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Summary:

Rob Hoff chats with eBay doyens about their Skype plans. Interesting to note, like Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman says voice will be free in five years. More on this later! but if I spent $4.1 billion on something, and it will be free…?

Rob Hoff chats with eBay doyens about their Skype plans. Interesting to note, like Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman says voice will be free in five years. More on this later! but if I spent $4.1 billion on something, and it will be free…?

  1. Nothing’s ever really free, but it’ll be bundled in. Voice and video are just applications that need to have their packets delivered in order and isochronously, not asynchronously. The pace of convergence has drastically increased, and at some point soon, fixed and mobile services will move to a simple speeds and feeds model, where you can subscribe to an all you can eat data connection, and then run whatever application you want over that. In the short run, the carriers will do port blocking and other stalling tactics, but the inexorable march will continue.

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  2. Craig,

    Of course nothing’s ever free. But if you were around for the era of the “E” ticket, consider today’s Wireless and LAST MILE phone carriers as the Disneyland’s of today’s telecomm market. You purchase piece-meal for access to the ride, you want voice, you buy the Voice ticket, you want messaging, you buy that ticket. Wireless Data and VOIP, are the “E” tickets of today’s telecomm landscape. They’re the “Premium ride”, the one everyone wants to ride on, because it’s the most fun.

    Consider that when WDW did away with the “ticket” system which was prevalent as late as the mid 70’s, that all of a sudden….MONEY. Hmmm….We stop selling tickets, we charge a sizeable entry fee, but let folks fend for themselves as to which rides they want to go on. Shazam!…Moolah. That last bastion of “E” ticket-dom, Space Mountain, is still there last time I checked..and the lines to get in are no shorter than when you have to whip out that precious “E” ticket to get into that cramped little seat and essentially ride a rollercoaster with no lights around.

    So my point is, that wireless carriers and ISP’s today, are piecemeal ticket selling all these services. You want voip. Get a phone line, get DSL, then get your VOIP…..”A” ticket: voice, “C” ticket: DSL, “E” ticket: VOIP (each with their own associated cost). You want wireless data, “A” ticket: you wireless phone, “E” ticket: GPRS/1xRTT/EDGE/EVDO data ( in chunks or by the truckload, again, each with their own associated costs ).

    Now what would be truly innovative, is if both wireless and landline based telecomm got a clue, and said, “guess what….here’s the cost of admission into ‘Broadband Park’, enjoy any ride you want”. Some telecomm’s would like you to THINK they’re doing this (B_llS__th), but they’re really not. They’re just agglomerating the “regular ticket prices” together, and hoping you don’t look at the bill too closely. You’re still buy individual tickets for all the rides.

    You’re worried about “Port Blocking”, geez, most of the wireless carriers have been doing that with most of the lower end data plans, because god FORBID, you might actually want to browse something other than their quaint little WAP pages. Most of which, honestly, amount to little more than “Buy me” ads for whatever service, ringtone or game they want to hawk that month.

    What is truly needed is an understanding, and I’ve said this before, that where business will truly see the most benefit from broadband and wireless based services is in GIVING IT to people. They haven’t realized that you can’t market something ( and gain advertising revenue from such ) to someone who isn’t there, or is, but finds it ridiculously not worth their time to wait for it to download.

    And here’s one more analogy. Without broadband, FLASH and Shockwave, wouldn’t have been the successes they are now. Pure and simple.

    Having co-authored a VOIP phone solution myself, I can tell you unless the bandwidth is there, and is affordable…..people aren’t coming to your tupperware party, no matter HOW good the Stay-Fresh seal on the cookie jars are.

    “It’s about being connected, stupid !” ( that wasn’t directed at you Craig ).

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  3. [...] Rob Hof write on BusinessWeek Online about eBay’s plan on just-acquired Skype. CEO Meg Whitman said that it will be free for the next five years. What will happen after that? [via Gigaom] // Used for showing and hiding user information in the comment form function ShowUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “”; } function HideUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “none”; } [...]

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  4. [...] March 6, 2009 | 3:15 PM PT | 0 comments Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, once famously said that voice was going to be free. She was wrong in ponying up billions of dollars for Skype, but she was right in her assertion [...]

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