Commentary

Jared Dillian
Traders Magazine Online News

Was it Worth It?

In this piece from 10th Man, author Jared Dillian discusses how the ETF revolution is less about ETFs and more about indexing; about how people have come to view stocks less as stocks and more as blobs of stocks.

Traders Poll

Would you feel better if the Chicago Stock Exchange were purchased by U.S. firm or consortium rather than a foreign one?

Yes

73%

No

4%

Doesn't matter to me

23%

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July 31, 2001

Hot Product on Market

By Peter Chapman

Desktop video conferencing, is hot right now, but it wasn't always so.

For much of the last ten years, bulky and unreliable room-based equipment was the only way to conduct a video conference. Users were groups of employees conducting long distance meetings. The technology was intended to cut travel costs, but mostly it just collected dust in company conference rooms. Video quality was poor. Establishing a connection was a hassle.

The much ballyhooed, but flagging desktop business, came into its own with the advent of Internet technology and new video compression standards in the late '90s.

The boom spawned two flavors: expensive and cheap. The costly ones reliably transmit television, or near-television, quality video. Buyers are mostly in government, especially state colleges and universities. The cheaper ones offer patchy transmission and are used by computer enthusiasts to chat with family and friends over the Internet.

Nimble, but small, techies such as Avistar, Video Network Communications, First Virtual Communications, and CUseeMe Networks are leading the way in the desktop arena but bigger boys are moving into the market. Polycom and PictureTel, market share leaders in the group market, are now chasing the desktop market. So is the successful integrator, Wire One Technologies. So are the telcos.

For the innovators, time is not on their side. All are losing money. Their stocks float in the $1 to $2 range.