Today (January 19), Intercall announced that it acquired Stream57. Stream57 has a very nice product for large scale multimedia streamed webcasts. I have worked with them in the past and appeared on one of their live panel webcasts from broadcast studios in Times Square. I wish them the very best in their new business arrangement.
What strikes me, though, is the way that West Corporation (which owns Intercall as a subsidiary business operation) is quietly moving its way towards becoming the single-source supplier of the real-time conferencing world. You have to look at company announcements under both the West and Intercall names, because they switch between referring to one or the other in official press releases. But over the last several years they have snapped up Stream57, Raindance, Genesys, Corvent, ConferenceCall.com, Sprint Conferencing, and other collaboration technology and service providers. And the really big conferencing products that they can’t acquire outright are offered through reseller arrangements. So you can go through Intercall to use Microsoft Live Meeting, Cisco WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, or IBM LotusLive.
They remind me of a line in the cheesy sci-fi action movie “Demolition Man.” In the not too distant future, Sandra Bullock tells Sylvester Stallone: “Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive the Franchise Wars. Now all restaurants are Taco Bell.” Will all conferencing solutions eventually be Intercall?
What’s strange is how they have this huge technology base, an insanely large customer base, and still continue to fly under the radar compared to other companies with an equivalent footprint in their industries. You certainly know all about Walmart, Cisco, IBM, Amazon.com, and Microsoft because they advertise and market themselves incessantly, with tons of news stories written about them. Now look at Intercall’s News & Events web page. Four press releases since last June? Three featured “In the news” stories? Wow. That’s a company that has other concerns than making noise about itself. But I’ll tell you this… If I was a web conferencing vendor looking to get bought up by a larger entity, I’d be knocking on Intercall’s door first!