Hmmm interesting day today. Basically Microsoft bought Tellme for $800 million dollars.
Long history between myself and Tellme;
So basically in April 2005 someone I knew from Australia went to work for Tellme in CA. He called to talk to me about his new company and eventually I was introduced to his boss, TellMe's CTO - Don Jackson.
I was explaining to Don about my involvement with the Asterisk community and how Tellme could really benefit by getting involved.
What I was trying to suggest they set up was a speech recognition ASP SIP gateway.
The concept behind this is that there were 20,000 Asterisk servers globally (now probably closer to 35,000), if Tell Me were able to set up a SIP gateway that allowed "the little people" to do 'offboard speech recognition processing' on a low value prepaid basis then there would be sufficient volume to set up a special channel support team just for the asterisk community and this whilst initially would require more support, through code reuse and easy install sample conf files would be a valuable market.
So long story short, this went back and forward for a while, nothing came out of it until Tellme announced a joint venture with Skype http://www.skype.com/partners/voice/ to do exactly what I was proposing.
This was just plain dumb because although skype are set up to handle the front end billing (this is one of the main issues with Tellme setting up a SIP gateway) no real developer is going to be happy using a skype channel for their Vxml application.
Of course they've basically made nothing out of it and the idea for a sip gateway is still sitting there unrealised BUT... thems the breaks. Besides they get to work for MS now and become zillionaires.
Oh and in case anyone out there wants to tell me there is no money to be made in servicing "the little people" check out how many ITSP's exist in just north america providing termination services http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/VOIP+Service+Providers+Business+North+America the secret is automation from credit card processing to minute allocation to processing allocation. Get that all sorted and your done, application stickiness will ensure an ongoing revenue.
Articles linking to the news.
Interesting chart in here showing the VC relationships (all told kicked in $237M over 8 years to get this payoff)