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45 comments

Makes sense for Sprint (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904307)

It was smart to settle now and get some money than to wait it out in the courts while Vonage slowly goes out of business.

As shady as Vonage is... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20911917)

The idea of giving yet more money to COMCAST, much less Verizon, for the same service makes me even more nauseous. So, a little less schadenfreude, please.

It can't all be patented.. (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904319)

Why don't they just tape PC speakers and microphones to phones. I bet know one patented that yet.

Re:It can't all be patented.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904483)

I bet know one patented that yet.
Eye bet your rite.

I believe that the patent on those is expired (3, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904763)

Why don't they just tape PC speakers and microphones to phones. I bet know one patented that yet.
The patent on those [wikipedia.org] is probably older than most slashdotters.

Re:I believe that the patent on those is expired (1)

pchoppin (864344) | more than 6 years ago | (#20907171)

LOL

I was born in '67

The patent was made in '71

You just aged me at least 4 years older than most /.ers.

Thanks a lot, Solandri

Other interpretation... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904331)

Sprint sees the way the patent winds are blowing and wants to get while the gettin' is good.

Re:Other interpretation... (3, Interesting)

Sergeant Pepper (1098225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904427)

I seriously doubt that. As much as I'd like to believe that the federal government may be coming to some sense regarding patent decisions, I can't help but believe that that will change - and for the worse.

Really, I think any present break in the insanity is merely the eye of the storm, if you will. From here it will probably just go back to how things used to be.

Next up: (3, Funny)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904339)

Next up: Vonage vs Verizon in a net neutrality battle. With that pesky net neutrality out of the way, Verizon customers will receive high QOS. Vonage packets will get there. Eventually.

Re:Next up: (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#20912029)

Next up: Vonage vs Verizon in a net neutrality battle. With that pesky net neutrality out of the way, Verizon customers will receive high QOS. Vonage packets will get there. Eventually.

This packet from Amazon and this packet from Google, they get through very easily. But this packet, from fucktimewarner.org, it gets routed a little differently..... *riiiiiiiiiiiiiiip*

Once again... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904343)

As with the RIM suit, there was simply no way this wasn't going to get settled. I realize that in the minds of Stallmanist teenagers companies go out of business to make quixotic statements about the eeeeevils of patents, but in the adult world, some money gets passed around and life goes on.

There's something special about ad hominem attacks (1)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904363)

made as "Anonymous Coward."

Re:There's something special about ad hominem atta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904563)

I don't think you understand what "ad hominem" means. It means "You're wrong because you're an idiot", not "you're an idiot because you're wrong".

Re:There's something special about ad hominem atta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904743)

As with the RIM suit, there was simply no way this wasn't going to get settled. I realize that in the minds of Stallmanist teenagers companies go out of business to make quixotic statements about the eeeeevils of patents, but in the adult world, some money gets passed around and life goes on.
We all know that people often pay some corporation to ream them with a dildo that has barbed wire for french ticklers. The more we pay them relative to the real value of what we are paying them for is directly proportional to the size of the dildo and the length of the barbs. When corporations pay for such a reaming they are committing their customers as well as themselves to this reaming. Paying out good money for bad patents produces a reaming that could make you look like the bloody solar system relative to goatse.cx's grain of sand.

I don't think you understand what "ad hominem" means. It means "You're wrong because you're an idiot", not "you're an idiot because you're wrong".
Your ad hominem [wikipedia.org] statement shows you don't know what it means. Now get back in your playpen till your finished with kindergarten.

Re:There's something special about ad hominem atta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904833)

We all know that people often pay some corporation to ream them with a dildo that has barbed wire for french ticklers.

OMZG, yuo know so many naughty words!!!!

The point is that the notion that big company X is going to go out of business over a patent dispute is absurd and that anyone who gets excited over that prospect doesn't know what he's talking about. Will customers have to pay a few dollars more for a few years until the patents run out? Sure.

As for "ad hominem", your link (OMZG, yuo know how to link to Wikipedia!!!!) entirely supports my point.

Re:There's something special about ad hominem atta (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906417)

I pay $17 a month to Vonage, after paying $55 a month for years to AT&T.

