My chat with Jeffrey Citron resulted prompted Michael Robertson to send me this response via email/comment posting. I think Michael makes some good points and I have basically edited them down to fit! (I should have checked the lawsuit, before writing down that Fry’s was not sued. Error is regretted.)
I actually think Jeff’s toner analogy is a good one. It is an awful consumer experience to buy toner today because there is no standard. If you buy a new printer you have to throw away all your toner. I often buy the wrong kind because I’m slightly off on the model number. Yuck!
We definitely don’t want VOIP going the non-standard way. Fortunately there is SIP which the industry is getting behind. Vonage is de-standardizing SIP and trying to make devices only work with their service. Can you imagine what the ISP world would look like if all the first modems would ONLY work with Prodigy? That’s what Vonage is doing and I think it’s awful for consumers. Mr. Citron complains that SIPphone did not sue Fryes. Actually, they are also named as a defendant. We posted the entire lawsuit at http://www.sipphone.com/legal. Immediately after the lawsuit they changed their web descriptions which is a good start.
We’ve been surprised how many people who have bought the Vonage device have contacted us and explained how they were confused. Not surprisingly, companies selling uncrippled devices contacted us as well saying they supported us. All we want is for Vonage to fully disclose to consumers their practices of intentionally crippling the device and requiring monthly fees and termination fees which they do not do now. This way consumers can make informed choices. I’m confident consumers will choose open SIP devices an d services which do not require a monthly fee to function.