- Yahoo becomes your phone company
Not if they keep switching protocol formats, they won't! (see Ted Shelton's post on "The IM Wars")
- Microsoft becomes your phone company
Nope, but like Alec says, they'll provide technology plus APIs to hook into different systems. They're offering various broadband network gear for the home -- an MS phone appliance isn't too much of a stretch.
- AOL becomes your phone company
Alec says that they're doing this in Canada, will have to check on this. All large ISPs continue to look for services to sell to their customers -- being nothing more than a bit mover is not a high margin business, and it's not very much fun, either.
- There will be shakeout within the VoIP industry sooner than people realize
The shakeout may happen even before it really gets established here in Canada. Of course, this is still mass-market residential stuff -- the small business market is where things are going to be really interesting, and where the telcos are going to have to fight tooth and nail to retain their expensive monopoly pricing. We haven't seen this pain yet, but it's coming.
- Look for the mobile carriers in the USA to become VoIP partners
I only wish this would happen in Canada. Perhaps Primus should buy Microcell/Fido? Wow, that would be a great bundle. Sure I'm biased because I use the two services, but the point is I really don't need a landline voice on top of my high speed access (from Shaw).
- WiFi with VoIP
Perhaps a good way to finally get money out of all that free wireless access? Right now, many free/open wireless access points block anything but http/https traffic. How do these networks serve as
And I'll add a #7 (although it belongs up there with #1 and #2, and maybe even #6):
Apple becomes your phone company
They've got iChat, Tiger Server is going to ship with an enterprise IM server based on Jabber, and they've got the .Mac online service. Let's add a fun Apple rumour on at the end: Apple launches a new iPod that is both wireless- and voice-enabled. And I'm still not counting that mystery USB connection on the Airport Express out either -- how easy would it be to plug in a USB phone?!