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New Research Explains Why There is no Tech Bubble

April 16, 2011

VC funding analysis says we aren't repeating the dotcom-era funding environment of the last cycle

Here is the good news – venture capital investments are not increasing at rates which are typically commensurate with bubbles... At least according to a MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association which is based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. Although quarterly investment activity increased 5% in terms of dollars, it fell 11% in number of deals compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 when $5.6 billion was invested in 827 deals.

More ammunition for those who say we aren’t in a bubble - the quarterly deal count represents the lowest number of deals in a single quarter since the third quarter of 2009.



Is Android Security Really an Issue?

April 15, 2011

Yesterday I showcased an interview with investing legend Roger McNamee, managing director and co-founder of Elevation Partners but what I didn't mention was the following comment he made, "I don't trust Android because some 16-year-old kid in the Eastern Bloc presses a button and erases everyone's hard drive."

McNamee also made a call to short Google as a pairs trade with buying Apple the day before the stock of the search leader dropped almost $50 or 8% after missing their earnings number.


But just as interesting is another big piece of news which has to do with Skype responding to an Android vulnerability which has to do with unencrypted SQLite information on the device which can be accessed by malicious software. Of course the challenge is - what software is malicious - it certainly isn't advertised as stealing data in its description in app stores. Moreover, in this case, the issue seems to be Skype not setting file permissions appropriately to avoid data from being hijacked.

Of course when I read about the controversy I thought of the comments about the 16-year-old kid.

And at a time when Android is so popular - in fact in South Korea there is an antitrust complaint against the company - one wonders, what happens if McNamee is right and the platform isn't so secure?

But then again, any platform with a degree of openness and massive adoption is a major target of hackers and if our experience with Microsoft products is a solid guide, we can expect more Android vulnerabilities to surface and potentially frequent patches to be released to counteract them.












Voice Carrier Wants a Big Piece of the SMB VoIP Pie

April 14, 2011

The business VoIP market has a tremendous amount of growth potential based on a recent FCC report I highlighted last week. And perhaps the most exciting aspect of the market is there is no single leading player which comes to mind – especially for the SMB. And losing and gaining marketshare in the segment can be done quite rapidly if you aren’t careful. Case in point are Comdial and Inter-Tel: two major players in the SMB CPE space just a decade-and-a-half ago.

11 Reasons Why Google Needs Retail Stores

April 7, 2011

It is becoming clear the world is gravitating towards everything Apple sells and even worse for the competition is Cupertino is setting the tone for product launches, making the rest of the tech world play perpetual catch up. Even worse, Apple is buying up all available inventory on components forcing companies as big and mighty as RIM to push back the launch of their PlayBook tablet! Of course one of the most important parts of Apple’s success is the stores – those minimalist tech nirvanas attracting people of all ages to literally trip over one another as they touch and feel the latest gadgets and computers connected to huge flat-screens with the latest in audio equipment.

WorldGate Communications Closes Shop

April 5, 2011

Word has it that funding was pulled at WorldGate Communications two weeks ago with everyone being laid off. Requests for information to the company did not get an immediate response. The Pennsylvania-based organization which made high-end designer-looking videophones no-doubt faced an uphill battle competing with Cisco and Polycom - as well as low-cost players like Grandstream.

When the company launched - years back I remember a massive crowd around its products at ITEXPO and other events - but getting tremendous attention at a show does not obviously always translate into success in business. Those of you who recall Wildfire's booth at the Computer Telephony Expo know what I mean.

The company seemed to be in a perpetual state of financial trouble and the best news I heard from them a while back was when they either received or were about to receive an order for an organization who was to supply videophones to the hearing-impaired so they could communicate via sign language.

TMC's Tom Keating reported troubles brewing at the company in February, 2008 and then reported when things got better in the next month saying Ojo Phone Lives!





KenCast: Video Streaming Democratization in Action

April 5, 2011

One of the more interesting companies in the streaming video market is KenCast - and one area of growth for the company is live streaming of sporting events. Recently, the company launched a live streaming coverage online community on TMCnet - and this article The Truman Show: Self-Service Live Streaming Video in Real Time living on the community is worth a read.

One of the differentiators KenCast offers is technology which merges 3G and 4G broadband wireless signals from multiple carriers - allowing a transmission of higher quality than is allowed by the upload speed of a single carrier.

As more 4G networks are rolled out and bonding technology becomes more common, eventually everyone will be able to stream live video from virtually anywhere - rivaling the output from a major television network. And that my friends is the definition of technology democratization.

How to set up live streaming of a triatholon


Bill Steele Chairman and CEO of KenCast Inc. explains how the company does a tremendous amount of video work in the multicasting space as well as providing solutions for the military and applications in retail. He goes on to explain how mobile live video capture is a big area of growth for the company.










The Pros and Cons of Facebook Hiring Robert Gibbs

March 28, 2011

Photo courtesy of AP

This weekend it was reported by the New York Times that former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs may take a job helping to manage the communications at Facebook. Here are the pros and cons associated with him joining this company as it prepares for an IPO.

Is AT&T Using Investment Angle to Silence Blumenthal?

March 25, 2011

One thing you have to give AT&T a tremendous amount of credit for is knowing how to work the regulatory system - legal, financial and lobbying to get deals done. They are absolute masters and off the record I hear amazing things about just how connected they are. And they will likely need to pull on all the strings they have access to in order to make the T-Mobile acquisition happen.

So realizing the US is a Republic made up of 50 states, the company has now begun working on public opinion in individual states. Consider that today alone the company has put out two releases regarding their building of what they call the most advanced mobile broadband experience in Cincinnati and Connecticut.

In boilerplate press releases where a few items are changed, the company explains that in the greater Cincinnati area it is going to install 10 new cell sites, add spectrum carriers to 35 cell sites, enhance backhaul to 100 cell sites to enable 4G and deploy a distributed antenna system at the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium to enhance network coverage during events.



KickStarter Gets $10M Funding

March 18, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about the new Tembo Trunks concept and how it could have been inspired by the African vuvuzela and now, the news is out that KickStarter - the company helping to get Tembo Trunks off the ground just received $10 million in funding from Union Square Ventures and others.

It's an interesting business model as it seems to blend funding and marketing to fledgling companies and it could do very well with a few mega hit products.

Union Square's Fred Wilson said his team was immediately taken by this marketplace where anyone could fund and follow creativity of all kinds. Moreover, he continued by writing:

Kickstarter is a very important and fundamental idea that will most certainly be part of the answer. Simply put, Kickstarter allows everyone to fund the projects they want to see come to fruition. The creators set the amount of funding they need and the marketplace determines whether the project is worthy of funding.






How China is Unleashing a Sales Boom for Tech and Media

March 14, 2011

Shanghai at Night
In many parts of the world, rampant pirating of products takes its toll on businesses costing billions of dollars of lost sales and value. While countries like Iran violate rampantly with no signs of improvement, others are slowly making changes.

China is one of the countries under the spotlight because it is growing incredibly fast and so many manufacturing jobs have fled to the country and in return, many there aren't paying the originators for software, movies, music and various other products.

The US has complained to China for years and although there hasn't been much progress, there has at least been the promise of progress from the country's leaders. This is why I called the Apple App Store the OPEC of the West in June of last year. My thinking was, even though I am not a fan of closed app stores, at least Apple is ensuring people get paid for their hard work.




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