Vonage has saved me approximately $1400 in three years. If they have to raise my rates a few dollars to pay for this settlement, I welcome it just to keep them around.

Next up: Bankruptcy (4, Insightful)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904379)

You know it's going to happen. And then Sprint Nextel and the other carriers will be congratulating themselves at maintaining the hold they have on telecom. :(

Vonage is still around? (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904407)

I thought these guys were on their way out.....Well at least less and less of their commercials are seen around, they were pretty annoying.

Many of You Have No Idea (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904467)

How bad this is. The claims they used to make Vonage pay them are nebulous at best and could have been dreamed up by the average /.'er on a lazy afternoon.

The SIP protocol offers many novel ways to communicate. The least of which is a simple phone call. In one way, it is vonage's fault for choosing to stick to dumb phone call only because there were many neat possibilities awaiting consumers in SIP.

I fear for all of the smaller business voip/ISP outfits now that the first domino has fallen.

Re:Many of You Have No Idea (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904673)

The SIP protocol offers many novel ways to communicate. The least of which is a simple phone call. In one way, it is vonage's fault for choosing to stick to dumb phone call only because there were many neat possibilities awaiting consumers in SIP.

The SIP protocol also lets anybody play without paying for anything (except for generic network service).

With SIP the ONLY thing Vonage has to sell that can't be had for free is bridging to the public switched telephone network. Which is what those patents are about.

Re:Many of You Have No Idea (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904751)

I fear for all of the smaller business voip/ISP outfits now that the first domino has fallen.
This is an immediate consequence of allowing people who own the infrastructure to sell services on that infrastructure. The current state of affairs with respect to the ILECs/CLECs is an obvious example. I know that AT&T put my Speakeasy service on low priority because they weren't seeing much money from it. My line problem went unfixed for about a week before they got around to it.

A strict separation between the owners of infrastructure and those who sell services on it is a prerequisite for free market competition. I'd be for the Feds owning the entirety of the Internet infrastructure (contracting out maintenance if need be) and then allowing for anyone to provide services in a non-discriminatory fashion. Prices would come down quickly, and quality of services would improve dramatically.

Massive insider trading Vonage? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904477)

The news is out today and the stock is up 123%. But it is up about 260% since Thursday.. The volume on Friday was 4X normal.

Who were all those traders with inside information? And will anything be done about them? You so rarely hear about prosecutions for insider trading...

Date Open High Low Close Volume Adj Close*
today 1.56 2.70 1.41 2.57 34,993,632 2.57
5-Oct-07 1.05 1.23 1.02 1.15 4,172,700 1.15
4-Oct-07 1.00 1.05 0.98 1.03 2,463,000 1.03
3-Oct-07 1.00 1.01 0.97 1.01 1,053,700 1.01
2-Oct-07 0.99 1.03 0.96 0.98 1,662,100 0.98
1-Oct-07 1.03 1.03 0.96 0.96 1,295,600 0.96

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=VG&t=5d [yahoo.com]

Re:Massive insider trading Vonage? (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905223)

It probably isn't insider trading. In order for it to be insider trading the people doing the trading would have to have information that is not available to the public. In this case, the share price has been so low that it doesn't take a whole lot to get things to jump around. That 260% is only 1.50 or so in dollars, and while it is indeed a large change for such a cheap stock, stocks to jump by that much on a fairly regular basis.

Especially if the company goes from looking dead in the water to having a decent chance at continuing to function. SCO would have done the same thing if for some reason the judge had ruled that they owned the UNIX copyrights.

Re:Massive insider trading Vonage? (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906023)

I think you have missed the original poster's main point. The news was out today Monday. Thus stock activity today makes sense, but unusual stock activity on Friday, before the settlement was general knowledge, could imply that insider knowledge was at work.

I think your point about the low price is good, but you ignore the point about volume that the parent made. Since the price increase went hand-in-hand with a high volume of trading, I would say that the evidence points more toward insider trading than to a vanilla stock-market day.

it's called journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20906667)

Any business analyst reporter sitting in on the case could have seen what was coming down and put it out in some traders newsletter. I can't point at one, but bet that is what happened.

