Apple Looking to Acquire iCall?

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Silicon Alley Insider[/i] reports that it has received an unconfirmed tip claiming that Apple is in talks to purchase Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider iCall.
One reader just sent us a message that Apple is in talks to acquire VoIP company iCall in a $50 million to $60 million deal.
As expected, iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert refused to comment on the rumors, and Apple has not offered a statement on the issue.

The report comes amidst growing competition between Apple and Google that has extended to corporate acquisitions with Apple's purchase of Lala Media and Google's earlier acquisition of AdMob. In both instances, sources have claimed that the other company had been involved in talks with the targeted companies and considering purchases.

As for reasons why Apple might be considering purchasing iCall, Silicon Alley Insider suggests that Apple may want to have a VoIP solution in its arsenal as customers increasingly take interest in moving from traditional voice services to more Web-based approaches.
As data networks evolve, it will be possible to make calls as well over the Internet as by using a voice network, and cheaper. (It's already getting there.) And that's when Apple may seek to increase its control over iPhone owners -- and recurring revenue from them -- by becoming a VoIP service provider. Moreover, as that becomes a bigger industry, Apple should not give that business to Skype, Google, or anyone else.
The report also notes that iCall, with over 100,000 users, should have a good handle on the VoIP industry, and also happens to own the "iCall" trademark that Apple could conceivably be interested in, although that alone clearly would not be sufficient reason for an acquisition.

Article Link: Apple Looking to Acquire iCall?
 

guzhogi

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Aug 31, 2003
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Seems interesting & somewhat logical. Not sure how I feel about Apple controlling the whole process of the iPhone (hardware, service, etc.). If they do this, they should really change the name. Some people might confuse iCall with iCal, the calendar app.
 
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Icaras

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Mar 18, 2008
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Lot of buy outs lately.
 
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Alvi

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Oct 31, 2008
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I think apple is getting a bit shopaholish with all the companies and stuff! I would like to ad to their shopping list Intel, Nvidia and google..... oh and if they still have a few bucks, please buy the universe :)
 
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macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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This is the reason that despite AT&T allowing VOIP over 3g, Apple has yet to approve a VOIP app that allows such transmissions over 3g. My bet is that iPhone OS 4.0 will contain a native VOIP app, or at least an update to the built in Phone app. This could also explain their "studying" of Google Voice.
 
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SkippyThorson

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I say go for it. As is, iCall sounds absolutely horrendous. I sound like a diver, about a foot under the surface, shouting at random. It's garbled, broken, and for the most part, incoherent. At least if Apple takes it, I know it'll work.

The only decent sounding VOIP program I've had on anything was Gizmo5 on my Mac. It was ok, but I wouldn't pay for it. Nothing has jumped out of that market to take the world by storm.

...and before someone says Skype has. No. I dislike that too.
 
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macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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Central U.S.
I think apple is getting a bit shopaholish with all the companies and stuff! I would like to ad to their shopping list Intel, Nvidia and google..... oh and if they still have a few bucks, please buy the universe :)
Hah, well that's what happens when you have 30+ billion in cash reserves. You can afford to buy a few interesting 60ish million dollar companies here and there! All a drop in the bucket.

Steve shows up, opens his wallet, pulls out $60 million dollars, and says "Hi, I'd like to buy this company. Do you do gift wrapping? It's a surprise for Phil Schiller!"
 
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repeters

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Dec 11, 2009
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iCall should PAY Apple

The present audio quality of iCall is HORRIBLE and that has been the case since day 1. There is also a big delay (much worse than skype). On top of that there is no obvious user support.

If iCall is purchased by Apple it is iCall that should supply the cash!

Did I mention that I think iCall is an unqualified mess?
 
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Decrepit

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

Lot of buy outs lately.
That's what having a strong balance sheet will do for you in a downturn.

Buy companies with good products and people. Fold them in, and improve yourself.

Shareholders get upset at large firms for holding so much cash, but it's there for these types of situations.
 
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t0mat0

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They get the name, and the VoIP - sounds a decent idea (Google's done the same).
 
