No wonder AT&T's about to fold 'em

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 30, 2005

I’ve just started using Skype, the free Internet telephony software. All I can say to telecom execs is: Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. …

Now, I know that's not what you'll hear from some people, who think Voice Over Internet Protocol will take a long time to make much of a dent in plain old telephone service. "You're not going to get a mass migration to VOIP until such time as the service becomes the equivalent of what you have today," one analyst said in this story. "You have to offer people more than they can do today."

Not really. The big mistake many people make with new technologies, from personal computers to the World Wide Web and, most likely, VOIP, is to compare them with existing ways of doing things, and then--big surprise!--they don't measure up. Yet already, more than 22 million people, plus 70,000 more every day, think Skype is more than good enough, and no doubt it will get better. What's more, it offers much more than POTS--such as the ability to know if someone's available before you call and set up conference calls with a click. Let the so-called experts argue over how many years away the tipping point is. I and 22 million other people already know it's here.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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