Verizon launches Visual Voice Mail

Verizon launches Visual Voice Mail

Summary: One of the iPhone's most compelling features has been commoditized by Verizon Wireless.The Basking Ridge, N.

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Verizon launches Visual Voice MailOne of the iPhone's most compelling features has been commoditized by Verizon Wireless.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless announced that they are now offering the once Apple-only Visual Voice Mail feature on their LG Voyager handset (which I reviewed on 12 December 2007) for an additional US$2.99 per month. Neither Apple, nor Sprint charge additional fees for their visual voice mail features on the iPhone and the Samsung Instinct. VZW says that the feature will be added to other handsets but didn't offer a timeline.

Aside: Do you think that they called it "Visual Voice Mail" (three words) instead of "Visual Voicemail"  (two words) to keep out of Apple's sights?

Verizon launches Visual Voice MailThe VZW press release elaborates:

Customers can store up to 40 messages for 40 days – double the storage capacity and nearly double the retention time of Basic Voice Mail. In addition, customers can create up to 10 greetings, as well as up to 20 distribution lists and 50 distribution members to receive messages.

According to Electronista, VZW's Visual Voice Mail has several features that the iPhone version doesn't including "the ability to add an unknown caller as a contact, forward messages, or store permanent copies to the phone itself rather than rely on a remote server."

Verizon launches Visual Voice MailBack in March 2008 Klausner Technologies sued Apple and AT&T Mobility for infringing on a patent outlining Visual Voicemail first issued to Klausner in 1994. The suit was settled on 18 June with Klausner licensing the technology to both Apple and AT&T. It appears that Klausner is cashing in by licensing the patent to all comers.

Verizon Wireless's network currently serves over 68 million customers and was Apple's first choice in selecting a wireless carrier for the iPhone.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Legal, Mobility, Verizon

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7 comments
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  • Visual voice mail for other ATT phones?

    Is there any news if ATT is going to provide the feature on other ATT phones?
    archnova
    • Why worry about AT&T?

      You can get the service for pretty much any phone and have been able to for several years. You don't need AT&T to offer it on other phones, go out and get it yourself.

      Some are pay-for services, some are free.

      SimulSays (now called "PhoneTag," I think) is pay-for service. Available for BBs and WM phones. They actually transcribe voicemails, so the contents can be read as well as heard.

      YouMail is free, and available on pretty much any cell phone. You can receive the voicemail via an email or on the phone, or you can log into their site and retrieve it online. YouMail is a true voicemail service, and they have a lot of features, like personalized greetings, true caller ID (as in, the name, number, and location of people calling you that aren't in your contacts list), and what they call "DitchMail" which is when they play a message to an unwanted person (like a telemarketer, or any number you have "blocked") or play the disconnected beeping and message and then hang up on them. LOL It's a really cool service.

      There's also CallWave and SpinVox which I don't know much about, but have read pretty good things about them.
      laura.b
      • Gosh...

        I should email YouMail and see if they'll pay me for that bit of advertising I just did there. LOL


        Sorry about that. Didn't mean to ramble on about it. I just find the service neat, is all. :)
        laura.b
  • RE: Verizon launches Visual Voice Mail

    Hate to be nit-picky - but commoditized usually refers to a once valuable item being devalued because it is abundantly available and made low margin/low cost. Since two carriers are offering the service free and now a 3rd is charging for it, doesn't really make it "commoditized". Although I understand what you are trying to say.

    As for your aside. US trademark law is based on sight, sound, meaning and marketing channel.

    In other words - Visual Voice Mail and Visual Voicemail both sound the same. The space (or lack thereof) makes no difference. They could even call it Visual VoiceFail - but if they were marketing to mobile phone users, it could still be considered trademark infringement.
    casademike
    • RE: Verizon launches Visual Voice Mail

      [i]As for your aside. US trademark law is based on sight, sound, meaning and marketing channel.

      In other words - Visual Voice Mail and Visual Voicemail both sound the same. The space (or lack thereof) makes no difference. They could even call it Visual VoiceFail - but if they were marketing to mobile phone users, it could still be considered trademark infringement.[/i]

      Fortunately it's not that simple or it would be possible for anyone to trademark any common word. One case in point is when Victoria's Secret tried to sue Victor's Little Secret, a lingerie and novelty shop in 2003 and the supreme court unanimously ruled "Victor's Little Secret" did not infringe on the trademark held by the similar sounding "Victoria's Secret. The question of similar sounding names involves the legal standard called "dilution," which the federal government interprets as "the lessening of the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish goods and services."

      Macdaddy "Steve Jobs" would have to prove that "Visual Voice Mail", while not only a "brand" name but a description of the service itself "dilutes" Apple's Visual VoiceMail mark to the point where it lessens Apple's mark's capacity to identify and distinguish "foods or services" sold to the point of causing economic harm."

      I personally think that would be a hard sell, especially considering that this technology is being licensed by a third party and is not exclusive to apple anyway. :0)
      Night Breed
  • RE: Verizon launches Visual Voice Mail

    Hate to be nit-picky too,

    From the article:
    "According to Electronista, VZW?s Visual Voice Mail has
    several features that the iPhone version doesn?t including
    ?the ability to add an unknown caller as a contact, ..."

    The iPhone can add the caller to the phone's address book.
    just saying.
    flipper_z
  • Keeping out of Apple's Sights

    No, I don't. Because Apple didn't do Visual Voicemail first. SimulScribe did. It would be quite pathetic for Apple to try and sue someone for copying what they copied.
    laura.b