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Summary:

Earthlink reached into an old trunk full of brands, and pulled out Mindspring, and revived it as a PC-to-PC soft (phone) client. This is a re-branded Vling client, and has the usual features, IM, PSTN-connect etc. I fail to understand why they would relaunch yet another […]

Earthlink reached into an old trunk full of brands, and pulled out Mindspring, and revived it as a PC-to-PC soft (phone) client. This is a re-branded Vling client, and has the usual features, IM, PSTN-connect etc. I fail to understand why they would relaunch yet another brand for their VoIP. How about just staying focused and using one brand.

How many more of these soft clients does one really need? When will this me-too game end? We saw the launch of TalQer earlier. Yahoo, MSN, AOL and SIP Phone, all have their own soft clients. Skype is still the big daddy of these kind of products. Come-on VoIPers innovate, not imitate.

  1. Perhaps it’s too early in this space to start calling things “me too”? Should we all drink the Skype cool-aid, use Outlook, Internet Explorer, and drive Honda Civics? Om, I hear your call to innovation, and you should expect to see it. But I don’t hear the same kind of complaints about email clients, web browsers… (or Honda Civics).

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  2. its basically the problem – they are offering exactly the same product as others. which is very frustrating because you cannot really call other networks.

    Web browsers (whichever one you use) can take you to the website and show it to you. similarly email clients get your client. with Yahoo or Earthlink or whomever, despite using standard protocols you can only call those on the same network or pstn.

    what’s new?

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  4. We, in the know of voip aren’t seeing the bigger picture. This is still a very young industry with beta products in the market. It would be foolish not to jump in, especially Earthlink, who has broad plans in voice. IMO, Skype will be a small player in 5 or 6 years. They lack all the content and additional services. The big boys will clean up. But there is plenty to go around.

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  5. Wow Nick! – Comments are a privilege not an opportunity for spam. Next time please be less obtrusive.

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  6. Om – There is still innovation in soft clients. Its just how these soft clients address the markets thats a limiting factor. Moving forward you’ll see the ‘anti-skype’ movement in IT departments grow to bring about the Carrier branded Soft-Client taking full advantage of existing resources and systems. I’m seeing this right now with several companies I work with.

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  7. Matt, why the capitalizing Carrier branded Soft-Client? Is that something proprietary?

    Om, I agree that it’s a questionable move for companies to roll out their own solutions that can’t address each other like you can with e-mail. Open SIP seems like the most sensible way to prevent that from happening as time goes on, and that’s why we built MindSpring that way. You should be able to choose the client that works best for you, just like you choose the cellphone, or e-mail client that works best for you, without that affecting who you can call for free. But we’re not going to get there with the walled-garden approach of proprietary implementations set up not to talk to each other.

    Once GoogleTalk rolls out the SIP support they say is coming, MindSpring will interoperate with their users for voice like it does for text-based IM.

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  8. Om: you can call any other SIP user from MindSpring by just plugging their SIP address in the field. The problem is, with some other SIP providers, such as Gizmo Project, it’s not readily evident what the full SIP address is.

    You can call my Gizmo account by plugging sip:chrisholland@proxy01.sipphone.com into MindSpring. And any SIP user can call my MindSpring account thru sip:hollandct@earthlink.net

    I’m personally not happy about the interface approach adopted by all IM/Voice clients out there. I believe they’re all wrong. And i’m hoping things will change.

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  9. err … replace “hollandct” or “chrisholland” with your party’s actual username heeh.

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