Re:Massive insider trading Vonage? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#20912377)

There really wasn't much change in the activity on Friday. The big change was on Monday, the day that things were announced.

As AC said, since this was hardly unpredictable, vonage was going to have to make a settlement if they wanted to stay in business. The activity on a stock doesn't say anything about the number of people buying or selling, just the number of shares being exchanged. It could be three people buying and selling, or it could be 3 million doing so.

The more likely explanation is that somebody on Thursday decided to make a bet on things going positive, and everybody assumed the jump in volume suggested that somebody knew something. The share price is sufficiently low that I could buy up 400 shares myself even now without much problem. I could have bought up 1,000 fairly easily at last weeks prices.

And sort of lastly, the SEC takes market manipulation very seriously, whether it be by collusion or insider trading. They can and do take down people for insider trading.

Re:Massive insider trading Vonage? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20908485)

While there possibly were traders with inside knowledge, it's also highly probable that the majority were speculators. Either the stock goes up a fair bit, it drops a fair bit, or it stays relatively even money. Your odds of coming out ahead are 50/50 -- better than the horse races.
 

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904505)

Does anyone else doubt they could find 100 things worth patenting in this?

It Still Doesn't Seem Likely... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904567)

Patent reform is something that I am a huge fan of and I have every hope that there will be some reformation shortly but I don't see any major changes happening until well after the elections. Too many company-owned politicians will likely prevent any real major changes to the patent system during the time when elections are gathering steam.

Except... (2, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905289)

Except all the notable changes lately have been in the courts. Especially the Supreme Court, where the Justices have been dropping strong hints that they are willing to overturn a lot of the patent craziness that's been going on for the past 10 - 15 years or so.

Re:Except... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905813)

I suspect that it is more posturing than actually doing - at least not until after the '08 elections. I could, easily, be mistaken and I'm not a political science buff or anything other than some courses back when the Cold War was still actually going on but I try to follow as best as I can. I don't know... From what I've seen, historically, very little of great importance tends to get done during the campaigning cycles. With the primaries moved up and the campaigns now having run for some six months or more on television it just seems unlikely that much more will be accomplished until immediately after the elections to give the 'feel good' results. Right now the parties are more interested in lining their campaign coffers with donations from various interest groups to actually allow any major disruption in the status quo.

Ok, now that this is out of the way.. (2, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904803)

Can I sign up for Vonage and not fear it will be closed down in a week?

Re:Ok, now that this is out of the way.. (1)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20914451)

I wish the company would speak on this issue, Are they screwed, are they in danger (they'll never speak openly about it) but it would be nice for them to come out and say, were fine.. business as usual. Or come and say please look for an alternate provider, you've got 2 months.

This could be a win for Sprint/Nextel customers (3, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904857)

Many times your cell is useless in the home. At least one other cell company has already fielded a product where when you put the phone on the cradle, all extensions go through that cell. Next could instead be a system where when you put the cell down on the dock, the extensions go through it AND the calls then go from the cell to the IP-based system to save you battery use on the wireless transmissions, or if the base had a stand-by charger in it as well, at least offload their cell systems from calls taking place at home.

Then, I get to use my Sprint phone over Vonage at home, and over Sprint cellular when I take it with me. Put multiple docks in and have them have a nice little menu system to choose the phone to go through (in case three family members are home and have docked their phones). I can call out through my wife's if mine is already being used by something else dialing out.

Vonage could be a foot in the door to VoIP linkage to Sprint's system. Might seem a longshot, but there's been longer shots before...

Re:This could be a win for Sprint/Nextel customers (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906205)

I have T-Mobile@Home. It's an add-on to my T-mobile service whereby my phone (Blackberry Curve) uses my 802.11b/g access point at home to route my calls instead of a cell tower. The phone will actually use any Wi-Fi access point I have access to (home, work, Starbucks). In return for taking my call off of the cellular network, T-Mobile doesn't charge me for the call (doesn't come out of my minutes) when it rides the public net.

I don't work for T-Mobile, I've just been a very satisfied customer for the last 5 years.

