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Verizon hits Vonage's Jugular, can the docs save them?


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Verizon hits Vonage's Jugular, can the docs save them?
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turtle
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2007-03-08, 20:20

Seems Ma' Bell didn't like the competition and has also not taken to kindly to Vonage using it's patents to make a buck.

C|Net's Version, CNN's Version

The short version: Standard "Did not." "Did Too." Verizon says Vonage is using Verizon's patents to make money. Vonage says it's not. Grand Jury said they are using two of Verizon's patents and ordered Vonage to pay $58 Million USD and 5.5% fee per customer.

Seems this will in the end effect all VoIP providers and that Vonage is just the big fish to take out and set the ground work for further settlements and lawsuits.

As a Vonage user myself, I'm not pleased with the idea of my phone company having to pay out more money than they have. With not turning a profit yet, I'm not sure how they are going to come up with the money for this. However the biggest concern is Verizon's trip to court again immediately follow the verdict to have Vonage to be forced to shut down all services related to the patent infringements.
Quote:
But the biggest risk for Vonage is that the company could also be forced to shut down its service. In addition to the damages, Verizon is asking the court for an injunction. On March 23, U.S. Judge Claude Hilton will hear arguments to decide whether Vonage's service should stop offering service until an acceptable licensing agreement can be worked out. Vonage said in a press release that it doesn't expect any interruption in service.

"We don't believe there is any basis to support Verizon's request for an injunction," it said. "If the trial court does impose an injunction, we will seek an immediate stay from the Federal Court of Appeals. Vonage's customers should see no change to any aspect of their phone service."
It'll really suck if they are forced to just turn off their services because of this. I don't mind paying an extra $2.15 per month because of the features I get and the piece of mind that the mobility of the service brings me. The fact is I also just hate Ma Bell. I'd avoid them with my cell phones if I could. Satellite phones are just a little too expensive right now.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
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2007-03-09, 08:57

Hmm... does anyone else think it's high time to give Ma Bell a good shakedown once again?
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
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2007-03-09, 09:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
Hmm... does anyone else think it's high time to give Ma Bell a good shakedown once again?
It would seem the FCC doesn't agree with you, since they passed without comment a vote by Ma Bell to suck up Bell South.
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Wyatt
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2007-03-09, 09:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
Hmm... does anyone else think it's high time to give Ma Bell a good shakedown once again?
AT&T is nearly completely re-consolidated. So much for competition.

Within a year or two, we'll basically just have AT&T and Verizon. And, if this is any indication VOIP might be in trouble.
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Banana
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2007-03-09, 09:37

I don't know if anyone else agrees, but I think the present setup is completely half-assed, benefits nobody but the corporation, and their terroritiality really fucking irks me.

I've thought that the networks (e.g. the phone line systems) themselves should be the property of government, while allowing private companies to charge fees for the connection and providing services, and allowing private companies to expand network which will be sold to the government with some profit.

Best of both worlds: We get just one network without having to duplicate network or pay hefty fees to use another network, making upgrading and maintence much easier while we get to choose among competitors, regardless where we may live, and there are plenty of incentives for competition among companies.

While I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony, too.

Bassplayinfiendmac- Just because FCC doesn't agree with me doesn't mean they're right. As far I'm concerned, they're bought and paid for by Ma Bell.
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BuonRotto
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2007-03-09, 09:56

Sorry to get political for a second, but this is just yet another reason why I can't stand this executive administration and the last 12 years of Congress.
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turtle
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2007-03-09, 10:25

What makes this a real issue is the fact the Vonage was using Verizon's patents without approval and compensation. This isn't a government issue at all. Executive and Legislative branches aren't to blame here, patent infringement is.

I'm not a fan of Ma Bell in it current state though, which is why I went to Vonage for my "land lines". I'd rather not pad my cable companies pocket anymore either since they are getting a pretty good chunk of my money for broadband as it is. VoIP is also just about the only way to combat ATT and Verizon or the Cable Companies. The only way to communicate outside of them is cell phone. While that's convenient, I want my house to have a phone number. I don't want every marketer to call my cell phone and be force to resort to screening my calls based on caller ID. When someone wants to get ahold of my wife and I, they can call one number and then we can both pick up and talk without having to do a three-way calling with the cell phones. There are many other reasons why I would rather have VoIP. If Vonage is forced to shut it's doors I'll just move somewhere else. Most likely to cables "Digital Phones" service.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Banana
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2007-03-09, 10:30

Sorry, you're right- This is irrespective of whatever they may do about the present system; if Vonage did infringe Verizon, then shame on them (even though it'll hurt consumers in long run). I was more of commenting on Verizon's perceived belligerence and out of instinct, rooted for the little guy.
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turtle
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2007-03-09, 10:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
Sorry, you're right- This is irrespective of whatever they may do about the present system; if Vonage did infringe Verizon, then shame on them (even though it'll hurt consumers in long run). I was more of commenting on Verizon's perceived belligerence and out of instinct, rooted for the little guy.
I must say, I agree with your sentiments here though. The only real way to vote against them is with your wallet though. Sadly, when FTTH is offered where I live, I'll strongly consider jumping ship and move over to their service. It is my preference to stick with other means though. I like the idea of satellite broadband, it just isn't cost effective yet and the speeds are too slow. Not to mention, I couldn't imagine VoIP over a satellite connection.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PKIDelirium
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2007-03-09, 11:33

