Shares of networked phone service specialist 8x8 (Nasdaq: EGHT) jumped nearly 23% mere minutes before Tuesday's closing bell. Rumor had it that the company would announce some kind of partnership with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) on Wednesday, perhaps a software licensing deal enabling iPad and iPhone calls without a carrier's voice connection -- or maybe just an iApp serving the same purpose.

Well, CEO Bryan Martin made an appearance on CNBC but didn't have any Apple news to share. Instead, he served as part of an expert mini-panel on information security. That kind of national media exposure never hurts a small cap like 8x8, but there wasn't much meat on that share-boosting rumor.

The biggest piece of actual news on the company was the passing of an arbitrary milestone, as 25,000 businesses have now subscribed to 8x8 voice-over-IP services. And so the shares slid back by nearly 9% as the hot rumor vaporized.

Even without a splashy Apple partnership, though, 8x8 remains a very interesting company. It resells Ethernet-based phones from Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) along with custom software and a global back-end infrastructure. The focus is on small to medium businesses, leaving large-scale projects to industry giants such as Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), both of whom push "unified communications" services on their enterprise-class clients.

8x8 is also very different from the consumer-focused model of Vonage (NYSE: VG), even if the VoIP service itself is quite similar. Vonage is losing money while 8x8 is making some, and the business-focused competitor is also growing faster right now. Both stocks have more than doubled over the past year and seen downright monstrous gains if you look back to 2009. Early investors should be very happy with either stock nowadays.

Rumors and speculation swirl around these hot tickers like grains of sand around a Texan dust devil. The best way to separate the news from the nothings is to keep a close eye on what's going on. To help, we've started the My Watchlist service, which keeps your ear to the ground with a steady flow of Foolish analysis. Don't get fooled by the next juicy whisper on 8x8 or Vonage -- arm your watchlist today:

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He also doesn't subscribe to any kind of landline -- VoIP or otherwise. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Cisco Systems, Apple, Microsoft, and Polycomvas well as creating a diagonal call position in Microsoft and a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.