Re:This could be a win for Sprint/Nextel customers (1)

jtcm (452335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935481)

my phone uses my 802.11b/g access point at home to route my calls ... T-Mobile doesn't charge me for the call

Does the @Home service work with a prepaid SIM card?

Re:This could be a win for Sprint/Nextel customers (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941337)

I just checked with T-Mobile customer service, and right now they're only offering the option for postpaid customers (not prepaid). The customer service rep mentioned that they are looking to expand the feature to prepaid users at sometime in the future.

I'm currently working with a couple of guys deployed in Iraq who have T-mobile so that they can use their own phones out there. I should probably detail all the tech details about our we work with GSM over IP on a web site somewhere....(perhaps when I get some free time).

Dinner is on me (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905045)

Dinner is on me tonight, folks. When VG dropped below a dollar and everybody thought it was gonna go completely under, i stayed the course.

And you wanna know what originally got me interested in this stock? Reading the article on slashdot about Vonage getting sued.

HAHA! /yes, I'm gloating.

Vonage isn't a service (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906025)

They are a reseller of an existing service - access to the telephone network. They do not provide anything on their own. No service, no infrastructure, no protocol on an existing infrastructure. Instead they are using the infrastructure that exists because of the telephone carriers as a club to beat them to death. Interestingly enough, if Vonage ever really succeeds and Sprint or Verizon shuts their doors, Vonage loses.

An exact parallel to this would be delivering IP video to cable customers through their cable modem. You buy a little box which takes the video data stream and outputs a video signal. Then the cable customer could drop television service in favor of this new service. Except in order to get the video programming the provider is a cable subscriber. So the cable company would get to be both the network and the wholesaler of the programming. Since the programming would be almost free (1 cable subscriber bill) it should make tons of money, right?

If the above seems like a clever idea to you, I've got another one. Have a little cart from which you sell hamburgers. You can take the cart around to people on the street so they don't have to drive or walk as far. In order to get these hamburgers you just work out a bulk purchase plan from McDonalds and resell them from your little cart. The idea would be to get McDonalds to agree to a such a low price that you could make money on this.

How long do you think such buy-bulk-services-for-resale schemes can go on? Sooner or later if you treat your supplier as a competitor your supplier is either (a) going to shut down or (b) shut your service off. Either is death to the buy-in-bulk reseller.

Sure, you can say that the infrastructure (or the hamburgers) should be public and any retailer should be able to use this infrastructure to compete with each other. That's fine now that it exists. But in order to get that first hamburger (or telephone switch) it was necessary to make a risky investment. Governments are not in the business of making risky investments. They either invest in sure things or they line up someone else to get the privilege of making the investment. We wouldn't have the phone system we have today if it was up to the government in 1900 to build it. They would have waited until 1950 to do it and then where do you think the US would be?

Re:Vonage isn't a service (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906317)

They do not provide anything on their own. No service, no infrastructure, no protocol on an existing infrastructure. Instead they are using the infrastructure that exists because of the telephone carriers as a club to beat them to death. Interestingly enough, if Vonage ever really succeeds and Sprint or Verizon shuts their doors, Vonage loses.

Not really. The infrastructure will still be there, and still be worth something, so somebody will buy it and Vonage will use it. Hell, maybe Vonage will end up buying it.

Heh, if that ever happened, I might actually start believing in capitalism!

Re:Vonage isn't a service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20913327)

AT&T (if you're talking about telcos pre 1980s, you're really just talking about AT&T pre 1980s) was granted a regulatory monopoly and their network growth was subsidized by tax dollars, so I wouldn't use it as an example of the power of a free market.

I don't think asking the incumbent providers to provide wholesale (cost plus) prices to common carrier networks is unreasonable.

So what happens to the next vonage? (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20907319)

I guess the same thing. Because, besides locking their devices to them exclusively, they are using voip standards (sip), which besides proprietary startups like skype, is the same thing most voip providers are using.

So I assume they are all infringing? I'm amazed a standard like sip came to fruition without anyone noticing these patents looming. And come to think of it, how is skype making the leap to the pstn network without infringing?
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