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Rich Tehrani
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Re-Kindle

November 21, 2007

I may have really screwed this prediction up. You remember yesterday when I said nobody wants the Kindle, the e-book reader from Amazon. Well apparently Amazon has announced today that they sold out of the units in stock. Normally this would mean I am way off with my prediction from about 24 hours earlier.

COTS to the Service Provider Rescue

November 20, 2007

There was a time when service providers had to purchase massively expensive proprietary equipment in order to deploy telephone service. Class 4 and 5 switches required enormous investment and could be justified as this equipment would be depreciated over many years in a well-known and slow-moving competitive environment.   Then along came VoIP and the market shifted into high gear. All of a sudden customers wanted more services and they wanted to spend less money for it all. Competition seemed to come from every direction with crazy “woohoo” ads from companies like Vonage and more sober ads from the cable companies.   Even worse, the wireless companies began to take share making it that much more difficult to pay for the massive iron sitting in central offices worldwide.   Just before VoIP became popular, new architectures such as CompactPCI and later Advanced TCA emerged allowing service providers to benefit from technologies being popularized in the enterprise and consumer markets.   As voice becomes a cheaper and cheaper commodity, service providers must look for other services to replace lost revenue.

Google in Wireless

November 16, 2007

More discussions regarding Google getting into the wireless game were sparked today by a Wall Street Journal article focusing on Google’s wireless ambitions.   In summary:  
  • Google will likely bid on the 700 MHz spectrum or lose good will in Washington
  • The company’s bid will be $4.6 billion or more.
  • Google has a test FCC license and has cell towers at its campus which it uses with Android-based phones.
  • The company has been in semi-serious discussions with Clearwire regarding building out a WiMAX network.
  • Google has invested in femtocell maker Ubiquisys
  • Everyone and their brother is on record explaining how difficult it is to build a wireless network.
  • Wall Street is enthusiastic about lending money to Google to bid at the auction
  • Google will think about bringing in partners after the auction is over and it sees what happens.
  • The company has brought on game theory experts to help it in the bidding process.
  There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the rumors of Google acquiring Sprint with many thinking the idea is farfetched. It would seem however that since Google is working on its own wireless network, they are very serious about getting into the wireless space.   As we discussed in my recent post on the matter, Google likes to build everything itself from scratch. This is just the way the company operates. However if you are going to go into the wireless business it will take years to put towers around the US and then the world.   Think about the layers of negotiation which need to take place… City by city… Neighborhood by neighborhood -- the company has to place base stations with antennas on tall buildings, water towers and hilltops as far as the eye can see.   Sure this can be done, but it will take such a long time… Let’s say five years to cover the U.S.

How Network Neutrality Solves the Cable Competition Problem

November 10, 2007

It is obvious to me the cable companies are getting the short end of the FCC stick. In fact I am not sure the FCC will be giving any sort of stick to the cable companies this Christmas. Even the lump of coal Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Comcast were expecting may not be in the stocking – don’t they know how bad coal is for the environment?  

The cable companies are in deep trouble because FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has decided to regulate cable and in so doing ensure there is more competition. They will for example make sure access to spare channels by other content providers is done at a reasonable cost.

  There is an arcane law on the books called the 70/70 rule which is being used as the basis for the FCC to get involved in regulating this market.   The rule says that if 70% of households in the US have cable access and 70% of those that do use cable, the agency can step in and regulate it.   This is great for consumers in my opinion but is also coming at a time which is incomprehensible to me.   If you want true cable competition, it seems to make more sense to ensure network neutrality is enforced.

Google Database Patent Lawsuit

November 10, 2007

Apparently today is “Write about Google” day as I thought it worth sharing that the company is facing a patent infringement lawsuit due to the database technology the company employs. Who is suing you wonder? Northeastern University and a start-up company cofounded by an associate professor.   According to an article on boston.com, "This particular patent has to do with the fundamental database architecture, which they use to serve up every single result they serve to you," said Michael Belanger, president of Jarg Corp. in Waltham. Jarg is a privately funded developer of advanced search technology.

PR and Marketing Done Right

November 10, 2007

Oftentimes companies in the communications space ask me how they are doing compared to their competition in the areas of marketing and PR. They generally do this by asking me to take surveys about their company’s standing in the market. In addition, I often get calls from organizations on Wall Street asking about specific companies. These analysts typically want to know if target companies are worth investing in, etc.   While I am not a financial analyst myself I feel I am in a pretty good position to discuss a communications and or technology company’s standing in a market.

Encryption Vs. Recording Industry

November 8, 2007

In p2p sharing networks the latest weapon the file sharers are deploying is encryption. Sure encryption has been around for years but it seems the file sharers are now using the technology coupled with services like BitTorrent.   According to The Register, a large UK ISP says the number of encrypted files being shared has risen tenfold in the last 12 months. Obviously this is nothing to sneeze at.   As the article points out, files which are encrypted draw more attention and law enforcement agencies spend more time on these files than more theoretically innocuous ones.   As always happens in these electronic espionage wars, one side finds a new weapon and the other responds with something else more sophisticated. The record labels have found their business has turned more into a Spy vs.

ITEXPO East 2008 Brochure Available

November 8, 2007

Vonage in Settlement Talks with AT&T

November 8, 2007

Symbian CEO Disses Open Handset Alliance

November 8, 2007

Symbian may be the closest competitor to Google’s Open Handset Alliance and not surprisingly the head of Symbian had nothing flattering to say about this latest open source mobile handset initiative.   Symbian’s CEO Nigel Clifford said, There's 10, 15, 20, maybe 25 different Linux platforms out there. It sometimes appears that Linux is fragmenting faster than it unifies." He continued, “Symbian recognizes Google's commitment to ‘openness’ and sees that as a good thing, but I probably would say there is no such thing as free software."   The problem for Clifford and company is the fact that many companies already working with Symbian have become part of the OHA. What this means for Symbian long term is unknown but the competition has not put a dent in Clifford’s resolve as he said, “We're the market leader, and we aim to remain the market leader."   For more, check out this well-written piece from InfoWorld.
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