First Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the 1969 album Crosby, Stills and Nash by – wait for it – Crosby, Stills and Nash:

Qualcomm’s CEO took time out from the Seoul Digital Forum to tell Reuters that, in his opinion, demand for cell phones worldwide will decrease this year. He attributes the soft demand to “a slow transition to next generation mobile services.”

Noting that “last year we saw very strong growth,” Irwin Mark Jacobs said “this year it will be little slower than that,” leading Qualcomm to revise their shipment forecast downward from 55 million to 50 million.

No moss growing on Qualcomm, though – they’re planning to test a wireless broadcasting service in the U.S. at the end of the year, according to Dow Jones. They’re also in talks with Korean “broadcasters, content providers and operators.”

“I expect first commercial trials to occur in the U.S. We gained a (broadcasting) license on channel 55 that covers the entire U.S. and we’ll be able to introduce the service in a number of cities,” Jacobs told reporters in Seoul.

Gartner echoes Jacobs’s damp forecast for cell phone sales. The market research group said that while cell phone sales spiked 30 percent last year, they’ll be surprised if it hits double figures this year. First CoffeeSM suspects firms in the business of making expensive guesses are frequently surprised.

Basically, in the absence of any compelling technological improvements consumers aren’t as likely to upgrade to a new model cell phone this year just for the kick of it. Reuters says Qualcomm cut its revenue target to $5.5 billion $5.7 billion “citing global product inventory gluts and weak demand in Western Europe for advanced cell-phone services such as mobile video and Web surfing.”

Qualcomm still plans to spend about $800 million to build a network to broadcast TV to phones next year, Reuters reports, and “expects video on phones to be the most popular advanced service.” Irwin said he doesn’t expect the broadcast technology – MediaFLO – to generate “interesting” amounts of revenue “at least for a year” after the service is introduced.

The Chinese government will begin to provide third generation-based mobile telecommunications service before 2008, said Minister of Information Wang Xudong at the recently-concluded 2005 Fortune Global Forum.

According to that bastion of truth, People’s Daily Online, Wang said the licensing depends on the maturity of the technology and of the Chinese telecom market.

China has worked out a frequency program for 3G and organized the largest experiment with the technology worldwide, involving some world-class manufacturers and operators. On the world 3G market, the TD-SCDMA developed by China, WCDMA by Europe and CDMA 2000 by the United States have become the three major competing systems.

At the Forum Wang also promised that China will go on “adhering to the principle of opening up,” if not the actual practice thereof. The Chinese government will encourage domestic information technology enterprises to invest abroad and “welcomes transnational companies to establish business in China.”

Why does anyone care? Because, my friend (draping arm around shoulder), according to Wang, there are now 349 million subscribers to mobile telecom services in China, the most in the world.

Cbeyond Inc., which filed for an IPO late Monday, says they don’t see Vonage, deltathree or 8x8 as direct competitors. Rather, the IP-based carriers “biting huge chunks out of the Baby Bells’ revenue,” according to ComputerWire, sees itself in the ring with Qwest, SBC and BellSouth.

The first Internet telephony company to venture in the public market, according to TheDeal, it plans to raise $172.5 million in an IPO on Nasdaq, partly to pay back Cisco, which has bankrolled them so far, the outstanding loan of $64.1 million the vendor provided to buy Cisco’s equipment. Cisco gets options to buy up to 2.7 million shares at $0.01 per share and 24,969 shares at $1.00 per share.

Atlanta-based Cbeyond is using an IP-based network linked to customer premises with T-1 lines. They’re selling local and long distance VoIP, broadband internet access, e-mail, voicemail, web hosting, secure backup and file sharing and VPNs aimed at SMEs with about 4 to 200 employees “in large metropolitan cities, using five or more phone lines,” of which they believe there are over 1.4 million such in the United States, if Dun & Bradstreet is anything to go by.

They saw $20.9 million in revenue in 2003, which jumped 72.9% in 2004 to $113.3 million while its net loss went from $29.5 million to $11.4 million.

First CoffeeSM is fully aware that companies frequently try to whip up mini-”trends” that serve mostly to boost business – in college First CoffeeSM worked for a student magazine which one month ran a splashy feature on how Casablanca nostalgia was sweeping campuses across America, how Casablanca posters were the must-have feature of all hep dorm rooms, and in the back ads was a large spot advertising Casablanca posters for sale, and the campus post box for collecting orders just happened to be the editor’s who had written the feature article.

Still, Jeff Minich, VP of Business Development at has a point in statements released today saying that while much has been made of the potential of Linux to upset Microsoft’s dominance of operating systems, “little attention has been given to rapidly evolving open source software applications which may someday threaten products like Microsoft Office.”’s business is managed application services, deploying and managing open source software through the web for companies, and First CoffeeSM is aware that it’s self-serving of them, but their point is valid: A new wave of freely available open source business applications such as NetOffice and SugarSuite is proving popular among small and medium sized businesses.

The open source CRM application SugarSuite, which has much of the functionality one finds in Microsoft and Siebel’s CRM, is “really a killer open source app that greatly extends the capabilities of applications like Outlook” says Minich. “It doesn’t directly compete with Outlook, rather it does a number of things Outlook should do on its own but doesn’t,” things like shared calendaring, contact databases, and e-mail archives which either aren’t supported in Outlook or need a complicated and expensive deployment of Microsoft Exchange and Windows Server.

SugarSuite and NetOffice have had over 100,000 downloads in less than a year, and while there’s nobody who pretends to know exactly how many businesses are using these open source products as their standard CRM apps, they’re part of the landscape now, viable alternatives to the pricey stuff from Redmond and San Mateo.

Minich’s dreaming when he says open source poses “a direct threat to Microsoft’s preeminent position in desktop applications,” but check back in five years.

You know how you can read x-number of pages free from a book you’re browsing on Amazon – and as many as you can get away with in a bookstore? And on Amazon and in Barnes and Noble stores you can listen to twenty-second snatches of songs on a CD? That’s the low end of tryvertising.

First CoffeeSM tends to live on the low end of things, so those are the only forms of tryvertising which come to mind, but according to The New Zealand Herald tryvertising is more than handing out samples on toothpicks in grocery stores, or putting a sachet of shampoo or perfume in a magazine. It’s about “getting samples to the right people at the right time and in the right place,” says Amsterdam-based agency Trendwatching.

For instance, Ritz-Carlton Club Level guests at selected hotels get the use of a Mercedes CLS500 with unlimited mileage for the duration of their stay. The car is waiting with a full tank of gas each morning and is valet-parked at night. “According to Ritz Carlton,” Trendwatching reports, “dozens of guests decided to buy a new Merc based on these integrated test-drives.” There’s even a program to tryvertise the $385,000 Mercedes Maybach at certain hotels, Porsche and Mini Cooper have similar hotel deals.

It works at any level: IKEA outfits budget hotel rooms in Germany, that’s tryvertising. There’s a Playstation bar or a “Heineken Room” in hotels (prime tryvertising points)? Tryvertising at work. There are VinoVenue’s “wine jukeboxes” where with prepaid smart cards you can sample a shot glass of wine for a buck or two and buy the bottle on the spot. Nike providing running shoes at the start of the Vancouver half-marathon, Cadillac providing shuttle cars at Sundance Film Festival, Starbucks giving you free coffee at events, all tryvertising.

The best one, of course, is that at certain Dutch bus stops you can get free fresh-brewed coffee from machines installed by Senseo Coffee Machines.

First CoffeeSM would like to reassure readers that neither Michael Isikoff nor Newsweek magazine were used as sources for this column.

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