Internet Voice: Business 2.0 Technology of The Year

b2_2004oct_226x309The new issue of Business 2.0 has started shipping, and I am frankly quite excited about this one. Many reasons – the first being that I wrote the cover story, The New Road To Riches (See Cover), which is about how tiny start-ups are shunning venture capital and going out and building businesses on a shoestring budget. Due to the maturing nature of the Silicon Valley, these companies are the new “R&D Labs” and are being snapped up by large players. Oddpost, an email start-up was acquired by Yahoo; and there are several other examples of companies like Finger Twitch and Message Rite. I think it was Inc. magazine which moaned that small businesses don’t get venture capital. Well they don’t need it. I remember thinking when I read that Inc magazine piece: they got questions, we got answers. We meaning Business 2.0.

The second reason I am tickled pink about this issue: our technologies of the year list. While there is a lot of cool stuff, our technology of the year is “Internet Voice.” I don’t limit myself to the VoIP revolution from a consumer perspective. We look at the total impact of packetized voice, which in many ways is bigger than Vonages of the world. The reason it is technology of the years: well because it came out of the geekdom into the mainstream. Cable companies started selling packet voice to consumers, AT&T changed its entire business model. It is a powerful force, it will change communications, and it will bring a new telecom order. This disruptive technology may end up rewarding some of the big telecom players because branding still counts for a lot. Companies to watch: AT&T, Verizon, and, of course, Vonage.