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Microsoft, SNL, Sprint and Softbank News for Monday October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Microsoft is jumping into the music business and this is perhaps the biggest news of the day and possibly the week. Redmond is now offering ad supported music streaming and going up against Sirius XM, Pandora and Apple’s iTunes all at once. Boasting a 30-million strong library of songs, users can listen to playlists for free or download to own music across their TV, computers and smartphones. The ad-free version is $9.99 per month and includes access to music videos as well.

 

In Israel, Venture Capital Gets Disrupted

October 11, 2012


Israel is legendary as a tech powerhouse – the entire IP communications market owes its success to engineers from this middle-eastern country where compulsory army training has a side benefit of immersing the population in engineering specifically applicable to communications.

I remember fondly over the years attending SuperComm, VON, Computer Telephony Expo, Communications Solutions and ITEXPO and always seeing new and innovative startups from this land of milk, honey and falafel.

Sadly, over the years, things have changed – over a decade earlier, investors were making such large amounts of money from IPOs and acquisitions that it made lots of sense to reinvest much of it back into new companies.

Many things have changed over the years – IPOs are a much trickier proposition thanks to Zynga, Facebook and more jittery investors as a result of the dotcom and communications crash from early last decade.

Walmart To Go is Webvan 2.0

October 9, 2012

Have we finally broken the barrier to same day delivery?

During the dotcom boom, Webvan and Peapod were going to change the world and when things went bust and both companies had to deal with the realities of massive infrastructure and overhead with little to no sales by comparison. Peapod got picked up by Stop & Shop and Webvan imploded, and is now just a Wikipedia page.



Fast forward over a decade and Amazon has made lots of noise about same delivery service.

I'm Too Sexy For Consumers: B2B Tech IPOs Are Hot

September 24, 2012

B2B Tech is hot once again thanks to a string of consumer social IPO losses and B2B successes

In the fickle world of consumer purchasing behavior it is tough to predict what trends will last. Few things seem to be predictable in the market beyond their desire to amass more devices powered by Apple's iOS.

There are spectacular examples of consumer companies which were here today and gone tomorrow – perhaps AOL, Yahoo! and MySpace are the best examples of entities that rapidly became irrelevant because consumers moved on.

And while Facebook has done an infinitely better job than MySpace of keeping its social network sticky and relevant, it still has become a textbook definition of investor loss and IPO blowup.

Will Corporate Welfare Slow International Trade?

September 20, 2012


Nortel’s bankruptcy some years back was due to a host of reasons including price competition from the likes of ZTE and Huawei. Consider that while the world’s telecom equipment manufacturers were acquiring companies during a growing telecom bubble, these two stood back and focused more on imitating the best technology they could find instead of making inflated purchases in the billions of dollars.

But China is a communist/capitalist mish mosh and as such national interests can drive it to do whatever it takes to win in international markets. This is why EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is pushing a trade case against these telecom giants who are said to be receiving state subsidies in order to undercut European rivals.

News from TeliaSonera, Stage2 Networks, Sidera Networks and More

September 13, 2012

There's been lots of activity in the TMC newsroom with many new guests coming to our Norwalk, CT studio to tell us what is new and exciting at their companies.

At around 170 million mobile subscribers, TeliaSonera is a major mobile carrier supplying much of Eastern Europe and Russia. Ivo Pascucci of TeliaSonera discussed how his area of the company company differentiates itself in the wholesale carrier market. Services include wave services, collocation and wholesale IP transit for carriers, content providers and gaming companies. 

 


From there Joe Gillette from cloud communications provider and NY-based Stage2 Networks told me about the company’s thoughts on hosted voice services.






Dialogic: The Disruptor Combats Disruption

August 30, 2012

Perhaps nothing has disrupted communications more than Dialogic innovations. This post shows how they are reacting to disruption they initiated

Disruption is not a new concept. We all get that Amazon disrupted Circuit City, the advent of the MP3 reduced sales of CDs and digital photography wreaked havoc on filmmakers like Kodak.

Are Apple's Patent Lawsuits Dead Right?

August 30, 2012

I have often referred to patents between large tech firms as mutually assured destruction as any of these companies can sue others with a slew of patent infringements at once, counting on a few to be upheld by a court. And this is what happened with Apple and Samsung where the Korean phone maker and tech giant was found to have willfully copied Apple’s trade dress meaning the look and feel of the device – among other things like pinching to zoom.

Jason Perlow at ZDnet points us to a good video from Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, on the topic of patents and trademarks in the food industry. It is boring but useful if you want to learn more.

VCs disrupted by Angels thanks to Cloud, Apple, Google and Facebook

August 23, 2012

How too many investors can lead us to irrational exuberance 2.0

Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures is one of the most well-respected VCs around and does an amazing job with his AVC blog – it is in many ways a blueprint to starting a company. He has had so many good posts over the years it is tough to count.

In a recent interview with Technology Review he made some alarming comments which you should be aware of.

Pensions May Break Companies like They are Breaking Cities

August 21, 2012

We know that bloated and unsustainable pensions have already helped bankrupt industries like airlines and more recently cities in California. But just wait… Our low interest environment is making it difficult if not impossible for pension funds at many public companies to make the returns they need to fund themselves. To resolve the problem, Congress has changed the way pension obligations are calculated and as a result, they can use a 25-year average instead of today’s rates.

CenturyLink recently reported it is able to save a billion dollars due to this federal legislation.

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