In April of 003, the first words spoken using a free program downloaded over the Internet called Seep were spoken between two of the original developers of the program, “Hello, can you hear me? ” Less than one year later, Michael Powell, chairmen for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated: I knew it was over when I downloaded Seep. When the inventors… 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–let’s over.
The world will change now Inevitably (Roth). The potential threat to the electrification industry of free Internet calling was recognized as a disruptive technology, a technology that would revolutionize the principles of the telecommunications Industry. Seep Technologies S. A Is a global company based out of Luxemburg. It’s software, Seep is a communication software application that uses voice over Internet Protocol (VIVO) and peer-to-peer technology (PAP) to connect users to both other Seep users and non-users globally (Seep. Mom). You can make audio calls, instant message (IM), text, share files, make video calls, and even leave both audio or video voiceless using Seep (Vogue). As the Seep website states, the only requirement to use Seep is “Access too broadband Internet connection”. However, the most amazing feature of Seep is that the majority of applications this software offers won’t cost the user a single penny, they are free (Seep. Com).
Today, with more than 408 million users, and growing at an estimated 30 million new users per quarter, Seep is the most popular software program of its kind. Seep users spent more than 33 billion minutes communicating to people in other countries in 2008, accounting for more Han eight percent of all International voice communication, and making It the largest cross-border provider of voice communications in the world (“Seep Company Profile).
Yes, there are a number of other similar programs to Seep available, but “Seep is the one whose name has become a verb” (“Can Seep Beat”) Due to Kepi’s clear voice quality, quality of service, simplicity In use of features and applications, availability through Mac, Linux, and Microsoft, and most Importantly It’s early start In the industry, it has been the most successful program of its kind (Vogue). However, in Kepi’s brief history, it has endured many challenges and changes. Nikolas Cementers and Janis Furls founded Seep In 2003, but the story of Seep began 4 years earner In Amsterdam.
Cementers and Furls “felt as though they were missing” an opportunity in the dot. Com industry, and left their Jobs to found and create their own company. Both had significant prior experience in the telecoms industry from ‘OFF tenet previous Joss, winner teen Ana met, out kneeler AT teen were programmers. Cementers hired four programmers from Estonia, with whom he had worked with in his former Job. Together, they invented Aziza (Roth). Aziza was a PAP file sharing disruptive technology program similar to Anapest that upset the global record industry.
After Anapest was shutdown in 2001, Aziza immediately took off, and in 2003, with more than 31 5 million downloads, it was the most downloaded program in the world (“Can Seep Beat”). Although Aziza was very popular with the consumer, it was Just as UN-popular with the music industry, Cementers and Frits soon faced many legal issues. In 2002, Aziza was sold, and its inventors distanced themselves as far away as possible from it (Roth). While continuing to face legal issues with the music industry over Aziza, Cementers and Frits saw a business opportunity in the telecommunications industry.
They set out to accomplish the same idea and principles behind Aziza and apply them to the telecommunications industry, “The future of telephony, is free worldwide telephone calling”, stated Frits in a 2003 interview (Roth). Internet calling programs were being developed by companies like Vantage at the time, and there was huge potential in the future of the technology (Fordham). Internet telephony programs simply turn the user’s voice into streams of tat and use the Internet to transmit digitized voice data from one user to another, instead of using the telephone company’s lines (“Voice Over Internet”).
Working with the established and successful team from Aziza, and programmers and developers from a new company they had formed, Jolted, they started work on an Internet calling software program they named Seep. The PAP technology that had originally been developed for Aziza was both the revolutionize idea behind Seep, and what continues to give Seep the advantage in today’s market (Roth). They created the first erosion of Seep that could be downloaded for free by users, and at very low cost to the company, due to how their PAP technology was established.
The first version of Seep offered voice over Internet Protocol (VIVO) telephony services and PC-to-PC calling (Seep. Com). The significance of the history and innovation of PAP and VIVO technology that Seep uses today is important to discuss. Voice over Internet Protocol allows users to talk over the internet, and the hybrid PAP system used in Seep revolutionized networking systems. Without these technologies, Seep would to have the advantage it has over competitors today, both the company and the software program would not exist. The name Seep was derived from the PAP technology incorporated in the program.
Originally called Sky peer-to-peer, it was then shortened to Skipper, and later to Seep (Seep. Com). Peer-to-peer technology was popularized in the early 21st Century by the music file sharing programs Anapest and Aziza, which proved PAP technology to be a potentially disruptive technology (“Can Seep Beat”). Despite the controversy over the legalities and “fair use” of PAP cosmologies and file sharing, many businesses and website stand behind the belief that PAP technologies will not only revolutionize networking, but that they are the future of internet networking (Cope).
