May 19, 2011
Like many, including Bill Gates, I think Microsoft’s purchase of Skype will be a boon for the company’s presence in the wireless and home video chat space. But, of course, the company isn’t exactly a newcomer in the instant messaging and video chat space. It was early to market with NetMeeting, and for the past few years has been pushing forward on Windows Live – nee MSN — Messenger, now part of Windows Live Essentials, which Microsoft positioned as the rapidly evolving part of Windows before Microsoft it mandated that Windows itself needed to evolve much more rapidly. (I suppose Windows Live Essentials will now be the part of Windows that most now evolve at ludicrous speed.)
Windows Live Messenger has attracted a large audience itself. On the software’s tenth anniversary in 2009, Microsoft shared that Windows Live Messenger it had 330 million active users per month.. We haven’t, however, seen a lot of detail on what will happen to Windows Live Messenger after the Skype acquisition. Steve Ballmer didn’t mention the offering once during the press conference although it did appear on a slide. There was also a reference to providing Skype additional talent resources. Clearly the Live Messenger team would be prime for picking there.
The Windows Live Messenger installed base may add significantly to Skype’s already massive installed user footprint. Ultimately, however, and putting aside infrastructure, Skype’s superior cross-platform progress is critical for any cross-platform chat and collaboration platform. Microsoft’s MacBU had created a wisely renamed version of Messenger for the Mac, but now Microsoft will be able to tap into a wider array of handsets and put more pressure on Apple to bring FaceTime outside of Apple’s own devices.
Tags: collaboration, FaceTime, Live Messener, Microsoft, Skype, video chat, videoconferencing
March 29, 2011
I’ve long felt that the “out of office” message is ambiguous. Does it signify that someone is physically not present or does it mean that they are on vacation or have time off for some other reason. For example, I know some diligent folks who update their voice mail message every day, but I’ve never seen anyone who updates an e-mail autoresponder with a daily expectation of response time to e-mail or who activates their “out of office” on the weekends. Furthermore, I bet I’m not the only one who has received an “Out of Office” message from recipients saying they are unavailable only to get a follow-up e-mail shortly thereafter from that person. Truth be told, I’ve been guilty of such mixed messaging myself.
In an age of mobile communications, the “out of office” e-mail has often become an anachronism. This became clear during CTIA when I e-mailed several people who had the autoresponders on but were at the show fully equipped with the most capable mobile e-mail clients to date. That doesn’t mean that mobile handsets are as well-suited to composing the kinds of replies that one would compose on a PC and there may well be situations such as international flights, sky-high data roaming charges, and travel to remote regions that genuinely preclude response. However,I think the expectation has changed to a shorter or more variable delay more driven by choice as the technological barriers fade.
Tags: culture, lifestyle, mobile e-mail, norms, out of office, socety, vacations, weekends, work, work-life blaance
October 17, 2010
I suppose you could loosely file this one under the topic of fixed-mobile convergence. While the wired headset is rapidly giving way to the Bluetooth variety, Native Union has dispensed with portability entirely to create an objet d’art that is intended to provide comfort for a prolonged cell phone call. Of course, one could just use the speakerphone, but he quality is often muffled and, as with Bluetooth, you’ll see your battery run out more quickly.
The moshi moshi 02 is a low-profile, modern handset. While its weight definitely conveys a feeling of quality, though, it might be nice to have something a bit lighter to toss in a travel bag in anticipation of long conference calls from hotel rooms.
Tags: headsets, moshi moshi, Native Union, retro
April 21, 2009
The Europeans just do certain things better, and for a long time one of those was cordless phone standards. Now that DECT is being quickly established as the de facto standard for new handset sales in the U.S., and multiple handset support becoming an expected feature, manufacturers are having to be a bit more creative in upselling those products on something other than supported frequencies.
Before it exited the market, Thomson had taken a stab at delivering RSS feeds to phones with the InfoLink system. For a more mainstream audience, though, Panasonic is borrowing the increasingly popular notion of voice mail preview as as popularized by Apple’s "visual voicemail" in the iPhone with the ChoiceMail feature on its new cordless lineup. The higher-end models even offer a choice of font size so you can take a gander at more of the last few people to call you. The Verizon Hub also offers visual voicemail, but this may be the first time it has ever been implemented in a circuit-switched home phone.
Not that all all the cell phone manufacturers have solved this issue, but I’d like to see a way for consumers to bring their phone books forward as they switch cordless phone systems. Perhaps support for a USB drive similar to the CellStik would do the trick.
Tags: ChoiceMail, cordless phones, panasonic, visual voicemail