I would never question Andy’s judgement normally, but I disagree with him on two of his choices. First Vodafone; Yes, Vodafone is increasingly getting into VoIP and there has been news that they have been experimenting with Skype as their VoIP client. From a technology point of view and even to some extent business point of view, it makes a lot of sense for Vodafone to acquire Vonage. But they are currently in a big soup. They have acquired an Indian mobile operator Hutchinson recently for nearly 17 billion and sources say that the board of Vodafone has been very concerned with this acquisition. And even before this acquisition, there were concerns about M & A policies of Vodafone which in turn led to strict rules being laid by the Board of Directors. So, I really don’t think Vodafone will go for an acquisition any time soon.
Cisco – What definitely is in favour of Cisco buying out Vonage, is the new philosophy of Cisco that preaches being more consumer-facing ( Human Networks et al). But trying to go the service provider route would mean changing their very essence of business. They would never want to antagonize the other telcos who are their major customers.
Earthlink – I agree with Andy on this pick. Lot of synergies between the two, and it would be a good match.
But I personally believe that another company is a serious contender. Verizon!!! I believe the whole Vonage-Verizon legal battle is just Verizon’s way of getting Vonage under its fold. Sounds conspiratorial but plausible. It might not be too bad for either parties if this happens.
Having said these, funnier things have happened in the M&A world ( The latest being Cisco buying Tribe.net). Andy probably has information that I am not privy to and I could be totally wrong in my analysis. But hey, greater ones have got it wrong before!!!