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aucl

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Oct 14, 2009
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i long hoped iChat would get a facelift that moves not only away from AOL protocol to XMPP (for mobile me) but also allows SIP services.

When iChat on the Mac will be not only messenger, but also softphone with deal out capabilities it will really rock!
Especially when it comes together with ichat for iPhone.

so please Apple, for this Christmas and New Year: iChat -> XMPP + SiP for Mac and iPhone
 
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Ysean

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2003
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I say go for it. As is, iCall sounds absolutely horrendous. I sound like a diver, about a foot under the surface, shouting at random. It's garbled, broken, and for the most part, incoherent. At least if Apple takes it, I know it'll work.

The only decent sounding VOIP program I've had on anything was Gizmo5 on my Mac. It was ok, but I wouldn't pay for it. Nothing has jumped out of that market to take the world by storm.

...and before someone says Skype has. No. I dislike that too.
I can't speak for iCall in terms of product quality... But, it sounds to me as if you probably don't know how to set up a proper VoIP end. I use both Gafachi and Vitelity. The sound quality on both is very acceptable *if* you understand the backend requirements and configure your systems & network accordingly.

Of course, it's going to sound like crap if you don't have enough outbound or inbound bandwidth available for the call(s). QoS is also generally a necessity. Please, don't forget that the *real* total bandwidth per call for a VoIP session using g711 is about 100Kbit/s each direction once overhead is taken into account. g729 drops that to about 65Kbit/s.

There are all sorts of variables to consider when setting up a VoIP environment. Most people don't know or get them. This is the number one cause of poor VoIP sound quality. VoIP, specifically SIP, was never meant to be an end-user configured technology. It was born of the traditional telco environment. As such, it is highly configurable. That configurability can also be a devil in disguise. If you think VoIP has issues now you should have seen what VoIP was like in the mid/late 90's.

Ysean
 
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MacRumorette

macrumors newbie
Dec 15, 2009
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There are a variety of arguments about why Apple might or might not purchase iCall but I think the most compelling is that iCall holds the patent for VoIP advertising.

Perhaps it is an attempt by Apple to keep Google from driving prices down through ad subsidies?

Link to the patent: http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=05KiAAAAEBAJ

The writing is on the wall, calling is going to become a commodity like free e-mail has, ad supported and free.
 
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kingtj

macrumors 68030
Oct 23, 2003
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re: VoiP and configuring systems correctly

My complaint with VoIP is, many of the variables you speak of are outside the control of the end-user at home. Even with the VoIP service I pay a monthly fee for (Phone Power, LLC), I get drop-outs in the voice that last about 2 seconds, every few minutes, somewhat randomly.

I discovered that many (but not all) AT&T U-Verse subscribers using Phone Power, LLC for VoIP telephony have the exact same issue, despite all of us having what should be more than adequate bandwidth. (I have an 18mbit down/1.5mbit up package.)

Since the U-Verse broadband service streams television as well as provides your broadband Internet though, it's not possible to put another router in front of the supplied "Residential Gateway" box. Therefore, any QoS features in a given router will do no good. (But not sure it's really a QoS issue anyway - as I get this problem even when nothing else is using ANY of the bandwidth.)

When I used to subscribe to AT&T's own VoIP service (CallVantage), it worked just fine -- and now, they prefer you pay more for their "U-Verse voice" VoIP service. So I suspect they're messing with 3rd. party VoIP packets on the back end, somehow.


I can't speak for iCall in terms of product quality... But, it sounds to me as if you probably don't know how to set up a proper VoIP end. I use both Gafachi and Vitelity. The sound quality on both is very acceptable *if* you understand the backend requirements and configure your systems & network accordingly.

Of course, it's going to sound like crap if you don't have enough outbound or inbound bandwidth available for the call(s). QoS is also generally a necessity. Please, don't forget that the *real* total bandwidth per call for a VoIP session using g711 is about 100Kbit/s each direction once overhead is taken into account. g729 drops that to about 65Kbit/s.

