Archive for the ‘SKYPE WEB-PHONES’ Category

EBAY SELLS SKYPE TO MICROSOFT & MICROSOFT ARE HAPPY

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Think Microsoft’s biggest deal ever

is a mistake? Think again. Skype me…

On the surface Microsoft’s $8.5 billion deal to buy the Internet phone company Skype sounds loopy. But don’t be deceived: This just might be the smartest move Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has ever made.

It isn’t hard to see why you might think otherwise. In 2005 eBay acquired Skype for $2.6 billion. Failing to integrate the service into its e-tailing business, eBay in 2009 sold 70% of Skype for a little over $2 billion to a group made up of Marc Andreessen’s venture firm, the Canada Pension Plan system and Skype’s founders, among others; the valuation was little changed from the first time it sold. Ergo, the idea that Microsoft would pay $8.5 billion for the same company less than two years later sounds, uh, startling.

It doesn’t help that the company has a mediocre track record when it comes to acquisitions. Microsoft has closed just a handful of major deals–aQuantive, Great Plains Software, Navision, Hotmail–and none has changed the face of the company. Microsoft lacks a clear Internet strategy, and its online business operates in the red. Bing is gaining share, but even counting its venture with Yahoo it has only 30% of the domestic search business. Not least, Microsoft’s share price is unchanged over the last decade (despite impressive revenue growth), thanks to concerns that Windows and Office are threatened by mobile devices and Internet-based applications. With that backdrop, Microsoft’s willingness to pay nearly ten times 2010 revenues for Skype appears illogical or worse.

But I think it will prove to be genius. Here are three reasons this deal should turn out to be a huge success:

– It uses some of Microsoft’s mountain of offshore cash. Microsoft finished the March quarter with $50 billion in cash and short-term investments–$ 42 billion of that held outside the U.S. Like many American technology companies, Microsoft generates most of its revenues outside the country. Bringing it home would mean handing Uncle Sam a 35% cut. So the cash sits offshore, where it can’t be used to buy back stock, pay dividends, hire American workers or acquire U.S. startups. Apply a 35% discount to the $8.5 billion price tag–that’s what would happen if it sent the cash to Redmond–and the deal looks a lot more reasonable, at around $5.5 billion posttax. And Microsoft still has a lot more cash overseas than it does at home; expect more non-U.S. acquisitions in the months ahead.

– Microsoft gets one of the truly dominant Internet brands. There are only a handful–Google, Facebook, Netflix, Craigslist, Wikipedia, Twitter–but most aren’t for sale, and none belongs to Microsoft. Skype is the dominant player in Internet audio and video communications–people use “Skype” as a verb–and now Microsoft owns it.

– Ignore the pundits; this is an enterprise- software play. The knee-jerk reaction has been that Microsoft will need to up the revenue generated by Skype via more aggressive use of advertising and integration with gaming. But the deal is really about “unified communications,” in which Microsoft is competing with Cisco and others. The theory is that by adding Skype’s audio, video, conferencing and telepresence features to the mix Microsoft will offer an unbeatable combination of features that every enterprise will want. Microsoft sees unified communications as a multibillion-dollar business. Don’t be surprised to see Microsoft abandon its current unified communications branding–Microsoft Lync–and rechristen the product Skype for the Enterprise.

In one brilliant stroke Microsoft dipped into its growing overseas cash pile, bought an iconic brand and set the stage for another multibillion-dollar business. Worth every penny.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

HTC DESIRE SMART PHONE TESTING

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Hands on:

HTC Desire HD

March 16, 2011
HTC Desire HD alongside the original HTC Desire.
HTC Desire HD alongside the original HTC Desire.

 

The Desire goes large, but is it too much to handle?

I’m a big fan of the HTC Desire. I’d say it’s the best Android phone to date, thanks to the combination of sleek hardware, plenty of grunt and the slick Sense UI interface. The recent update to 2.2 Froyo made it even better. I’m obviously not the only one who’s impressed, as I reckon I’ve seen more Desires in the wild than all the other Android handsets combined. If you want the bells and whistles of the iPhone, but without buying into the Apple ecosystem, the HTC Desire is probably the phone for you.