PAP technologies connect and enable users to easily and effectively share, search for and download files over the internet. Many different versions of PAP technologies and networks exist. Seep borrows the hybrid PAP technology and network that was initially developed for Aziza (“Peer-to-peer). This allows for files to be shared directly between systems on the network without ten need AT a central server. Can computer on ten PAP network Decodes a server as well as a client (Mitchell). Every new user added to the network, increases the processing power and the capacity of the communication channels.
By “decentralization resources”, Seep has the ability to grow it’s customer base indefinitely, while maintaining a very small infrastructure, at little to no cost per each user added (Roth, Cope). Similar PAP systems used by Anapest and Vantage are considered centralized networks, because at their core, they require a server. Unlike the system used by Aziza and Seep, users are networked through the server maintained by the company. As new users are added, the capacity of the server is filled, and a new additional server is needed (“Peer-to-peer”).
This centralized infrastructure comes at a high cost to the company, forcing them to charge for their services. Vantage is the top provider of paid for Internet calling, and each new customer added to the system costs Vantage roughly $400, unlike Seep where there is little to no cost added per additional user. Unlike the systems used for Aziza and Seep, the servers also keep a record of the files stored on customer or user computers. The server maintained records are the reason why the success of Anapest was so quickly ended, and why Aziza was able to endure for a longer time period unnoticed (Roth).
Voice over Internet Protocol software, often referred to as Internet telephony, turns the user’s voice into digital data and uses the internet to transmit the data (“Voice over Internet”). Voice over Internet Protocol technology was not an original invention developed for Seep. Vivo programs and technology had existed many years prior to the development of Seep. Early VIVO technology was not available on the commercial market, until 1995 when an Israeli company, Vocal, offered the first free commercial Internet telephony (Fordham). Early VIVO programs were difficult to use and did not provide clear voice interaction between users.
The potential revolutionize benefits of VIVO technology were soon realized by developers, and while the phone companies focused efforts on the mobile phone industry, startup companies deploying VIVO technology quickly grew under the radar, taking advantage of the fiber optic ground work the phone companies had spent billions of dollars and an immense amount of time laying down for the Internet. However, in 2000, when the dot. Com bubble burst, the majority of VIVO technology impasses did not survive, reinforcing the belief of the telephone companies that VIVO technology was not a threat (Fordham).
What the phone companies failed to see at the time was that it was in fact the biggest threat to the future of their business. Once again, startup companies like Vantage and Seep took advantage of the situation, reacted fast, going somewhat unnoticed, and built the technology and framework that would make them the leaders in the VIVO market. Seep was focused to the European and Asian markets, while Vantage focused on the United States. Seep had one advantage over Vantage, and that was the PAP system that it used. While Vantage charged a monthly usage fee of $24. 5 for unlimited calling, Seep allowed users to talk to other Seep users for free (Roth, Fordham). By 2005, the Seep software program had been downloaded more than 145 million times. It had grown from Just over 100,000 users from when it was initially deployed in 2003 to more than 47 million users in less than two years (“Can Seep Beat”). It had taken time, but the phone companies realized the true threat of Internet calling. “Catty Martinet, a senior UP AT A “Its not a question AT IT tens wall Decode new standard for voice transmission, but when.
Telecommunication companies immediately started to develop their own technology in efforts to offer Internet telephony services. A survey taken in 2005 by AT showed “43 percent of multinationals either using, testing or planning to switch to Vivo” by 2007 (Fordham). The software program had proven very successful and their user base continued to grow, but Seep had Just one problem, they had not yet succeeded in earning a profit. Two applications that Seep added to its services early on, and were the beginning of a solution to their problems was Support and the ability to PC-to-PC connect with non-users of Seep.
Support is a service that allows Seep users the ability to call landlines phones from their PC as often as they want (Seep. Com). This service is offered at a very low rate compared to traditional phone lines, either paid each month or at a heavily discounted annual rate. It works very similar too traditional phone, in that you enter the number and make your call. Seep also charges very low service rates when users leave the Seep network to connect to outside users. In 2005, more than 1. 8 million users were already taking advantage of Support, and Kepi’s revenue, due to these services, caws Just less than $60 lion.
Cementers commented that if Just a fraction of Seep users took advantage of these pay-for services, Seep would “generate profits because “we have no cost per additional user” (“Can Seep Beat”). Companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo had Jumped on the bandwagon and had either acquired or started their own Internet telephony services. In the search to acquire a VIVO service, in an effort to compete with competitors, eBay approached Cementers and Frits in regards to acquiring Seep. In late 2005, eBay “plunked down $2. 6 billion for Seep”.
