Let me preface my thoughts by saying that Erik is a highly talented, extremely gifted programmer and telephony entrepreneur who I respect (I have a feeling his post was not written to attack Ribbit in any manner and that his comparison may have been taken out of context). I am not a highly technical programmer. I understand the technology and the underlaying methods by which each service works, but I couldn’t exactly take either of their API’s and do much of anything with them, so I am taking each at face value.
In reading more and more about each service, I am of the belief that while they are similar, they are very much different. Different enough, that I feel comparing the two is not an apples to apples affair, but an exercise in the specifics of each company’s underlying technology and what each of them does well. As friend and fellow blogger, Moshe Maeir states,
“Both companies should be applauded for developing Voice 2.0 platforms. But they are different. Ribbit is a high profile VC funded company, while Lypp seems to be low profile and self funded (correct me if I am wrong). Ribbit bills itself as revolutionary while Lypp just gets the job done. You might compare the two to a flashy sports car and a Chevy pickup. If you are a handyman you may go for a night on the town with the sports car, but you still will drive your Chevy for your day job”
In furthering this, Lypp appears to be a solution for mobile professionals that aggregates AIM / AOL, Google Talk / Jabber, iChat MSN and Yahoo! Messenger contacts and allows for group or conference calling via your cellular handset. It also does not leverage the IP network, in favor of the wireless network and or PSTN.
Erik explains here,
“At Gaboogie we steered away from the softphone or using any VoIP at the edge of the network in our initial plans. We made that decision early on because we believe VoIP at the edge is still not ready for prime time. If you donâ€™t believe you obviously have not tried a best efforts VoIP service in Canada. I have not found a single best efforts offering that does not drops calls, drop packets and well… just generally suck. “
On the other hand, Ribbit is billed as a web-based phone that is also accessible via your mobile phone built upon the Adobe Flex platform. It’s calls, however, are routed over the wireless data network or IP network, making it a VoIP service. In addition to just sending and receiving calls, Ribbit is packed full of interesting features such as the ability to see a social network like profile of the person calling you and voice mail eavesdropping with barrage.
The way I see it, these are two different technologies, with two different target markets and two totally different business models. Honestly, the only thing I see that is similar between the two is that they are both pushing the envelope of what is possible with Voice 2.0 services and doing a darn good job at it to boot!