hill for the right to create a two-tiered Internet, where the telecom carriers’ own Internet services would be transmitted faster and more efficiently than those of their competitors.

The proposal is certain to provoke a major fight with Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Time Warner Inc., and Microsoft Corp., the powerful owners of popular Internet sites. The companies fear such a move would give telecommunications companies too much control over a fast-growing part of the Internet.

The proposal supported by AT&T and BellSouth would allow telecommunications carriers to offer their own advanced Internet video services to their customers, while rival firms’ online video offerings would be transmitted at lower speed and with poorer image quality.

AT&T and other telecoms want to charge consumers a premium fee to connect to the higher-speed Internet. The companies could also charge websites a premium to offer their video to consumers on the higher-speed Internet. That could mean that a company like Yahoo might have to pay AT&T to send high-quality video to AT&T subscribers.

Telcos Morphing

December 8, 2005

WSJ writes:

Battling for customers in a quickly changing communications landscape, telephone companies are starting to roll out a range of new gadgets and services that combine wireless, landline and Internet access.

The wave of new products and services comes as phone companies are trying to grab market share and beat back stiff competition from cable operators, wireless carriers and, increasingly, Internet companies such as Google Inc. They are doing so by shifting their focus to growth businesses such as wireless and Internet access.

For consumers, the strategy could mean further discounts for packages of Internet, landline and wireless services — and a wider selection of services and gadgets.

Skype 2.0

December 3, 2005

Walter Mossberg writes about the new version that has just been launched:

the company plans to release a major new version of its phone-calling software, Skype 2.0, with added features — including video calling — and a cleaner interface. It is taking steps to make computer microphones cheap and easy to obtain. More importantly, it is moving its service off the computer to a new breed of Internet-based telephone handsets. I’ve been testing Skype 2.0, along with the new, cheap,

Skype-branded microphones and a new Skype-compatible phone that frees users from sitting in front of a computer while talking. Despite some flaws, this new combination of hardware and software generally worked well, and I believe it stands a chance of propelling Skype into the mainstream.