So if you follow the industry you’ve probably seen Vonage’s massive fall from grace the past month or two. First they have an IPO that should never have been done (their cost of acquistion is so high due to the marketing that there’s no way this would be a smart buy stock) at 17 plus bucks (which is about 12 more than it should have been). Then they get sued for patent infringement. Then they get sued by shareholders. Then they get sued for more patent infringements. Then they buy some patents to protect themselves. Now they’re getting sued over those patents. I believe the military term is Charlie Foxtrot (if you don’t know what that means ask in a comment and I’ll tell you).
In the VoIP Blogosphere there has been a tankload written about them. Om Malik writes this piece today. Alec Saunders has written a few bits, his most recent was this one today. Over at TMC, Rich Tehrani (sorry mr. keating *edit*) went with the pro-Vonage stance writing this the other day, and Tom Keating wrote this about the newest patent suit. Andy Abramson has written a couple pieces too. Jeff Pulver, who helped found Vonage has been pretty silent, but I would guess he would have some constraints due to his history with them. (Obviously there are a ton more writers out there who have written about it and written well, but this could quickly turn into a ridiculous link fest if I post them all. Heck it already is a bit of “link diahrrea”…sorry…)
So now here we are…Vonage is trading at like 7 bux, everyone and their dog is suing them for something (my lawsuit over their annoying song in the commercials should be public soon) and nobody seems happy. Except…their customers (the users, not the shareholders). 1.6 million of them. And this is the key in all this…at the end of the day, happy customers are happy customers and they will make the difference in the long run if things are managed well. Regardless of other troubles they may have, happy customers do make Vonage an attractive purchase for someone somewhere, I would think, and one has to wonder if some of this negativity is being encouraged by a party somewhere…force the stock price down, make a play.
One more thought I have about Vonage…I though Jeffrey Citron was not allowed to be at the helm of a public company after his legal troubles in the past… yet it’s apparent that he still runs the show. He is, after all, the chairman. Is it just that he cannot be CEO of a public company? Seems like a dumb rule if he can still be the leader…