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IM firms urged to buy VoIP Providers

ABI says that AOL, MSN, or Yahoo should buy a VoIP provider, like Vonage.  Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more. 

  1. Buying a VoIP provider would make these guys into competitors with the telephone companies, when they want to partner with them.  MSN and Yahoo already have huge deals going with incumbent carriers.  AOL is about to get into the market.  Why would you bite the hand that feeds you?
  2. Buying a VoIP provider would make them into network operators, rather than applications providers on the network.  MSN has just spent years unloading the dial-up and broadband networks they built in the late 1990’s.  Yahoo never had one.  The costs of operating the network, and the attendant margin hit, would completely change these companies financial outlooks.
  3. Each of these IM providers has in excess of 100 million subscribers.  Buying a VoIP provider would get them, tops, 300,000 more.  Partnering with a carrier, on the other hand, would give them access to 10’s of millions.

Make no mistake — presence is one of the most important features of VoIP.  The carriers will come to these guys to access their presence clouds.  The presence cloud is way more valuable than a bunch of POPs and a handful of subscribers.

This is "analysis"?  Shame on you ABI. 

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