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How Poor Branding and Positioning Have Led to Tech and Auto Failure

March 27, 2011

Lessons Learned From Microsoft, Cisco, Volkswagen, Mazda and Apple Misteps

Why do Cisco and Microsoft have trouble entering new consumer markets and why does Apple have challenges when trying to get into the enterprise server market? According to an article from Rob Enderle, President and Prinpal Analyst, Enderle Group the reason has to do with poor management choices which have more to do with seniority than ability - coupled with starving new products of the resources they need to make it.

I agree with many of the points he makes and the fact Redmond actually decided turd brown was a great color to use when competing with Apple is hard to digest (sorry).  But in addition to the thoughts from Enderle I would add there is a positioning challenge facing these companies as well. In today's world where everything seems to revolve around clicks and search ads, most companies don't even seem to know what positioning means.

And its too bad because companies fail every day because they generate lots of leads that won't turn into business.





Is AT&T Using Investment Angle to Silence Blumenthal?

March 25, 2011

One thing you have to give AT&T a tremendous amount of credit for is knowing how to work the regulatory system - legal, financial and lobbying to get deals done. They are absolute masters and off the record I hear amazing things about just how connected they are. And they will likely need to pull on all the strings they have access to in order to make the T-Mobile acquisition happen.

So realizing the US is a Republic made up of 50 states, the company has now begun working on public opinion in individual states. Consider that today alone the company has put out two releases regarding their building of what they call the most advanced mobile broadband experience in Cincinnati and Connecticut.

In boilerplate press releases where a few items are changed, the company explains that in the greater Cincinnati area it is going to install 10 new cell sites, add spectrum carriers to 35 cell sites, enhance backhaul to 100 cell sites to enable 4G and deploy a distributed antenna system at the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium to enhance network coverage during events.



What AT&T Purchase of T-Mobile Means

March 20, 2011

Today, AT&T announced it was purchasing T-Mobile from Deutsche Telecom generating a combined entity with 130 million wireless subscribers producing $72.2B per year in revenue. While AT&T had an exclusive contract with Apple to sell iPads and iPhones it could rely on organic growth but now that Cupertino decided polygamy was more lucrative and Google’s Android is unleashing a torrent of cool devices on all networks, the challenge for carriers is to figure out how to compete effectively in a world where differentiating based on device is more difficult.

iPhone and AT&T’s Network Quality Perception

AT&T took a beating while being the exclusive home of the iPhone and was ridiculed on programs from The Daily Show to Saturday Night Live for selling device which couldn’t effectively make phone calls.

Cable Broadband Speeds to Skyrocket

March 18, 2011

Just when you thought you needed optical technology to get super fast connections to the home - along comes DOCSIS 3.0 allowing a 1.6 Gbps downstream connection over three cable modems at a recent CableLabs Winter Conference.

According to Multichannel News, IP bonding at the headend resulted in a 300 Mbps upload as well. According to the piece written by Todd Spangler, Cox Communications has shown 400 Mbps uplink speeds in Atlanta using Motorola's RX48 return path receiver module in a BSR 64000 DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS edge router. It's worth noting Germany's Kabel Deutschland last fall touted a download speed of 1.17 Gbps in a test conducted in Hamburg.

All of this is good news for YouTube, Hulu, and NetFlix among others.

Here is a Cisco white paper on DOCSIS 3.0 for more.





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.



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