First Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Ignacy Paderewski’s Symphony in B minor (Polonia), Op. 24 in Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh in January 1998, Jerzy Maksymiuk conducting:

Consummating a deal which had been announced Monday, Norwegian state telephony provider Telenor ASA today paid over $1 billion for two broadband services providers in Sweden and Denmark “as the switch to IP telephony threatens to crank up competition in the whole of Europe,” according to Computer Wire.

The price breaks down to $821.8 million for Bredbandsbolaget AB in Sweden, and $202.6 million for Cybercity A/S in Denmark. Growth in broadband is big in the Nordic region now, and this purchase moves Telenor, 53 percent owned by the Norwegian government, ahead of Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB in the lucrative market.

“Strategically, this is a necessary move for Telenor,” Poul Jessen, an analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen tells Bloomberg. “Fixed and wireless services are converging, and Telenor needs to be able to provide a complete package to compete” with TDC A/S and TeliaSonera AB.

According to, the purchase will double Telenor’s broadband customer base to about 800,000. Telenor expects the move to save about $390 million over the next few years on its existing Sweden and Denmark operations.

With its core wireline revenue in decline, Computer Wire says, “Telenor sees growth prospects of the triple play of voice, data, and TV to the home, and a whole raft of IP-based services to business users.”

“There is huge growth potential in the broadband market in this region,” Berit Svendsen, head of Telenor’s fixed line division tells “We expect the market to grow from [$3.9 billion] to [over $6 billion] over the next five years and we want to be a part of that.”

As Robert Parker’s Spenser or Susan Silverman might say, “anybody would.”

The Taiwan telecom industry is “making history today,” in the words of Taiwan Mobile company officials, with the initial launch of Taiwan’s first 3G service by Taiwan Mobile.

Primary amongst such 3G offerings will be Hong Kong-based Artificial Life’s products V-girl – “Your Virtual Girlfriend!,” “Virtual Disco” and “Virtual News Reporter Service.” The launch of the 3G products in Taiwan is scheduled for Q3, 2005.

Virtual girlfriend, disco and news reporter? Cue up the old Sesame Street song – “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…”

“Closely supported” by Nokia throughout the long process leading up to this milestone, the initial launch, branded “catch 3! catch your eyes!” (First CoffeeSM supposes it reads better in the original Chinese) will give Taiwanese subscribers “their first taste of 3G services,” according to company officials.

As Taiwan Mobile’s sole supplier of its WCDMA system, Nokia, reasonably enough, is keenly interested in the success of the venture. They’ve provided 3G products and technologies, shared global 3G business experience with Taiwan Mobile, provided handset customization and facilitated mobile content development.

Taiwan Mobile, formerly named TCC Group is Taiwan’s largest private mobile operator, carrying over six million mobile subscribers and three portfolio operators: Taiwan Mobile, TransAsia Telecommunications and Mobitai Communications.

Darius Wey posted on Pocket PC Thoughts that Telecom New Zealand is making “MSN Messenger connections free on their wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) hotspots.”  You don’t need an account with Telecom or Xtra (their ISP) to use the wireless service, Wey writes, which is available in some airports, hotels and Starbucks across New Zealand:

“While they still limit the full use of this wireless service to current Telecom account holders (which defeats the purpose for overseas visitors and people who do not use Telecom’s services), it seems that there’s some work in the background to enable roaming with some large wireless LAN provider, plus some other cool features.”

Those Kiwis, huh? First CoffeeSM thinks this is a great idea and can easily see how it could be expanded into something genuinely useful worldwide, hint hint, wink-wink nudge-nudge.

This came out yesterday so you might have already seen it, but since it was published in Enterprise Networks & Servers, still just a hair away from mass-market circulation First CoffeeSM imagines a few of you might have not seen it yet. Unisys Corp. is offering what it’s billing as “the industry’s first CRM benchmarking research service,” cleverly named “Unisys 3D Benchmarking for CRM.”

“Does anyone truly know what a CRM best practice is?” Rich Jaso, managing partner of Unisys’ North American CRM practice, asks – obviously rhetorically, since he says “No, they don’t. Up until now organizations had to rely on ‘observed’ best practices, containing little or no statistical evidence to support them.”

Well, “little or no statistical evidence” except for whether it was profitable or not. Other than that, you’re right, absolutely nothing whatsoever to go on.

“In an industry first, Unisys 3D Benchmarking for CRM will provide statistically-validated best practices that allow organizations to confidently implement those CRM programs that will best support their business goals,” Jaso claims. Caveat emptor, friends.

Denver-based TouchStar Software is introducing something called Dial-On-Demand. The press advisory was self-servingly jargon-heavy even by press release standards, but after hacking through the thicket here’s what First CoffeeSM thinks is going on:

If you’re a call center who can’t afford a lot of infrastructure, like a start-up, or an established concern who’s spiking you can contact these guys and they’ll offer pay-as-you-go help for as long as you need it. Scale up or down on the fly.

First CoffeeSM subscribes to The Writer’s Almanac, and today’s edition notes that today in 1787, at Independence Hall the Constitutional Convention got underway.

The Articles of Confederation the United States had used since the end of the Revolutionary War weren’t helping much – colonies were acting like little independent countries – so Congress decided to call a convention to redo them. Thomas Jefferson was soaking up Paris, John Adams was in England, Patrick Henry was sulking in Virginia muttering about smelling rats in Philadelphia.

When the convention decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation and start over, they knew they had to work in secret. “The windows were nailed shut, guards were posted, not a word was leaked to the press,” Writer’s Almanac says. “55 delegates were there… most of them were young; only four of them over 60, five of them still in their 20s.” All colonies except Rhode Island sent delegates.

George Washington, reluctantly, was persuaded to preside. He rarely spoke, but other delegates said his enormous prestige across all colonies was crucial for success, and that his presence alone affected what people said. Delegates later said they gave the head of state more power because they imagined Washington holding that position.

Today America has the oldest written constitution in the world, and one of the shortest – about 7,000 words. The currently-proposed EU constitution weighs in at over 60,000 words, and certainly nobody expects it to last 200 years, if it’s ratified at all.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement, and uncompensated recommends ‘72 VW Beetle ragtops, dark roast coffee, monogamy, T.S. Eliot and Moose Drool Beer.

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