I wonder if this will affect my service. I'm using Time Warner's digital phone over cable.
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turtle
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2007-03-09, 13:05

The implication in one of the articles I read was that is will effect them in some way. The question is how informed was the author of the article. I'm not familiar enough with the technical workings of cables "digital phone" service and how many patents it has on it's own. If they are doing the same thing that Vonage did, then I can see a bunch of settlements and a royalty fee as well. The cable company would probably absorb the fee at first and then once the dust settles pass it on to the customer. Just my guess though.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PKIDelirium
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2007-03-09, 14:21

The way mine works, a phone line is run from the cable modem into the closest wall jack, and that drives all the other phone jacks.

Can also plug a phone directly into the modem, or both at once, it has two phone plugs.

Early '09 Mac mini (Mountain Lion), Mid '05 14" iBook G4 (Tiger), iPhone 4S (Black)
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Moogs
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2007-03-11, 09:48

No offense to anyone who had/has it, but personally I hope Vonage goes away for good. One of the most gimmicky companies to come along since the .bomb era, and full of the same problems. Untested services, rolled out too early to too many people, serious flaws (911 problems, voice quality, et al), poor customer service, and plenty of loud, annoying commercials trying to be hip for the 20-somethings.

One smart decision among many, many stupid ones? The way I hear it from customers the dumbest decision any of them made was signing up for Vonage. Nothing worse than a disingenuous company that comes along, trying to act like they're something new and refreshing, and it's the same ole BS, only not as reliable as the old bullshit. Vonage makes most of the other phone companies look like text book paragons of quality and service.

Vonage is useless.

Bush on Putin: "..I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... was able to get a sense of his soul."
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Banana
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2007-03-11, 10:25

So Verizon is just slightly less evil than Vonage?

Gee, thanks! I sure feel much better about that now.

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turtle
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2007-03-11, 10:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKIDelirium View Post
The way mine works, a phone line is run from the cable modem into the closest wall jack, and that drives all the other phone jacks.

Can also plug a phone directly into the modem, or both at once, it has two phone plugs.
It's more about the back end switching that happens rather than how you connect as the end user.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
No offense to anyone who had/has it, but personally I hope Vonage goes away for good. One of the most gimmicky companies to come along since the .bomb era, and full of the same problems. Untested services, rolled out too early to too many people, serious flaws (911 problems, voice quality, et al), poor customer service, and plenty of loud, annoying commercials trying to be hip for the 20-somethings.

One smart decision among many, many stupid ones? The way I hear it from customers the dumbest decision any of them made was signing up for Vonage. Nothing worse than a disingenuous company that comes along, trying to act like they're something new and refreshing, and it's the same ole BS, only not as reliable as the old bullshit. Vonage makes most of the other phone companies look like text book paragons of quality and service.

Vonage is useless.
I don't watch TV so I haven't seen any commercials. I'm sure I would hate them if they are half of what you describe. I have also never experienced and issues with call quality, customer service or anything else you listed. I'm not meaning to be contrary, just to point out it isn't nearly as bad as you indicate. I have never been concerned about the 911 issue either. Though they (Vonage) have always been upfront about using a different system than POTS lines.

As for useless. Where else can you get international calling for $25 a month flat rate? I can take my VoIP adapter where ever I go and still get phones calls at my number, this includes overseas. Emailed voicemail really helps too because you can listen to the messages from anywhere you get your email. Same with bill management and service changes. In other words, a truly portable service for flat rates. How is this useless?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Moogs
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2007-03-14, 08:37

Well to be fair, I'm sure there are pockets of good service around the country. That's true of crappy ISPs, too. You'll always find some people who are happy because they've been fortunate enough not to have tons of connection problems, billing problems or whatever.

For VoIP, probably depends a lot on the local infrastructure, whether you happen to get a good installer, etc. I've just read plenty of horror stories, and to me the 911 thing is inexcusable on their part and the fact that it still exists a problem shows they're not really dedicated to solving it, just foot-noting it. Comcast has some of the same troubles, too, they just seem to be much better at solving them / avoiding them more often. And why don't they have the 911 problem? Because they've invested in the technology to avoid it. Vonage hasn't and won't AFAIK.

Bush on Putin: "..I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... was able to get a sense of his soul."
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PKIDelirium
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2007-03-14, 11:24

I like my cable method. I think it operates differently than Vonage in ways, but it's fairly cheap, unlimited long distance, etc.

Plus Time Warner has the e911 service, so I'm perfectly comfortable with it.

The only downside is it doesn't work when the power is out, since it comes through the cable modem. Although I'm planning to get a UPS power supply just for the modem and router soon (Laptop has its own battery, which after over a year still lasts 3 hours.) so that part will be taken care of.

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Banana
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2007-03-14, 11:25

But would it still work in a local outage that would also affect the cable's system?
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PKIDelirium
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2007-03-14, 11:39

That's the downside that will always be there, most likely. If the cable TV and internet service is out, the phone is out.

