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Can We Talk?

New services let you hold instant web conferences--anytime, anywhere.

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This story appears in the August 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Looking for an easier way to set up a web conference or share presentations while you're on the run? You're not alone. The worldwide market for collaboration services--including audio conferences, web presentation sessions and various video meetings--logged its first $1 billion quarter in 2007, according to Wainhouse Research. Wainhouse researchers project that in North America alone, revenue from audio, video and web collaboration services will reach $4.4 billion by 2011, a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent.

It's little wonder that huge high-tech companies have rushed to stake a claim in the online collaboration market--Microsoft through its 2003 acquisition of PlaceWare (the backbone of its LiveMeeting service), and Cisco through its $3.2 billion buyout last year of WebEx. But these mammoth companies didn't bargain for the numerous free collaboration services popping up all over the web, many of which are designed by entrepreneurs fed up with the complexity of existing options.

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