by Mike Masnick

Why Is Google Teaming Up With A Former Tea Importer For VoIP?

from the just-wondering... dept

We had decided to skip over the story making the rounds about Google teaming up with VoIP Inc., most likely as a way to add a connection between its Google Talk product and the traditional (PSTN) phone system. It wasn't that interesting, because everyone knew they were going to eventually connect to the phone system, and the details of how or with whom didn't seem worth digging into... except once you realize what some of those details are. Credit goes to Om Malik for reminding us of VoIP Inc.'s... er... colorful past that we wrote about a few years ago. The company was run by a convicted felon (for robbery) (update: correcting a point here. We've been alerted that the old exec is no longer directly associated with the management team or the board of the company), began its life as a tea importing company, and eventually became VoIP Inc. through a reverse merger, and involves plenty of other questionable activities. Light Reading notes that the deal isn't officially about Google Talk, but just for Google's new click to call initiative, though lots of people expect it to eventually expand to the Talk product as well. Either way, it seems like an odd company for Google to team up with.

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  • identicon
    Patti G Wise, 1 Feb 2006 @ 5:06am


    I have Voip phine service & I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I think it is great you guys are going to team with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Arnold Mehau, 1 Feb 2006 @ 6:12am

    VoIP Inc?

    VoIP Inc. has never been anything but a PR factory. Lots of BS and no substance. They picked right up where Shawn Lewis left off when they acquired his company in a fire sale and made him CTO. 'Lewis, by far is the biggest blowhard in the VoIP business and is a convicted felon to boot. At best VoIP Inc is a small reseller of CLEC connections. This is just one more PR stunt and I bet the Google folks are far from happy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      A Funny Guy / The Poison Pen, 1 Feb 2006 @ 11:07am

      Re: VoIP Inc?

      Remember - Convited felon can apply to alot of people now a days.....

      There are around 100 new laws pasted each day and no one can keep up with it all.

      Lets sit back and see if this guy can deliver a good useable product and make his money honestly.

      Everybody deserves to be given the opportuity to make it...... legally.

      The fact this man is a convictied felon should never have been brough up unless he is doing something illegal NOW.

      That is in his past and all we can hope is that he has learned a lesson he needed to learn and has now mended his ways..

      A kinder and gentler - Poinson Pen ( DOn't worrry its only temporary ) :()

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2006 @ 8:34am

    Do no evil . . .

    Google is a great search tool, I use their instant messenger (me and the 5 other people I know :-) ...) and I love GMail and Google Maps. I don't use them because of a mantra, I use them because "they just work" and they don't do much more than that.
    My point is, if teaming up with VoIP Inc., because of their "shady past", causes their Instant Messenger talk capabilities to just *not* work, or in other ways impacts my life where a competing solution does not, I won't use it.
    I am surprised at the number of stories that are hitting the blogs that imply Google is "doing evil" (China Censoring, DRM) or associating themselves with companies that are traditionally seen as Evil (AOL, now VoIP Inc.).Personally, I don't ever trust a company or person that goes out of their way to say they're "Not Evil". When you're "Not Evil", it is apparent in your actions (Support of open source projects, unobtrusive advertising that is actually useful, paying those who display your ads a fair wage, explicit statement if your company's policies and having strict accountability when someone within your company violates your own rules).
    I'm beginning to wonder if what is really being seen here is "If you repeat something enough times, it becomes true."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    haggie, 1 Feb 2006 @ 9:49am


    Why do companies persist in creating new IM clients?

    I use Trillian Pro and am able to IM with anyone regardless of which half-baked closed IM that my friends or co-workers get suckered into using (AOL, ICQ, Y!, MSN, Google, Jabber).

    If Google really wanted to DO GOOD they would have partnered with Cerulean Studios, the makers of Trillian. THAT would have been a really interesting IM play...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Slavitch, 1 Feb 2006 @ 9:50am

    Google's Rookie Mistakes

    Wonderful. Looks like another spectactular fumble by a gang that are increasingly looking like amateurs.

    I wonder how long it will take before VOIP, Inc. is caught selling personal information.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      monkey, 1 Feb 2006 @ 10:03am

      Re: Google's Rookie Mistakes

      I wonder though. If google and voip inc. are in talks, perhaps they are talking about using voip inc's foothold in voip. That is to say, WITHOUT utilising voip inc's sordid leadership foofooraw-er's

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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