Start Planning For Vonage/Verizon VoIP Fallout

Carl Weinschenk

The noose seems to be tightening a bit around Vonage's neck. What seems close to being determined is if the company -- which lost a patent infringement suit to Verizon earlier this month -- will introduce promised workarounds for the verboten technology, strike a deal with the carrier or, in the least likely alternative, drastically curtail operations.


This Associate Press story, here posted at MSNBC, says that a federal judge today issued an injunction against Vonage but will wait a couple of weeks before entering the decision while the company considers whether to seek a stay. A further appeal is possible if a first one is lodged and denied.


The takeaway here is that the minuet between a legal decision and what really happens next is under way. Enterprise IT departments should pay attention, though they need not be too alarmed.


The closest analogous recent case was the dispute that culminated last year between the NTP Group and Research in Motion, owners of the Blackberry device. While it's similar, the big difference to enterprises is that they are not as reliant on Vonage or VoIP in general as they are to the Blackberry. Therefore, the alarm bells aren't quite as loud. However, this MarketWatch piece notes that Verizon's win against Vonage positions it to go after other VoIP providers of all stripes. This presumably includes those who serve corporate customers.


NTP and RIM struck a last-minute deal -- the only time these agreements are ever reached -- and there is every reason to expect that the same thing will happen between Vonage and Verizon. However, IT departments and planners shouldn't assume such an outcome. They also should resist the temptation to dismiss the fight as something that is of interest only to the consumer sector. Instead, they should begin considering what to do if the business-class VoIP services they increasingly deploy are impacted.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 25, 2007 9:07 AM warpwiz warpwiz  says:
It would be nice to see Congress weigh in on this right now. Verizon is starting to look very much like Ma Bell (and considering it is made up of many of the pieces of the aforementioned entity, how ironic) in their attempt to squash any competition. If left to stand, this could jeopardize the entire VOIP industry (that is, except for Verizon's version, of course). Are we on the way back to Bakelite dial phones rented to us by Verizon or AT&T? Now that's competition!! Reply

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