Raketu Integrated Social Networking, Communications, & IPTV offering shows a bleak picture

Raketu company logoRaketu combines social networking with integrated communications (VoIP calling, IM/SMS, info feeds) and media content (IPTV) – a one-stop shop for online socializing, communication, and entertainment from the desktop PC and mobile phones.

Let’s look at where Raketu stands in each area of social networking, communications, and IPTV.

For VoIP calling, Raketu has phone-to-phone and PC-to-phone calling. Phone-to-phone calling is initiated by entering the “Call to” and “Call from” from a web interface. Raketu plans to launch a mobile application that users can install on a mobile phone to make VoIP calls and send SMS and IM. These guys have really cheap calling rates; free unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles within the US and to 42 countries (limited time offer). Since I call Sri Lanka quite often, I know that the Raketu’s rates to Sri Lanka are really low. If Raketu can offer real cheap calls to Sri Lanka, they can offer cheap calls to anywhere!

However, the VoIP landscape has some well known players such as Gizmo, Fringland, Skype, Jajah, Google Talk, MSN. One could expect new players as well, given the low entry barriers associated with all things Internet.

Now, let’s look at IM and SMS. Raketu can talk to pretty much any IM client (Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, Google, Skype, Jabber), with conferencing across IM clients. Their secret sauce appears to be very simple; The Raketu application can speak every IM client’s protocol. Again, many of the IM players could easily do that.

When it comes to social network, again, Raketu is very limited. With much better known social networks such as Friendster, Linked In, myspace, and Facebook, Raketu just doesn’t have the momentum to be a leader.

Looking at IPTV, the story is similar. Joost and Babelgum have far better IPTV applications and much better content.

Many companies focus on one service, but Raketu is trying to carve out a niche by integrating social networking, communications, and video. Raketu has the right vision, but the problem is the competition.

Companies such as Joost are well positioned to do the same thing; Joost has a highly coveted IPTV service and has integrated IM (Jabber and Gmail) and news feed services and a “Widget Menu” to house a variety of future applications. Joost is formed by the experienced founders of Skype, who’ve been there and done that when it comes to Peer to Peer technology, VoIP, SMS, and IM. These companies tend to have more market recognition as well.

With all this competition (With Joost and Babelgum and other IM/SMS and VoIP providers), is there room for Raketu? Right now, Raketu does not look well positioned to lead the integrated service offering space.

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