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Networking Channel News Roundup Dec. 29-Jan.5

This week's headlines: VoIP pronounced dead, and BroadSoft acquires Sylantro

R.I.P: VoIP pronounced dead

Anyone looking for a glass-half-full take on VoIP in 2009 should avoid where iotum CEO Alec Saunders decries 2008 as the year VoIP died. Last week, Saunders wrote that VoIP has become nothing more than basic plumbing -- not a market differentiator. He went on to predict that VoIP would go the same way as TCP/IP. "It may come as a surprise to some of you to know that in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a TCP/IP industry as well …. As the IP stack became common on all computing devices, TCP/IP went from being a differentiator to a commodity," Saunders wrote. As proof, he pointed to the disappearance of VoIP-specific companies and events. Saunders is instead a believer in social media with voice as one element.

Jeff Pulver, VoIP's uber cheerleader and founder of VoIP event VON, countered the argument. "The promise of VoIP is alive and well," Pulver wrote on his own blog last week. He said VoIP forever altered the worldwide telecom market and that it is central to the communications ecosystem, which includes -- among other apps -- social media, unified communications and Internet TV.

Vyatta takes on Cisco with open source router

Open source networking startup Vyatta has launched a router and security appliance that it hopes will take on Cisco with lower pricing, reported last week. The Vyatta 2502 router and security networking appliance -- which will be sold through the company's channel -- has a 2.4 GB, dual-core processor and 2 GB of memory. The appliance also provides virus and intrusion protection. "The down economy is playing into our hands, with customers asking us to help them expand or replace outdated Cisco equipment at a price they [can] afford," Vyatta marketing director Tom McCafferty said. Still, partners selling the appliance will have to battle Cisco's mighty channel and the company's strong brand.

Leading VoIP applications players fuse

VoIP application veteran BroadSoft has acquired competitor Sylantro Systems -- a deal that has long been rumored in the industry. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed last week.'s Om Malik reported that it was likely that no money had changed hands but that BroadSoft ate Sylantro's debt. BroadSoft says the acquisition will extend its customer base and ensure larger market share. "Sylantro has been a strong competitor of BroadSoft for 10 years," BroadSoft president and CEO Michael Tessler said in a statement. "This acquisition further advances our market and innovative leadership position."

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