At CES 2009, Ooma Hopes For a Second Act

oomateloOoma, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based VoIP phone hardware and services platform that has been struggling to live up to its initial hype is going to take a second run at mainstream success. At CES 2009, the company is launching the Ooma Telo, a wireless handset that wraps the original Ooma phone system in a mobile unit. Ooma has raised a total of $43 million.

ooma-handset1If you frequented Amazon.com this holiday season, then you might have noticed that Amazon was pushing the original Ooma device hard, though it’s not clear how that impacted sales. I am looking forward to the launch of this new wireless version, to see how the platform has actually evolved.

The company previously made some strategic mistakes, including an ill-conceived marketing strategy with actor Ashton Kutcher, and the initial product launch was fraught with problems. The biggest problem was that Ooma was too expensive for VoIP’s market segment, which includes penny pinchers. Since then, Ooma has tried to mend its reputation. It brought in new management that has focused on the consumer electronics channels and slashed prices. Ooma Founder Andrew Frame was recently replaced as the CEO by Rich Buchanan, but he remains with the company as its chairman.

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