The title off FORTUNE magazine article The Net’s New Odd Couple best described the acquisition (Lashing’s). Cementers was praised worldwide for the deal, while eBay was questioned why they would invest so much money in a company that generated very little revenue. Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, in regards to the $2. 6 billion acquisition, commented: “l would characterize it as an effort for us to continue to keep expanding the eBay marketplace” (Lashing’s). There was potential and reason behind the purchasing of the leading Internet telephony company for both Seep and eBay.
Seep now had a parent company which to operate under. This meant that further applications and services offered by Seep could be focused on, and Seep would be introduced to a much larger market of consumers (Mali, MacMillan). Under eBay, Seep continued to grow, in applications and services offered, upgrades, new technology and in revenue growth. However, by 2007 eBay realized that the acquisition was not performing as initially intended. Cementers had stepped down as CEO, but remained involved in Seep as the executive chairmen.
In 2008, both Cementers and Frits left the day to day operations of the company (MacMillan). Seep was invented in 2003 using revolutionize technologies. Today, it continues to build upon the original product and impress users with new offerings, services and technologies. It is an online community, available to anyone for free who downloads the software. Since 2003, the original beta version of Seep, Seep 0. 90, has been modified and upgraded more than 100 times. The most recent available version of Seep, Seep 4. 1, was released In September AT U (Seep. Com).
Walt can upgrade, Seep NAS Improved upon service, clarity, user interfaces, product offerings, service offerings, applications, and many other user features, and is recognized for its extensive product offerings and or being one of the easiest to use VIVO programs available (“Can Seep Beat”). One feature that makes Seep so appealing and user available is the number of systems and products that it is offered for. Seep Software is available for download through Windows, Mac SO X, Linux, phones, Monika Internet Tablets, Sony SSP, Windows Mobile, and on many wireless phones (Seep. Com).
The availability of Seep on operating systems and products allows for the company and product to expand its market reach and continue successful growth. Seep maintains it’s competitive advantage over similar companies by offering a variety of free software. Users can take advantage of free software product offerings including PC-to-PC calling, instant messaging, conference calls, call transfers and call forwarding to other Seep users, and video calls (Seep. Com). Many of these free software products were built on technologies of the past enabled through the PAP systems and VIVO.
Video calling is a technology of the past that with the help of the Internet and software like Seep have now popularized. Often portrayed in movies as a futuristic technology, video calling is almost 50 years old. AT&T first introduced the video telephone to the world t the 1964 World’s Fair. Then it was a revolutionary technology that everyone predicted would be the future of telecommunication, but what happened to it? The idea never really took off. However, in the past decade, video calling and video conferencing have become more popular in both homes and in business.
Seep offers this service to other Seep users worldwide for free. A user can connect to a friend across the globe, and businesses can video conference instead of having to spend for travel. Although Seep allows for video calling, it still has room to grow to catch up with some competitor. As video calling continues to catch on, features like video piecemeal and multi-location video conferencing will become more popular, and both are features that Seep currently does not offer (Vogue). If Seep offered all products and services for free, the company would not be as successful as it is today, nor would it produce any revenue.
Seep generates revenue through pay-for product offerings, and many of these products are on the cutting edge of technology. Support allows for very low cost calls to landlines and mobile phones. Shapely is a product that designates a telephone number directly to the users computer, and lows outside network landlines and mobile phone user to directly call the Seep users computer. Seep piecemeal, currently is voice only, although video piecemeal will be a future feature. All Seep pay-for software offerings can be paid for through subscriptions or as you use the products with Seep credits (Seep. Mom). Beyond software, Seep also offers a variety of hardware products including cordless phones, video phones, mobile phones and Wi-If mobile phones with Seep built in technology. Hardware also offered by Seep includes headsets, websites, and computer microphones. Dual use Wi-If mobile phones bundled with VIVO technology are currently believed to be the next wave of user adopted technology. Dual-mode service phones allow users to switch between cellular and Wi-If network use. With Seep available on the phone, users can call other Seep user for free, from anywhere a Wi-If network is available.
Wi-If networks are everywhere today, in homes, hotels, stores, Ana restaurants Ana even uses Dye Duskiness’s as a marketing tool offering free Wi-If to attract customers. The Wi-If phone market has quickly grown over the past few years, and Seep has the opportunity to truly grow in this industry Reardon). Although Seep has seen great success and growth, and offers a wide and diverse product line of both software and hardware, on September 1 , 2009, eBay announced that they were selling 65% of Seep to a group of investors and private equity firms for a little less than what eBay had initially acquired Seep for in 2005.
Seep did not create the synergy with eBay, that eBay had thought it initially would. Kepi’s future looks promising though. The investors and equity firms that acquired the controlling share of Seep not strangers to the company, or the technology, many f them have worked closely with the founders of Seep Cementers and Frits in the past, and know where Seep needs to go to continue success. The company, technology and services that it offers continue to grow.