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Pitney Bowes’ Hyped Volly Cloud Still a No-Show

It has repeatedly pushed off the Volly launch since at least September of 2011

Sometimes clouds are just ground fog.

After more than two years of promising the imminent arrival of Volly, Pitney Bowes - the Fortune 500 that back when there were such things as letters had a vise-like monopoly grip on postage meters - has failed to materialize the cloud that was supposed to replace postal mail, especially posted bills.

Pitney has repeatedly pushed off the Volly launch since at least September of 2011.

It's now well into 2013 and Australia Post, the one state-owned national post that bought into Pitney's promises, is still waiting to field a product that was due to be out last October as the latest as part of a A$2 billion investment in digitization.

It now says the reportedly customized widgetry it calls Digital Mailbox will be out in the next few months borrowing the Teltra cloud for its purposes.

Ozzies better not hold their breath.

Pitney itself has been unable to launch Volly in the US - a fact that has surprised none of its competitors long dubious of the underlying technology- and Tuesday PB's new CEO, ex-IBMer Marc Lautenbach, one of the dynasty of Lautenbachs at IBM, confessed to analysts that there are "no scared cows" at his new under-performing company, aside from the client and the shareholder, and hinted that the speculative Volly platform may be dumped.

The best he could say of Volly was that it may launch in the US this year and that it could have a "different business model in different countries."

"We are going through the portfolio," he said, "and will invest in places there is clear leadership. If you don't have leadership today, there has to be a clear path to it. If we don't see that, we will reallocate our investment dollars where we do."

He's looking for differentiation and could find it in e-commerce or color printing.

Otherwise Pitney's latest results weren't that pretty and it halved its precious dividend to free up investment money. Revenues were down 4% year-on-year and earnings per share plummeted 58%.

Gartner, for one, is unconvinced Volly can fly, at least in Oz, against a field crowded by alternatives including the banks and direct competitor Digital Post Australia and Zumbox in the US.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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