Opinions are starting to gather about what yesterday's court decision holding Vonage as infringer in six SprintNextel patents means.
Noting Vonage stock's all-time low closing price of $1.30 a share yesterday, Om thinks it is only a matter of time before Vonage disappears, going the way of SunRocket. Mike at Techdirt thinks Vonage "may not be able to survive." Mike says it is a shame because while Vonage holds no Patents, it's figured out a way to market VoIP to the masses that many VoIP Patent-holders have not. But at least to me, Richard Doherty, research director with consultancy-marketing research firm the Envisioneering Group, has the most relevant opinion.
Richard, is a keen analyst I know from my days writing about the business side of television and cable company technical issues.
Even 15 years ago I remember respecting Richard's opinions and prognostications as being equally informed by an intuitive, barrier-free comprehension of technology, business-to-business dealings, and consumer behavior. Kind of like one of those folks who is both left-brained and right-brained.
So when I woke up this morning and read Richard's words in the Washington Post I sensed an insight into an eventual outcome I first raised nearly two years ago on these very pages.
Post staff writer Kim Hart quotes Richard as saying:
"Sprint doesn't want those royalties as much as it wants access to those customers," Doherty said, adding that the decision gives Sprint more leverage in either reaching a settlement with Vonage, or acquiring the company, as was rumored earlier this year.
Let me add, Richard knows Patents. He holds 12 of his own.
If Sprint realizes that the bundle they have with Comcast makes them only a subsidiary player in VoIP, and that the Clearwire national WiMAX fruition is many years away, then they will admit how useful it might be to acquire a company with 2.3 million subscribers.
If Vonage gets offered a deal by Sprint and turns it down, they might well wind up as DOA as Om and Mike predict.