HTC has always had a thing for extra screen real estate – from the mammoth iMate JasJar to the chunky HD2 and hefty HD7. So it’s little surprise that it followed up the Desire with the beefy Desire HD sporting a generous 4.3-inch display. The new Desire HD is available exclusively on Vodafone and 3 for a few months at $59 per month, which will frustrate some Android fans unless they’re prepared to buy it outright and unlock it. It’s only 900/2100Mhz compatible, not 850MHz, so Telstra Next G customers can only use it on Telstra’s 2100MHz metro networks (although these are due to be switched off next year).

I know I wouldn’t jump ship from Next G to Vodafone just to get my hands on a new phone. I’ve never experienced major problems using my Vodafone USB modem, but I’ve heard too many horror stories to risk the switch. As with Optus, I think it will take Vodafone a while to earn people’s trust again.

Getting back to phones, as you can see above the Desire HD looks like a big beast sitting next to the original Desire. It’s 8mm wider and 4mm longer, which doesn’t sound like much but is quite striking. Imaging a big brawny footballer with wide shoulders standing next to your average Joe and you get the picture. The fact the Desire HD lacks the Desire’s sexy curves adds to the effect.

The Desire’s four physical buttons and optical trackball are gone in favour of touch-sensitive buttons. This might concern those who’ve used the unresponsive touch-sensitive buttons on the Google Nexus, but I haven’t experienced any sluggishness using the Desire HD’s buttons. The Desire HD’s physical volume and power buttons are less prominent than the Desire, which some people will find frustrating (although personally I find it’s too easy to nudge the Desire’s power button and accidentally lock it).

The Desire HD is only 29 grams heavier than its predecessor, so not enough to notice the difference when it’s resting in your hand or sitting into your pocket. It’s not so wide that it’s uncomfortable to hold, although I reckon I can get a safer grip on the original Desire. The Desire HD is actually 1mm thinner but this doesn’t allow for the camera lens, which protrudes further on the new phone.

The Desire HD’s extra screen real estate comes in handy if you like to read on your phone. The screen resolution is no sharper than the original Desire at 480×800, but the extra room certainly makes text easier on the eyes. If you’ve been contemplating shelling out for a 7-inch tablet for reading newspapers, blogs and books on the train, it’s worth evaluating whether something like the 4.3-inch Desire HD or 5-inch Dell Streak strikes a reasonable compromise which lets you get away with carrying one device rather than both a phone and tablet.

Rather than utilise the original Desire’s AMOLED display, the Desire HD features an LCD screen. The slight blue tinge of the Desire’s AMOLED display is gone and the contrast and viewing angles have improved. The trade-off is that the LCD’s colours aren’t as vibrant, so everything looks a little washed out if you’re used to the Desire’s vibrant display.

Using Peter Costello below as a reference point, the stripes on his suit are easily lost on the Desire. They’re much clearer on the Desire HD and not as easily lost when you change viewing angle. Unfortunately the skin tones look a little washed out on the Desire HD, while they’re a bit overblown on the Desire.

Costello

Of all the phones I’ve tested with this photo, the iPhone 4’s Super LCD screen still comes out best. It’s whiter whites also offer the best contrast when reading, to the point where I’d still rather read on the iPhone 4 than the larger Desire HD. The screen glare on the Desire HD is also as terrible as the original Desire to the point where you’ll struggle to use it in bright sunlight. Sorry Android lovers, but that’s another point to Apple’s wundergadget.

Of course the Desire HD’s beauty isn’t just skin deep  As for my initial impressions, I’d say the Desire HD’s larger screen size means it’s not a no-brainer upgrade from the Desire (while the Desire was a no-brainer upgrade from the Hero). The 4.3-inch screen takes some getting used to, as does the washed out display. Unless you’re particularly frustrated and after that extra optical inch, the Desire HD may not be the droid you’re looking for.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

NEW GOOGLE NEXUS PHONE INFO LINKS HERE

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Google Nexus S

Features

  • Android
  • Touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • 5 megapixels
  • Video Player
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • Video Calls
  • View full specs

1 Ghz Processor, 16GB Memory, preinstalled Google Apps, Android OS (Gingerbread), WiFi

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

NEW SKYPE SYSTEM FOR PHONE CALLS HAS BEEN RELEASED

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Skype launches global

WiFi hotspot program

By Paul Ridden

05:08 February 14, 2011

Skype has announced that Skype Access users can now benefit from a partnership deal with W...

