How much of a problem are the patent and competition issues surrounding VoIP? Red Herring says that they're a big deal. If Vonage was struggling against cable before, then this latest patent loss to Verizon is surely one more nail in the coffin. Meanwhile, enticing bundles from the cable operators continue to gain ground. And what of all the other players in the sector – SunRocket, Packet8, JoiPhone, and VelocityTel to name a few?
Perhaps the real issue is simply this. VoIP isn't the reinvention of the telephone which we all foresaw five years ago. At least, not the VoIP peddled by the likes of Vonage. It's ordinary telephone service… delivered on IP. While popular, it has failed to deliver the revolution industry types envisioned. "Innovations" like web-based dashboards are long in the tooth, and the truly revolutionary applications which could have been delivered have never seen the light of day.
It's time to stop talking about VoIP as a business category, or an industry. Companies using VoIP to deliver service to customers are really just one more instance of a competitive service provider, albeit with different tarrifing and competition rules. Viewed from that vantage point, it's no wonder that this "industry" is struggling.