I have stumbled upon this newspaper addressing about Worldgate Communications shutting down operations last week due to seeking payment from it largest customer (Snap!VRS).
I have cut and paste this clipping from Bucks County Courier Times in which this reporter had addressed. Worth to read and understand what is going on. This operation being shut down has affected not only us Deaf/HH users but as well the hearing customers too.
....so stay tuned!!!
Worldgate: Shut down
By CRISSA SHOEMAKER DEBREE
Bucks County Courier Times
WorldGate Communications, maker of the Ojo personal video phone, has shut down operations as it seeks payment from its largest customer.
In a statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and on WorldGate's Web site, the Bensalem company said it stopped operating Jan. 30, “as a first step to winding down its business, which will occur if the company is not able to secure payment ... and/or new financing.”
While WorldGate didn't name the customer, Snap!VRS, which provides video relay services for the hearing impaired, confirmed it was that customer in a letter on its own Web site. It also disputes WorldGate's statement.
“We are current on all payments and do not owe WorldGate any money,” Snap!VRS CEO Richard Schatzberg said in the letter. “We feel so strongly about our position and are so intent on resolving this matter swiftly, that we have offered to submit this disagreement to immediate binding arbitration, a process by which an independent third party decides who is right. WorldGate has rejected this offer.”
WorldGate CEO Hal Krisbergh declined to comment Thursday afternoon when reached by cell phone.
“I would like to, but there's a lot going on that I can't get into,” he said. “I'd really rather just stay with our public announcement.”
In the meantime, all Ojo phone service, which was provided by WorldGate, is down.
Krisbergh founded WorldGate in 1995 to develop products that would provide Internet services through cable, such as Web TV. But the concept never took off, and by 2002 the company was failing. It liquidated all its assets and poured them into developing Ojo. Motorola agreed to distribute the phone, which went on sale in May 2005.
In February 2006, WorldGate and Motorola ended that arrangement and WorldGate took on sole responsibility for getting Ojo into stores. At the time, Krisbergh indicated WorldGate was unhappy with Motorola's high pricing, which it felt kept the product out of major retailers and out of reach for most households.
Upon taking control of Ojo retailing, WorldGate slashed the price by $300, introduced a cheaper Ojo with fewer features and pursued national and international distribution deals.
In June, WorldGate and Snap! trumpeted a deal to provide Ojos to deaf and hearing-impaired customers, who traditionally use interpreters to hold telephone conversations.
WorldGate has struggled financially since its inception. It's never turned a profit and the company has never released sales figures for its Ojos. For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, the company reported a $2.7 million loss.
Crissa Shoemaker DeBree can be reached at 215-949-4192 or cshoemaker@phillyBurbs.com.
February 8, 2008 10:51 AM