There are all sorts of variables to consider when setting up a VoIP environment. Most people don't know or get them. This is the number one cause of poor VoIP sound quality. VoIP, specifically SIP, was never meant to be an end-user configured technology. It was born of the traditional telco environment. As such, it is highly configurable. That configurability can also be a devil in disguise. If you think VoIP has issues now you should have seen what VoIP was like in the mid/late 90's.

Ysean
 
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backdraft

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2002
328
1
USA
Mail, iCal, Address Book, Finder and Open Directory Integration

I think this would be a great move for Apple especially if they decide to enter the Enterprise.

They can develop a competitor to Microsoft Unified Communications: http://www.microsoft.com/uc/en/us/default.aspx

With Mail, iCal, Address Book, Finder and Open Directory Integration. Imagine receiving one call and being able to pull up all the related information for the caller instantly at your finger tips. Emails, projects, related documents, work order/online tickets (via an API linking to a back end web ticketing system), calendar schedule, availability, stats etc...

In tandem with a commercial version of the Easypay POS iPod Touch system and an iPhone enterprise management application, Apple would make serious inroads into the Enterprise Market.
 
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MattInOz

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2006
2,761
0
Sydney
I think this would be a great move for Apple especially if they decide to enter the Enterprise.

They can develop a competitor to Microsoft Unified Communications: http://www.microsoft.com/uc/en/us/default.aspx

With Mail, iCal, Address Book, Finder and Open Directory Integration. Imagine receiving one call and being able to pull up all the related information for the caller instantly at your finger tips. Emails, projects, related documents, work order/online tickets (via an API linking to a back end web ticketing system), calendar schedule, availability, stats etc...

In tandem with a commercial version of the Easypay POS iPod Touch system and an iPhone enterprise management application, Apple would make serious inroads into the Enterprise Market.

Yep, if some of the people we've had to deal with getting Asterisk server and small office system working and reliable has been hard enough and too many cowboy who've jumped on the VoIP bandwagon to deal with on the way. Other than cheaper VoIP outbound calls we haven't gotten any real advantage out of the system. Alot of the other features that where meant to be deliveried as part of the big sales pitch never made it or have been written off as to hard.

Now if Apple (or really anymore with passion) could come in to the market and have a drop in solution that worked server and client side and delivery good workable no fuss results then it's going to be a winner.

Apple are in a good position to be that company. It would seem to fit with what they do best.

And to be able to have new workstations fire up iChat and have an extra extension, or flick a switch on the iPhone and get it to work in the system. Then those sorts of things will sell well to mid-range businesses. Have a chat window that tells you who in/out of the office. Still we'd all then need some form of iChat endorsed handset like a nice Stereo Bluetooth head set. Maybe they'll add bluetooth to the shuffle for that propose.
 
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SkippyThorson

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2007
1,535
528
Utica, NY
I can't speak for iCall in terms of product quality... But, it sounds to me as if you probably don't know how to set up a proper VoIP end. I use both Gafachi and Vitelity. The sound quality on both is very acceptable *if* you understand the backend requirements and configure your systems & network accordingly.

Of course, it's going to sound like crap if you don't have enough outbound or inbound bandwidth available for the call(s). QoS is also generally a necessity. Please, don't forget that the *real* total bandwidth per call for a VoIP session using g711 is about 100Kbit/s each direction once overhead is taken into account. g729 drops that to about 65Kbit/s.

There are all sorts of variables to consider when setting up a VoIP environment. Most people don't know or get them. This is the number one cause of poor VoIP sound quality. VoIP, specifically SIP, was never meant to be an end-user configured technology. It was born of the traditional telco environment. As such, it is highly configurable. That configurability can also be a devil in disguise. If you think VoIP has issues now you should have seen what VoIP was like in the mid/late 90's.

Ysean
I'm talking about the iPhone App of iCall, I should have specified that. Of course you need the ideal environment for the call itself to be clear over Wifi, but I'm talking about the iPhone. There's nothing to set up. Sure I could allow max bandwidth possible, but that doesn't do much for the rest of my connection. :p
 
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