everything about the european voip market: trends, startups, news and reviews


VoIP Killed The PBX Star

richard tehrani over at tmcnet, has a nice overview of the future - or lack thereof - of the pbx market. i don't entirely subscribe to his point of view that the success of voice over ip will kill off the pbx market. as he correctly points out, traditional pbx companies such as avaya, have been making a killing selling voip-based pbx's

i'm not convinced that a software only p2p ip based communication system will be an easy sell. companies traditionally have come to expect a physical system installed at their premises. a software based solution will not replace traditional - or even new ip-based - phone systems overnight, just as the asp-based model hasn't made us replace all our in-house servers for a hosted solution.

let's not forget that telephone systems are of critical importance to businesses and our dsl and cable internet connections have not yet offered the same amount of stability as we've come to expect from traditional phone lines. having your website down for an hour because of internet connection problems is one thing, but not being able to answer the resulting phone calls is entirely different matter that businesses will not accept.

here's a short overview of how the market will be segmented according to tehrani's vision:
  • Asterisk based solutions. Asterisk has been taking over the telecom marketplace by storm, much as Linux did with the operating systems market. there is a tremendous amount of opportunities for smart, flexible business to introduce Asterisk based solutions or provide consulting and support for this software.
  • P2P solutions. Skype has been incredibly succesful in introducing the p2p concept in the telecommunications industry. many other companies, such as nimcat networks and popular telephony are trying to push this technology into the business telecom market, with variable success.
  • Small business solutions. Companies such as Epygi have been quite successful in introducing small - router-like - stateless devices that offer basic voip functionality while being easy to manage. currently, the devices are still a bit overpriced and companies in this segment may expect quite some competition from both low-cost Asterisk based solutions and larger brands such as Linksys who will inevitably introduce pbx systems based on the same form-factor and price structure as their current router/gateway offerings.
In short, the battle is definitely not yet over, and it's far from clear if a single winner will come out. there have been a number of acquisitions by big companies getting their feet wet, and it remains to be seen how successful they will be in introducing their products in a - for them - new marketplace. in the mean time, it's up to smaller companies to get their products ready and secure a piece of the pie


Intel and Digium Jointly Develop Driver

this is great news for digium who've been working passionately on their open source pbx software for the past few years. mark spencer and the entire asterisk community have created a wonderful product and it's nice to see that industry leaders have finally acknowledged this. the driver for intel's dialogic cards will only be available in asterisk business edition.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 20, 2005--Digium Inc., the creator of Asterisk and pioneer of open source telephony, today announced that it will incorporate support for Intel NetStructure(R) and Intel(R) Dialogic(R) products in Digium's Asterisk Business Edition software platform. Intel and Digium will jointly develop a channel driver that will enable Asterisk Business Edition on Intel(R) modular hardware and software building blocks. As a result, Asterisk Business Edition will support one of the most established telephony card vendors and bring businesses more advanced features and functionality when they use an Asterisk-based telephony system with Intel components.


ebay acquires skype

it's official, ebay has acquired skype:

London, September 12, 2005 – eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY; has agreed to acquire Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA, the global Internet communications company, for approximately $2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration. The acquisition will strengthen eBay’s global marketplace and payments platform, while opening several new lines of business and creating significant new monetization opportunities for the company.


ebay + skype ?

according to the rumor mill, ebay is set to acquire luxembourg based skype. and again i'm royally late reporting it. i've long given up trying to get the scoop on things. so instead i intentionally waited a bit longer to see if any interesting news came out in the wake of the scoop. it seemed to have paid off, somewhat.

of course both companies are keeping their mouths shut and have, until now, not given an official response to the rumours. however, the rumour caused ebays share to fall 4%, apparently because investors are concerned "about uncertainty surrounding eBay's strategic reasons for possibly pursuing Skype, as well as any dilution of eBay's shares from an acquisition." the pricetag for the most popular voip provider is estimated to be between $3 billion and $5 billion.

however the founders, zennstrom and friis, are known to be a bit of rebels. their previous venture, the file sharing service kazaa, kicked up some dust as well. yet the duo kept on going their own course and kazaa made it to the most popular p2p service in no time. today, they may be much more interested in a big ipo, but they'll have to create some value for that.

in contrast with my habit, i haven't included any links in this post. it can be partially attributed to laziness, partially to the fact that the news has been pretty much on every tech blog for days. so unless this blog is the only one you're reading (which i sincerely doubt) you'll probably find your way to the lengthy articles for more information.


microsoft acquires teleo

what happens when you're the worlds largest software company and everybody starts doing voip? it should come as no surprise that microsoft has launched their own voip initiative, after google talk's introduction a few days ago.

of course, as we've come to expect, microsoft's approach is a little different. instead of building a solution that's compatible with their existing products, they acquired a solution that's compatible with their existing products. and just as fast, they replaced the original website (cached), with a new one. so, what was teleo all about before microsoft finished their swift embrace and extend operation?

Our products feature our patent-pending NAT/firewall traversal solution that allows plug-and-play installation while maintaining compatibility with SIP, allowing interoperability with other service providers. We also feature VoiceEngine codecs provided by Global IP Sound.

it remains to be seen if microsoft will continue that credo, and allow for interoperability with other service providers. i'm betting they're more interested in teleo's other strong feature: its tight integration with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer. But one never knows.

skype inks deal with 3g operator

good news for skype, as they introduced their first partnership with a cellular network operator yesterday. german provider e-plus will bundle the skype software with their flat-rate 3g data subscription.

although it's still a far cry away from being included by a handset manufacturer, it's definitely a start. i guess handset manufacturers aren't waiting in line to include skype software on their devices, out of fear of being boycotted by the network operators. after all, it will be cutting operator revenues.

it's not entirely clear to me, how e-plus will benefit from this deal. they may get more data subscriptions out of this but it will inevitably replace the, higher-margin, voice subscriptions customers already had. it's good to see that at least some operators have what it takes to move forward, rather than try and squeeze every cent out of their customers before moving on to a cheaper price plan.