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Tech Growth: It's all about the Arbitrage

October 15, 2011

Wikipedia defines arbitrage as the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets and I’m amazed at how it’s helped the world of tech grow through the decades. Now before I continue I should point out productivity and flexibility are also crucial reasons for tech growth. For example, the PC spreadsheet made it possible to not only perform financial calculations more quickly but more importantly to perform calculations you just couldn’t afford to have humans do.

But really, arbitrage is the hidden gem in the market because quite often it fuels the use of a new technology with paying customers who can justify the expense because they are saving money elsewhere.

Jobs, Ritchie & Galvin Dead but not Forgotten

October 14, 2011

As TMC's Peter Bernstein says, the rule of threes seems to be in effect. First we lost Steve Jobs who transformed the music, movie, computer and mobile markets and next we lost C programming language and UNIX OS creator Dennis Ritchie. The third death was that of Former Motorola CEO Robert Galvin who oversaw the creation of the first "large-screen" (19-inch), transistorized, cordless portable television and the first cell phone among a slew of other important innovations.

As I mentioned yesterday, the C programming language was the fourth one I learned after BASIC, Pascal and PL/1 and what made it unique was its infinite flexibility. All of a sudden a programmer could create dynamic arrays of pointers in a program instead of relying on fixed variables.

iOS 5 Update: Steve Jobs Rolling Over Already?

October 13, 2011

I understand the title of this post may be insensitive and nothing could be further from the goal of this piece. In fact, if anything, I admire Steve Jobs so much that I feel this entry needed to be made in order to honor his memory.

The question which our industry is asking today is how could Apple screw up the iOS 5 update so badly - literally a week or so after the death of Steve Jobs? I realize of course the two incidents aren't related but one has to wonder if all those devices that Steve keeps in his office wouldn't have have had a hiccup or two - causing him to sound the alarm bells that this upgrade was not ready.

As I mentioned earlier today - I went into the upgrade cautiously and an iPhone 4 was upgraded without a hitch but an iPad 2 crashed, giving me the error message below. I sent an email to my IT team and they suggested rebooting and retrying - apparently there are cases where an upgrade had to be performed four times to get it to work.



I was lucky.







Is Content King or is it Platform?

September 30, 2011

The adage about content being king is absolutely true and the precipitous drop in the value of Netflix shares related to losing Starz programming reminds us that distribution can be considered a distant second to content. This is true because the world has flattened with the advent of broadband meaning any content provider can stream directly without the need for cable companies or telcos to take a cut.

Glenn Beck’s recent launch of GBTV for example shows us how a content provider can take his or her show and produce it just fine without the need to deal with traditional distribution.

But from the standpoint of the consumer, having access to a smattering of programs on disparate websites is not the same as accessing them all seamlessly through a single aggregator.

Selling your Privacy Evolves with Amazon Silk Browser

September 29, 2011



Amazon's new Silk browser bundled with its new Kindle Fire will leverage it's own servers for browser proxying meaning that all the websites you surf will go through the company's cloud-based servers. Although browser proxying is not new, it has been used in the Skyfire and other browsers. Its general benefit is allowing web sessions to speed up and providing mobile browsers access to content incompatible with the browser - such as Adobe Flash.

TMC's Tom Keating has more on the privacy concerns and after reading his thoughts I realize just how fast product subsidization is evolving. You see yesterday I explained Amazon is subsidizing its tablets via Amazon Prime and cloud-computing services but now it seems Amazon will also have access to the sites you browse allowing its suggestion engine to to potentially use this data to better target products which suit your interests.

While privacy advocates may be up in arms, the reality is we sell our privacy for free services virtually every day when we use popular web portals, online email and a slew of other services such as browser toolbars.





Off to Metaswitch Forum 2011

September 28, 2011

Why AT&T Purchased Superclick Networks

September 27, 2011

AT&T just picked up Canadian WiFi gateway and solution provider Superclick Networks for $15 million dollars and the deal is curious as the company provides wireless solutions but not service for the hospitality, healthcare and retail markets. As you may recall, in November of 2008, AT&T also purchased leading WiFi provider Wayport and my take at the time was the deal signaled the importance of WiFi.

This transaction echoes this sentiment but it’s a bit different because it isn’t a service they are purchasing per se. The deal also shows the Ma Bell is looking outside the country for growth and isn’t afraid to do deals that are unexpected.

The Turnover Epidemic and the Toll it Takes

September 23, 2011

As I look out at the technology landscape I find it surprising that replacements of marketing personnel whether initiated by the company or people resigning seems to be near an all-time high. As I have stated before, the job of marketers is tougher than ever – they have to deal with online and offline media, social, search, events, web seminars, community building, landing page creation, testing, email marketing, article writing, blogging and public relations on a daily basis. We are at the point where marketers should be injecting Red Bull into one arm while injecting Maalox into the other.

To make matters worse, the scrutiny marketers have to deal with is at an all-time high meaning investors, CXOs and presidents are demanding accountability for every cent of spending.

Mitel Having Layoffs

September 14, 2011

Mitel has always had great technology - I sound like a broken record don't I? Yet they haven't found their way to market their company or properly position it in the market. The result of lack of PR and marketing vision has cost it in the marketplace as companies like ShoreTel have taken share by being persistent, branding well and positioning Mitel for them.

The one constant in business is that if you don't position yourself, someone else (typically the competition) will gladly do it for you.

You may recall I compared Mitel to ShoreTel some months back, criticizing Mitel for a number of reasons. I then followed up with a post about how how the company is betting the farm so to speak on virtualized communications.

Sadly I received an email from a Mitel employee today which explained that there is a nationwide workforce reduction causing this person to be let go.





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September 11, 2011

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