SIPPhone, Skype, and the Death of Big Telecom

By Deane Barker on April 6, 2004

SIPphone – Call worldwide over your broadband Internet connection with any phone: This is a new IP telephony service started by Michael Roberston, the guy behind Lindows and (he’s not a magnet for controversy or anything…).

SIPphone makes it possible for people to send and receive free calls worldwide. Just plug in a SIPphone or regular phone with a SIPadaptor into a broadband Internet connection, dial the desired SIP number, and start talking.

In this Wired article, Robertson says…

“We’re going to rock the telecom world,” he says. “The industry as it exists today is a complete hose for consumers. The cost structure just isn’t fair.”

I think he’s right personally. I read a great article in Fortune (subscription only) about Skype which quoted the head of the FCC saying something like “the current telecom industry is screwed.” Not his actual words, but that was the gist of it. Let me repeat that this was the head of the FCC talking.

If you’ve ever used Skype you’ll understand. It’s not hyperbole to say that the telecom industry is going to get pummeled over this, and, unlike Big Media, there doesn’t seem to be a valid legal challenge. This is going to end up being a case of the geeks kicking butt and the Old Guard not being able to do a damn thing about it.



  1. The actual quote from the FCC chairman, as found at

    “I knew it was over when I downloaded Skype,” Michael Powell, chairman, Federal Communications Commission, explained. “When the inventors of KaZaA are distributing for free a little program that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality is fantastic, and it’s free – it’s over. The world will change now inevitably.” Fortune Magazine, 16th February 2004

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