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Android Developer Contest

November 13, 2007

Question: What is the best way to get your mobile platform to be adopted by developers and subsequently end-users?
Answer
: Pay off the developers   And that is just what Google is doing with their Android SDK. A total of $10 million dollars will be awarded to the best applications in a contest Google recently announced..   Having lived through the application wars of Apple vs. PC and then Microsoft Windows vs. IBM OS/2 I can recall just how important it is the have the application developers behind your platform.   For example in the publishing industry a popular software package for desktop publishers was Quark Express and the company was a loyal Apple developer.

Facebook to Compete with Digg

November 11, 2007

Some of the more popular sites to go to when voting on technology news are digg and Techmeme. Digg actually allows you to vote on more than just tech news and both are great places to go when you are looking for news put together by a large community of users.   Having said that, these sites may be vulnerable to competition as there are rumors that the social networking sites want a piece of the user-driven news aggregation market as well.   To set the record straight, there are lots of companies out there looking to compete with a site like digg but few have made much of a dent so far.   Perhaps the biggest threat would be Facebook, as the social networking behemoth has just so many active users. In case you are wondering just how popular Facebook is, you should know the company’s site has about 24 million unique US visitors each month and is ranked in the top 22 out of all websites – according to Quantcast.

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.

Rumor Mill: Google Acquiring Sprint

November 10, 2007

Recent news that Sprint is not going to work with Clearwire to build out a WiMAX network only added to the rumors I have been hearing about Google acquiring Sprint Nextel. On the surface it seems like this would be a bad move for Google but in reality the world’s leading search engine has become so much more than just a website to go to when you want to find a trinket of information… The company now needs a wireless network to allow it to grow in the mobile search and related spaces such as watching YouTube videos on the subway.   Let’s look at Google from a philosophical level. The company has built almost everything from scratch in its past and present. Computers, operating system, web server software and more.

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.

Cisco VARs Feeling Microsoft Pressure

November 10, 2007

I saw an article in CRN titled Cisco VoIP VARs Feeling Microsoft Pressure and I found it interesting that Cisco VARs are having to deal with customer doubt regarding selling unified communications solutions.   Imagine this news is coming less than a month after I wrote Microsoft’s Big Unified Communications Launch which discussed Microsoft’s official entry into the space with a Bill Gates cameo appearance in San Francisco.   What amazes me most is that Cisco has shipping products and is such a dominant player and the threat of Microsoft entering the Unified Communications space is slowing down the networking giant’s telecom sales.   One wonders if Cisco VARs are having such problems are the VARs of other PBX players feeling the pain as well? Many of the other players in the market are doing their best to embrace the Microsoft Unified Communications strategy so perhaps this challenge is unique to Cisco and Avaya.   Why do I throw Avaya into the mix? Only because they haven’t tied themselves closely to the Microsoft UC strategy as of yet.   At the last ITEXPO this past September in Los Angles, CA, approximately one in five VARs I spoke with said Microsoft’s entry into the space would change the competitive landscape. Most were not concerned.

Pandora Competes Handily With Satellite Radio

November 9, 2007

In the past I have written about not allowing the XM/Sirius satellite merger take place. I figured it would be bad for consumers. However a single website changed my mind a few months back. That website is actually a streaming radio station which allows you to play the customized music you like.

The Future is UnClearWire

November 9, 2007

TMCnet’s Russell Shaw reports in his Regulation blog that Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are not going to work together on a nationwide WiMAX network. Citing a story in the Wall Street Journal, Shaw says:  
A letter of intent to build such a network was signed in July, when Gary Forsee was still CEO of beleaguered Sprint Nextel. But that was before Forsee- who had championed the deal- lost significant support among his company's Board of Directors, resigned his position in early October.   Forsee's departure, as well as what the Journal sources termed the "complexities of the transaction," were apparently too much to convert the letter of intent into a signed, sealed commitment with a firm go-ahead.
  Obviously this is not good for Clearwire or WiMAX in general. It is also not good for Sprint whose strategy seems to shift more than the wind as of late.   One reason this deal fell through could be that Sprint has thrown in the towel and decided to sell.

Ballmer on Android

November 9, 2007

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