By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
In an open letter to the company's shareholders, VoIP provider 8x8's CEO Bryan Martin said the company would resume sales of its Packet8 videophone after “extensive negotiations with our supplier” helped lower the product's cost.
The videophone will available in late August through the company's Web site for $199.
The letter was largely directed at allaying stockholders concerns about the company's “volatile” share price. Martin attributed some of that volatility to the recent resignation of company chief financial officer James Sullivan, general market turbulence and competitor Vonage's troubled IPO.
Martin said 8x8 was positioned to whether the storm because of its small business and video products, which offer better customer retention than residential telephony, and its low-cost of customer acquisition.
“We have absolutely no intention of competing with nonsensical consumer promotions and advertising whereby customers added will never be considered profitable subscribers,” Martin wrote.
To better position the company, 8x8 is also “continuing the development of new videophone technologies and working on a new, lower cost, next-generation videophone platform,” Martin indicated.
8x8's Packet8 videophone has had an on-again, off-again relationship with retailers. Company executives have indicated in previous interviews that a “sub-$100 model” will eventually be sold through retail. In the interim, the company is trying to make an end-run around video telephony's perennial “two-phone” problem. With 8x8's new PC soft-phone, Web cam users can dial Packet8 videophone owners and vice versa. In this scenario, only one person need own a Packet8 videophone, while the other can use a Web cam and 8x8 software on his or her computer.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.