In the event of a local 911 outage, like if the dispatch center has to go "inactive," e911 will instead connect to the closest working dispatch center.

The majority of the cable lines around here are buried, and there are very few outages. When I had regular phone, it was out a LOT, as all those lines are above ground and most of them pretty old.

Early '09 Mac mini (Mountain Lion), Mid '05 14" iBook G4 (Tiger), iPhone 4S (Black)
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Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2007-04-06, 16:23

SWEEET, VONAGE!!

Quote:
A U.S. district court judge on Friday barred VOIP provider Vonage from signing up new customers after the company lost a patent infringement lawsuit to Verizon Communications.

Judge Claude Hilton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied Vonage’s request to stay an injunction pending its appeal of a patent infringement ruling. On March 8, a federal jury found that Vonage infringed three Verizon patents and must pay $58 million in damages plus royalties.
Quote:
Verizon sued Vonage last June, alleging the VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) provider had violated seven of its patents involving packet-based calling technology.
One stupid decision among many other stupid decisions. Pwned.
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Banana
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2007-04-06, 16:25

Wait. I'm confused. Who's the bad guy here? (I'm not talking about from a legal viewpoint but rather from consumer viewpoint here)
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Moogs
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2007-04-06, 16:26

I was being sarcastic with my "sweet" comment. No secret I'm not a fan of Vonage. From a customer standpoint, all I can say is existing customers (according to Vonage) will not be affected by this ruling; only new ones.

Bush on Putin: "..I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... was able to get a sense of his soul."
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Banana
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2007-04-06, 16:29

Yeah, it's just that I thought Vonage were "better" for consumers, since they had a competitively priced plan that made much more sense than any telco's "Bend over like a good boy and let us fuck you and rob you blind" plan.
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turtle
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2007-04-06, 18:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
Yeah, it's just that I thought Vonage were "better" for consumers, since they had a competitively priced plan that made much more sense than any telco's "Bend over like a good boy and let us fuck you and rob you blind" plan.
That is one of the selling points, though there are far more features that are built into the service. A simple one is that I can take my phone adapter with me on a vacation and connect it to a broadband connection and get calls on my same phone number. As in, I can go on vacation in Europe and take my adapter with me and still receive local calls where my home phone is dialed to my adapter from my family back home.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Majost
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2007-04-06, 19:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle2472 View Post
That is one of the selling points, though there are far more features that are built into the service. A simple one is that I can take my phone adapter with me on a vacation and connect it to a broadband connection and get calls on my same phone number. As in, I can go on vacation in Europe and take my adapter with me and still receive local calls where my home phone is dialed to my adapter from my family back home.
I did Vonage for a year. My personal favorite feature that I used every day: Email voice mail.

Individual voicemails, tagged by phone number, sent to my email address. Brilliant!
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turtle
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2007-04-06, 20:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Majost View Post
I did Vonage for a year. My personal favorite feature that I used every day: Email voice mail.

Individual voicemails, tagged by phone number, sent to my email address. Brilliant!
My house loves Vonage. The forwarding after "x" seconds of ringing option is perfect for us. We can change the time online just so people don't think we are avoiding them. (Even though we never answer one of the lines. It's only there for my Ex-bitch to have a valid contact number for the daughter she donated an egg to.)

Good news for Vonage according to C|Net!
Quote:
Vonage said late Friday that a federal appeals court has temporarily lifted an injunction granted earlier in the day that prohibited the Internet phone company from adding new customers.

In a morning hearing that lasted about an hour, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria, Va. ordered Vonage not to accept any new customers while it continues to infringe on Verizon Communications patents covering some aspects of Internet phone calls.

"We just got word from (the court) that they gave us a temporary stay until they hear our request for our permanent stay" on Hilton's order, Vonage spokeswoman Brooke Schulz told CNET News.com.

Schulz said the company filed for the emergency reprieve during mid-afternoon on Friday, just hours after Hilton's order.
It does seem low to just cut the company off. Make them pay out the wazoo, but don't cut them off. People like me are depending on their service. I think the earlier ruling knew that was going to happen though, otherwise he wouldn't have told them to appeal the decision.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Moogs
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Join Date: May 2004
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2007-04-12, 10:45

Wo HOO, Wo-hoo-hoooO!

Buh-bye Mr. CEO!

http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/04...php?lsrc=mwrss

Quote:
The company announced plans to cut its costs by $140 million, including $110 million in unnecessary marketing expenses, in order to become more competitive.
I hope they cut the unnecessary "SWEET... VONAGE!" television ads, too.

Bush on Putin: "..I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... was able to get a sense of his soul."
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turtle
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2007-04-12, 13:37

I still have never seen the ads, but the good part is I'm not going to have my phone shut off. The legal officer for Vonage thinks that the appeal will last more than two years and by that point the laws will change and there will have to be another trial. At that point, Vonage will no doubt have a work-around in place.

Since I never kept up the the CEO's, I guess this news doesn't shock me. The ship started to go down on his shift, time to put someone in who can (hopefully) save it.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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