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In Memory of CNBC Anchor Mark Haines

May 25, 2011

CNBC anchor Mark Haines is dead at age 65 and as an avid CNBC watcher, I have learned from Haines for a few decades and when I found out about his passing I was greatly moved. I felt like I had a personal connection - even though I never met the man. He brought a passion and enthusiasm to financial journalism - he was smart, quick on his feet, balanced and came across as humble.

All this and he was somehow able to tell it like it is without coming across as harsh or prickly.

A few things which made Mark famous are the Alan Greenspan briefcase indicator and the Haines Bottom which he called around the exact time of the recent market bottom a few years back.

The financial markets just lost a great and well-respected member of their community and my condolences go out to the Haines family and his fine coworkers at CNBC.





China Patent Wars: Huawei Sues ZTE

April 28, 2011



Huawei today filed lawsuits in Germany, France, and Hungary against ZTE a fellow Chinese manufacturer of telecom equipment - with strength in 4G/LTE technology among others. The interesting point here is the company is being sued for patent and trademark infringement and what this shows us is a greater concern for patents and trademarks in China. At least from Huawei.

According to the company, they paid US $222 million themselves in patent licensing fees to obtain the legal right to use patents and technologies of other companies in the industry. In fact TMCnet reported two weeks ago that Huawei and Motorola Solutions settled patent disputes.

This is great news as Huawei had a reputation years back for copying technology from companies like Cisco and after losing a  court case they seem to have become more serious about patents and trademarks.

Last month I pointed out how a sales boom for tech and media is being unleashed by China as a result of it announcing 3,001 people have been arrested for rampant product piracy and seized fake or counterfeit medicines, liquor, mobile phones and other goods.

This is all great news for western companies who have invented technology which China wants to and will continue to use.









Is Apple Telegraphing A Tablet Market as Large as PCs?

April 21, 2011

I'm Predicting 500,000,000 tablets sold by 2015 (updated - an eagle-eyed reader noticed I left out 3 zeros for the various iPad estimates throughout!)


Through informal research I have seen iPad owners not giving up on their PCs – in fact they generally use both machines at different times for different purposes. For example, website surfing to sites which utilize Flash often requires a PC or laptop as they may not work on an iPad. Moreover, iPads and iPhones require PCs which they must plug into to receive software updates, etc. Many people find that they need to type large amounts at one time or another and they often choose a PC or laptop for this task – either not realizing they can purchase a keyboard for their iPad or just not caring.

Another important point I have noticed is iPads are being utilized by younger users more often than comparable laptops or PCs because they are so easy to operate and the App Store makes it a breeze to try new software. And another plus for tablets is they also act as a book replacement - as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. reminds us.




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.

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