Thursday, February 16, 2006

VoIP's Apples and Oranges

I am a big fan of CNET, and not only do I use it for my own product research, but I reccomend it to others as well. But I must have just read the most useless review on their site - a head to head comparison of VoIP services entitled - CNET prizefight: Skype vs. Vonage - CNET reviews .

The reason why I feel that this article is usless is because not all VoIP systems are created alike, nor are they all a good fit for the various scenarios in which one would use them. From my perch, VoIP systems come in three forms - Phone replacement services, like Vonage, and Optimum Voice, Voice peer-to-peer services like Skype, AIM and MSN Messenger, and services that are kind of a Hybrid between the two.

Make no mistakes, Vonage is going after ma bell'. They want you to dump your landline phone for their service. They want you to view Vonage as you do your landline phone, only cheaper and with different plumbing.

Skype is primarily a way for people to contact each other using their PCs. It's lightweight enough that it works great with a Wi-fi hotspot and a laptop or in a library or internet café. As an added bonus, Skype lets you connect to the Public phone network and can get you a phone number in a dozen countries as well.

So for Cnet to compare the two on, say, 911 interoprability - is stupid, because while Vonage's business model requires it to adapt, I don't think that anyone has downloaded Skype expecting 911 to work.

I used to have Vonage and Optimum voice and used them to call people on their regular phones. I have downloaded Skype, but I am still waiting for someone else I know to get it.

If you're interested, click the link to the left and call me.

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