Skype has announced that Skype Access users can now benefit from a partnership deal with Wi-Fi hotspot providers throughout the globe for pay-as-you-go voice and video calling on the move

Just when you thought Skype couldn’t be any more useful, the company has announced a partnership deal with leading Wi-Fi hotspot providers around the globe. Skype Access, the company’s pay-as-you-go service, will now be available through mobile networks in over 500,000 locations including airports, cafes, trains and offices. And the announcement comes with a sweetener – the company is offering free access throughout Spain during Mobile World Congress 2011.

Skype that it has secured partnership deals with a number of Wi-Fi hotspot providers around the world. The UK’s largest hotspot provider, BT Openzone, has signed up, as has the world’s biggest Wi-Fi network provider, Fon. Others who have joined the scheme include Germany’s M3 Connect, South Africa’s Skyrove, in-flight broadband provider Row 44, Vex, Tomizone and Spectrum Interactive.

Using Skype Credit to get online, Skype Access users will now be able to benefit from one click, mobile pay-as-you-go voice and video calling in 30,000 hotels, 500 airports, and numerous cafes, business centers and trains throughout the globe over partnered Wi-Fi networks.

The latest version of Skype for Mac or Windows will be needed and rates are expected to start at US$0.06 per minute – which in many cases could be a better option than paying day or per hour Wi-Fi access fees.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

CHINA ATTEMPTING TO CURB SKYPE INROADS INTO THE CHINESE PHONE MARKET

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Skype could be

designated illegal

in China

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005. REUTERS/Richard Chung

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Chung

By Terril Yue Jones and Jennifer Saba

BEIJING/NEW YORK | Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:16pm EST

BEIJING/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The ever popular Internet telephone service Skype could be dealt a major setback in one of the world’s largest markets as the Chinese government cracks down on what it is calling illegal Internet telephone providers.

A Chinese government circular from the powerful Ministry of Information and Industry Technology called for a crackdown “on illegal VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone services” and said it was collecting evidence for legal cases against them. It did not name any phone companies.

Skype was still available in China on Friday evening through its joint venture partner TOM Online.

Skype had not yet been contacted by Chinese government officials, a Skype spokesman said on Friday in the United States.

The timing of a ban in one of the world’s fastest growing markets could dampen investor enthusiasm for Skype as it prepares a 2011 initial public offering. The Luxembourg-based company, which has around124 million users worldwide, is expected to be valued at about $1 billion in the IPO.

The Chinese state move appeared to be aimed at protecting three government-controlled phone carriers — China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile — that provide the bulk of China’s phone services.

The South China Morning Post quoted an unidentified ministry official on Thursday as saying VoIP services could only be provided by the big three Chinese operators.

China has been known to play hardball with foreign businesses. After a months-long stand-off over censorship, China finally gave Google approval in July to keep operating its Chinese search page.

Skype has 20 million users in Asia Pacific, or 16 percent of the company’s total users as of the end of June, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. The filing did not break out China’s user numbers and a Skype spokesman in the United States said he did not know how many Chinese users it had.

No single one country other than the United States represented more than 7 percent of Skype’s average monthly user, according to the posting.

The latest news is another setback after Skype’s global service outage last week, which cast doubts on the reliability of the service.

In 2005, Skype was blocked in parts of China as the government sought to ban phone calls made using the Internet.

Skype, partly owned by Web retailer eBay Inc, has been growing in popularity among Chinese users and businesses to make cheap or free international phone calls over the Internet.

“Almost 1 in 6 people in the world live in China, and a great many of them rely on Skype to connect with families and friends, run businesses, and call people around the world,” wrote Skype’s Josh Silverman in an October blog post about Chinese privacy regs.

The Chinese notice, dated December 10, did not state what amounted to illegal services and did not name any VoIP providers it considered to be breaking the law.

Representatives of the ministry and the ministry’s office gathering information for the campaign did not answer telephone calls on Friday.

Representatives of China Telecom and China Unicom did not answer phone calls on Friday when approached for comment. A spokeswoman for China Mobile, reached in Beijing, referred calls to the firm’s Hong Kong office. All attempts to reach the Hong Kong office were not successful.

VoIP calls allow users to make international calls for much less than commercial providers, or even for free if both parties are using VoIP. Many businesses that use VoIP services in cutting down on their international telephone costs could lose out on access to the cheaper alternative.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha