Chris Kranky

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BroadSoft IPO

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

BroadSoft took it’s shares public today and echoing the state of the VoIP industry, the share price immediately plunged. It was befitting that on the very same week that BroadSoft, the leader of Hosted PBX VoIP Software, goes public, one it’s customers Best Buy decides to throw in the towel on it’s Speakeasy division, offering hosted PBX service. Best Buy had acquired the company for $97m in 2007. It’s exit to Megapath was likely at a high loss with the classic, “financial terms were not disclosed”. A dog is after all, still a dog.

One VoIP blogger enthusiastically wrote that fixed line telephony is dead and that “everyone is moving to VoIP”. They got the first half of the statement right, the second half dead wrong. Telephony period is probably no longer a growth industry. Technology long ago figured out how to transport a voice call from one end of the earth to the other for fractions of a cent per minute. You know you’re in the wrong business when you start arguing about pricing to the right of the “.”.

Of course, snobs in the wireless industry, happily point out that MoU (minutes of usage) for voice on mobile continues to grow. Big shocker, the minutes are moving from fixed or VoIP lines to mobile. However, one need not look far to perhaps see another trend emerging. In Japan, MoU for the average subscriber has actually been declining in the last years. IM, email, texting, social networks have all started, not to replace, but take minutes of communications away from traditional voice communications. No doubt this trend will continue.

Mike Tessler smiled broadly as the NASDAQ closing bell cermony, not the least concerned about his share price dropping 8% on the first day of trading. The ‘net is he’s now raised enough money to keep going, pay himself  and his buddies well and with the pesky VC’s shortly leaving the board as they exit their financial position, he can do whatever he wishes.  Or so he believes, wait until he meets a hedge fund operator.

Taking any company public is the result of a lot of luck, a lot of work and often a company is built on top of the corpses who have long since departed, all where a part of the success. I congratulate the extended team both current and deceased on the effort and there is little reason not to wish them well.