For years, VoIP systems were slow to catch on for two very big reasons: (1) the quality really wasn't that great and (2) they were a pain to set up. The quality issue has pretty much gone away, and Vonage should get some credit for creating a popular solution that solves the second problem. Setting up a Vonage line is painfully easy, and makes many people think it's just an alternative phone line - rather than having them think about the fact that it's actually VoIP. Now, they're going one step further. They've teamed up with TI to build a single chip that will basically include Vonage's software features - making it much easier for companies to build hardware that will act as a Vonage phone. While, on the face of it, this may seem like a boring technology partnership, Om Malik points out that this is another step in the "Vonage Everywhere strategy, where they expand the possibilities of where and how you use the Vonage system. This is, indeed, big news. In fact, one of my issues with Vonage was that, in making it seem exactly like a standard phone system, they were actually losing some of the advantages that VoIP provided them. This partnership suggests that the "looks like a phone, acts like a phone" strategy got them out into the market, but they know they now need to take that and expand it beyond what traditional phones can do.
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