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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.




iPad 2 Hands On Review

March 14, 2011

Without a doubt, the iPad 2 continues in the Apple tradition of attracting legions of followers who wait in line for hours in order to be one of the first to acquire the latest and greatest in consumer electronics. With long lines all weekend in many stores, buyers were faced with numerous choices if they did make it to the front of the line. Which carrier – AT&T or Verizon? What color – white or black?

Destress and Boost Productivity With Less Notifications

March 11, 2011

If you are a knowledge worker, there is no doubt getting frequent notifications is a mixed blessing as you make sure you are on top of everything without having to search for what's new. My friend in Sardinia, Luca Filigheddu explains how much stress you can relieve by turning off all the notifications and in general I agree.

I get an email every few moments it seems so I do not use email alerts but I do have alerts for some Twitter and Facebook functions as well as news alerts for a number of news apps on my devices. Perhaps I should turn them off - as they do get annoying and they show up on all my mobile devices.

The one certainty is as we keep installing more apps - the opportunity for us to turn on notifications increases and if we aren't careful, we slowly decrease our productivity as interuptions are the enemy of concentration.

Avaya's Phil Edholm told me years back that your brain can adjust to multitasking and excel at becoming interrupt-driven. In other words, ADHD can be induced.





Massive Lines for iPad 2

March 11, 2011



Larry on my IT team was nice enough to scout around Norwalk, CT looking for an iPad 2 for me and this is the photo he sent back from Best Buy. Larry says at least 60-80 people were in it. The going rate to cut the line is $500 BTW. The AT&T store across the street from TMC HQ had four units and they sold out quickly. And forget about getting many retailers carrying iPads to even think about answering phones today.

It is obvious that Apple has built tremendous consumer trust and if a tablet manufacturer even dreams of penetrating Apple's massive market share they need to way over deliver.



Comcast 100 Mbps Voice and Data Service Unveiled

March 11, 2011

Comcast has just introduced 100 Mbps voice and scalable voice service in in California and the bundle shows the cable provider is very serious about becoming a major player in the fixed-line voice and data business. Combining Sharepoint, Exchange Server and antivirus software, Comcast Business Class Internet is a viable solution for companies who want to outsource much of their information technology needs to their carrier.

For more, I reached out to VoIP blogger and tech enthusiast Andy Abramson for his thoughts:

"This new effort combines the Docsis 3.0 cable modem standard with the acquisition of NGT by Comcast.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis to Help or Hurt Cloud Growth?

March 11, 2011

If your cloud services relay on a data center which is in an area affected by a natural disaster and your users or home office is not, you probably look at the recent disaster in Japan as a negative for cloud-based services. the reality is however that once your services are in the cloud, you will be able to more easily have access to computing resources which are geographically dispersed.

Moreover, generally speaking, a data center is more resilient to natural disasters than a typical office would be. This is the case for example with the Terremark building in Miami, FL which while located in a hurricane zone, is one of the most disaster-proof structures you will find. This is likely why the US government virtually owns an entire floor of the building and moreover why Verizon decided to buy the company as it expands its cloud strategy.

Larry Dignan has more analysis on the topic at ZDnet and its worth a read.



iPad 2 Demand Could Be Much Greater Than Expected

March 11, 2011

The iPad 2 has only been on sale for a few hours online and already shipping estimates have gone from 3-5 days to 2-3 weeks. Perhaps this isn't too surprising as analysts believe 15-20% of users of the original iPad will upgrade. This includes me by the way.

Some are calling for 600,000 iPad 2 devices to be sold this weekend in over 10,000 stores from AT&T, Verizon, Wal-Mart and many others.

Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised as we know the price of trade-ins on original iPads has been dropping since the announcement of the new device. Mashable has more on whether you should order online or in a store.

My take is if you can't wait, order one online and stand in line this weekend if you find a store with one in stock.

Update 3/14/11: The delay is now 3-4 weeks according to Apple's site.







Does Sprint Merging with T-Mobile Make Sense?

March 10, 2011



As Tammy Wolf reports in the TMC Newsroom, Sprint and T-Mobile may merge, allowing the weakest national wireless carriers to merge resources and become more credible against the threat from AT&T and Verizon. If there is one thing the wireless industry has learned these past years is network quality is the largest differentiator from a marketing perspective and as these wireless companies all will support LTE and most likely many of the same devices, carrier's likely can't count on an exclusive killer device as much as they did in the past.

In other words, if Verizon and AT&T had both used the exact same network technology, we may have seen Apple support both networks earlier on. Moreover, if there is a merger, all three providers will likely be about the same size in terms of customers meaning better negotiating power with device manufacturers - not to mention equipment providers.

Carl Ford, co-founder of the 4GWE conference thinks the fact that there are relatively new CEOs at Sprint, T-Mobile and Clearwire bodes well for a deal which is currently at the rumor stage. I tend to agree.

It seems to me that the need for these companies to get together is predicated on the fact that there is a perception issue in the US that Verizon has the best network and the others just aren't as good.







How YouTube Takes Consumer Time from TV

March 10, 2011

In the past I have discussed how TV disruption may happen more slowly than you think because of the tens of billions of dollars in affiliate fees changing hands. But this doesn't mean there aren't brilliant innovators out there using YouTube and other sites to become stars.

Consumer warning: Craziness, profanity and catchiness below


For example I was sent this Charlie Sheen Winning music video today and it is quite catchy. I found it playing "itself" in my head at lunch. Its a Songify This creation by the Gregory Brothers and a look at some of their top videos shows views in range of the many millions - about 60 million "season one" in fact.

So the challenge for TV is not only new methods of delivery but competition for the viewer's time.






Skype Pre-IPO Report Card

March 7, 2011

It was back in 2007 when my fellow bloggers and journalists told me that Skype was a dog, had no future, couldn’t make money and wasn’t going anywhere. I begged to differ – the way I saw it the company simply didn’t execute on its potential. I quickly jotted down 11 ideas the company should pursue and in my post I even offered myself to Meg Whitman as a consultant to help implement my ideas.

Fast forward a few years and Meg is gone, and the company was sold and is now implementing the ideas – slowly but surely but many have been implanted in the last week which is why this analysis makes sense to present today.

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