Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunset for SunRocket?

by alec on July 16, 2007

The rumours have been flying for several weeks now, but it looks like SunRocket might finally be done.  Om Malik has posted a portion of the contents of an internal email from SunRocket stating that the service will go down at close of business today.  That's about 15 minutes from now. 

It has customers justifiably upset.  Over on the Broadband Reports there is a lengthy thread asking questions like: How can I port my number? Can I get a refund? Will the service just go dead at 5:00? What about my 911 service? What happens if I log into the portal and call forward my calls to my cell phone?  Andy Abramson has asked Sherwood Associates, the receiver, about number porting and is expecting answers later today. Perhaps he should ask some of these other questions too.

For three years more than a few of us have been expecting a spectacular flameout like this.  SunRocket, Vonage, and others are all just telcos with a slightly different cost basis.  They have no silver bullets.  They still have to pay to acquire customers, retain customers, and operate networks.  It was inevitable that aggressive pricing coupled with competitive pressure from the cables and incumbents was going to take one of these guys out.

UPDATE: The SunRocket call center in Springfield MO was closed earlier today.  All 200 people lost their jobs.

UPDATE: The NY Times has just filed a story confirming that SunRocket is dead

UPDATE: With SunRocket's 200,000 customers up for grabs, other carriers are starting to make their moves.  ViaTalk CEO Brendan Brader has released a statement that his company will "buy out" the remainder of SunRocket customers contracts. Voxilla has published an interview with VoicePulse CEO Ravi Sakaria who asserts that his company can provide an easy migration path because they use many of the same underlying carriers.

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Jeff drops LinkedIn

by alec on July 16, 2007

I watched Jeff Pulver's Facebook status updates all day yesterday from my BlackBerry, as he spent his entire day networking inside the popular social networking portal.  It's no surprise to me this morning that he has pulled the plug on LinkedIn, deciding not to accept any new LinkedIn requests, and has moved all his social networking (both business and personal) to Facebook.  He obviously gets a lot more value from Facebook.  Having built a large LinkedIn network, I find myself primarily acting as a conduit for others requests, rather than getting high value from LinkedIn myself.  While I am not ready to pull the plug on LinkedIn, I too am finding Facebook a much more valuable and interesting portal because of the richness of the interactions.

Part of the problem might be LinkedIn's FOAF / Mediation model.  In the world of LinkedIn, connections are created by intermediaries.  In the world of Facebook, when someone sends you a message, you can see for yourself who you know in common.  It's a more open and perhaps more natural model than asking others for endorsements and doesn't place the burden on the person with the connections. 

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Canadians need some fibre in their telecom diet

July 16, 2007

In 1992 a futurist, who's name I've long forgotten, came and gave a talk to Microsoft Canada's national sales meeting.  During his talk he made outlandish claims such as this one — "a day will come when will be faster to boot your PC from a networked server halfway round the world than a local hard disk".  […]

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Butt Dialing: Who hasn’t?

July 16, 2007

ComputerWorld takes a look at the Nine Deadly Sins of Cell Phone Use, including Butt Dialing (inadvertently pressing the call back while your phone is in your pocket), Stall Talking, and Crunchy Calling (eating and talking).  It's a matter of manners, and nothing more.  But in the case Crunchy Calling, I am not sure who's […]

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