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Is Yahoo Just Doomed?

May 16, 2012

Years back I was at a conference with a consultant who worked at Yahoo! and told them they need to take on Google more directly and he was told, “That is not the Yahoo way.” I still remember the dumfounded feeling I had when I heard this ridiculous comment. We all know that Yahoo is a company with outstanding assets but with major internal problems. CEOs seem to be ousted annually, the company is behind in just about every market it invented and even with all its traffic, it seems to be all about yesterday’s Internet.

There are lots of stories about the company’s incompetence – one past high-level exec detailed the situation at a TMC conference (at the person’s request I won’t share more detail) and his explanation of the corporate politics remind me more of a sitcom than a company looking to win.

Politics are nothing new… Every company has them. Egos are fragile things and people want to amass more power.



Brightcove Sales Reflects well on Video, Cloud, HTML5

May 4, 2012

What happens when you sit at the intersection of cloud, HTML5 and video - especially when tablets and high-resolution smartphones are being sold by the hundreds of millions? The answer is - if you are Brightcove, that your sales grow rapidly. In fact the company just announced earnings of $19.9 million which is up 53% YoY. Sure, this isn't a huge number but the percentage is obviously intriguing.

Moreover, gross profit for the first quarter was up 56% at $13.6 million.

Why Samsung Must Have a Successful Media Player

May 2, 2012

If Samsung is the anti-Apple and with their success in the smartphone space you have to consider them a strong alternative, then they have to have a strategy which allows them to emulate Apple in order to be as successful. By this I mean, Apple has the amazing ability to sell a range of products which are highly similar and yet each is in its own category.

You want an inexpensive music player for the kids? The Apple answer, an iPod Touch.

Blackberry 10 like Siri uses Productivity to Differentiate

May 1, 2012

Apple's iPhone 4S is perhaps most known for Siri the built-in personal assistant which has had mixed reviews. Still, in-part because of this feature, the company has sold iPhones by the boatload.

RIM, who is fighting to regain market share has come at the productivity game from a different angle - the predictive text technology in its soon to be released Blackberry 10 OS is much-improved and has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to communicate on a smartphone or tablet.

For information workers - it seems the more you work, the more there is to do. Especially when you consider the huge time suck associated with social networking, watching online video and gaming and book-reading on the go using the latest crop of tablets.

Although it is soon to say that RIM has nailed it with its new OS, it does look better than previous operating systems from the company. Now the question is how long before the functionality is copied by others and the patent war over this feature begins?

See analysis from the AP, a hands-on review from CNet and comments fom USA Today.







Is Skype Microsoft's Only Chance for Mobile Success?

April 26, 2012

If you are looking for increased competition in the mobile space, Apple’s recent and seemingly constant record earnings are bad news. Worse yet for the competition, Apple has transcended its original position of a computer and electronics maker to become a major force in the publicly traded markets and even the US economy. Its phones are status symbols the world over and its tablet is so far ahead of the rest of the market the company can charge hundreds more and consumers will pay for these products with a smile.

So news of Microsoft losing share to in the mobile space should hardly be considered news.

Microsoft Working on Skype Everywhere Initiative

April 20, 2012

The fact that Microsoft would want to integrate Skype everywhere shouldn't be too surprising, Office/Lync and Windows Phone are obvious areas and so is Xbox. That's why news of the company looking for engineers who can delve into the hybrid world of video games and IP communications shouldn't be too surprising.

When Microsoft integrates Skype into Xbox and bundles some free calling into the solution, what's to stop them from offering a DECT phone as well? With retail prices of DECT 6.0 phones starting at less than $20, the idea makes more and more sense.

Sure, you can use a cordless/wireless phone with Skype today but if Microsoft integrates it all seamlessly and video is added for free, what happens to the business models of Ooma, netTALK and magicJack?

And what about the cable companies, AT&T and Verizon? Sure, a Skype home phone calling solution will be inferior as it doesn't allow emergency calling due to a lack of E-911 support but still, if it is part of a bundle and has HD voice support, why pay for phone company or cable calling? Especially if it has video as well and other great Skype calling features, presence, etc.

Additionally, a benefit of the Skype purchase will be potentially becoming the phone provider for hundreds of millions of consumers.







Determining if There is a Spectrum Shortage

April 19, 2012

Those of us who have been in the wireless space for years take for granted that there is a spectrum shortage but the New York Times had a compelling story discussing how spectrum sharing and smart antennas will help alleviate the problem. They even have a quote from David P. Reed saying that radio frequencies are not finite.

TMC's Peter Bernstein disagrees with this last point and has some interesting thoughts on the matter worth reading.

To me the debate is fascinating and is similar to arguing if we have run out of space on the island of Manhattan. On the one hand it has been built up to capacity except perhaps a few parks and other areas. But on the other hand, we can continue to purchase, knock down and build taller buildings to add more capacity.

But if New York land was spectrum, whenever a taller building is constructed, some of the units would be forced to go to competing landlords.





Is the Post-PC Era a Myth?

April 16, 2012

The way one should interpret the term "Post-PC" is "after PC" - implying that the world has changed from era to the next. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch does an admirable job of laying the case for what she calls the Post-PC era or alternatively - "PCs Everywhere" which I agree isn't quite as catchy.

In her article she discusses how Apple sold 37M iPhones in Q4, 15% of the official PC market is made up of tablets (mostly iPads) and Apple is now the leading "PC" vendor. Moreover smartphone shipments last year hit 487.7M while PC shipments hit 414.6M and the smartphone growth rate is 63% versus 15% for PCs.

So one would imagine once again that the phrase "Post-PC" means that there aren't going to be more PCs sold.

Gary Kim writes on IP Carrier that while global tablet sales are growing at 98% YoY for 2012, the PC market is expected to increase 4.4% and will increase to 10% in 2013.

The catch is - and there is always a catch, that most of these sales will be in emerging markets and will be for more portable computers - laptops, ultrabooks, etc. Kim makes the argument however that tablets may be 42% of total PC sales by 2016 - a staggering percentage.

The trend is clear however that portability and style trump virtually everything else when it comes to the tech space.









A Contrarian View on The Apple/Foxconn Labor Situation

April 5, 2012

A few weeks back when the New York Times wrote a story regarding workers making iPhones and other devices in China who aren’t being treated very well, I wondered, this is a story? In other words, is there a person on the planet who doesn’t know that working conditions in China are far worse than they are in the US?

And I absolutely respect the right of the New York Times to run such a story – I just think it shows a broader agenda of being anti-capitalist, and anti-business. After all, we in the US have been buying Chinese products made by people in poor working conditions for decades.

The Need for More Fiber is Very Real

April 3, 2012

As the mobile revolution has grown, the one constant has been the need for faster connections and/or fiber to cell towers. For years TMC has interviewed Hunter Newby and Jason Cohen of Allied Fiber about the need for fiber throughout the US. Their company is building a network of ducted fiber through a wide swath of the US and is selling it unlit meaning that whoever decides to purchase the fiber has the rights to improve the equipment on the fiber allowing for faster interconnections as technology improves.

TMC’s Paula Bernier Interviews Jason Cohen of Allied Fiber

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