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November 2005

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First Coffee for November 30, 2005

November 30, 2005

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Johnny Cash’s magnificent gospel collection, God:

Nokia and a telecommunications provider in the Philippines, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, have set up a Next Generation Network Laboratory to develop and test end-to-end Fixed- Mobile Convergence services prior to their commercial launch.

The “laboratory” will use PLDT’s current fixed and mobile networks to create converged services for PLDT Group customers.

Nokia has provided the Next Generation Network Laboratory with end-to-end Fixed-Mobile Convergence products, comprised of Unified Core and converged access networks as well as Nokia multimedia and VoIP enabled terminals.

“We see convergence as an opportunity to… drive the future growth of our business,” said Don Rae, Chief Operations Adviser, PLDT. “The Next Generation Network Laboratory provides us with a test bed where we can trial new ideas and services before commercial launches.”

Markku Nieminen, Account Director, Networks, Nokia said that Nokia is trialing its converged products with other operators for consumer and corporate customers, “as well as fixed and mobile networks, in what is shaping up to be a new chapter in this industry.”

Happy birthday, Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens in 1835. Those who know his work only through Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn know little about one of the most funny, thoughtful and incisive American writers of all time. Indeed, Twain is one of the few writers of any vintage who can be read with pleasure at any stage and situation of life.

His was an astounding output, including travelogue, bestsellers, short stories, moving personal recollections (“My Military Campaign,” yes, click on it, it’s the story of his involvement in the Civil War, takes ten minutes to read and you’ve never read anything like it.) the first gonzo journalism – Innocents Abroad – and serious historical fiction such as the unjustly neglected The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.

First Coffee for November 29, 2005

November 29, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music “Castanets” by Alejandro Escovido – “She plays castanets/ She works without a net… She turns me on like a pickup truck:”

Motorola, Inc. is claiming the launch of the “first-ever personal digital assistant to operate on Terrestrial Trunked Radio networks.”

The new PDA delivers public safety users pocket-sized access to essential two-way data applications while on the move, Motorola officials say. It’s been “developed to meet the requirements of public safety organizations,” letting users access person and vehicle records, report crimes and accidents, and issue penalty tickets via the PDA’s application suite.

No, sorry, you can’t buy a PDA that writes tickets.

Options available include Bluetooth, WLAN, GPS and camera, allowing pictures to be circulated quickly from the PDA. The pocket-sized device measures 145mm x 83mm x 35-50mm and weighs less than 500 grams.

First Coffee for November 28, 2005

November 28, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Slobberbone’s Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today:

IDEA Cellular, a mobile operator in India, and Nokia have launched Nokia’s Intelligent Content Delivery System product on all IDEA’s mobile networks across India.

The Nokia ICD product is described as “enhancing” IDEA’s mobile packet core network capabilities, according to IDEA officials, and enabling it to connect both prepaid and post-paid subscribers to data services and charge them according to the value of traffic and content.

IDEA officials claim this makes IDEA “India’s first and only operator to charge differentially for data services, thereby increasing its revenue streams.”

In other news, Nokia and 3 Scandinavia are trialing Nokia Push to talk over Cellular service in the Swedish market. That’s where people can use their mobile phones like walkie-talkies, communicating with a selected group or with individuals at the push of a button. The trial is initially targeted to business users.

Nokia ICD allows IDEA to provide data services, such as downloadable ringtones, music, games, browsing, streaming, MMS and content based SMS, to both prepaid and post-paid customers and charge for them differentially.

IDEA has “taken another significant step… by charging online for data services for our prepaid customers. Data services usage is on the rise and it was important to not only extend data services to prepaid customers but also charge customers differentially depending on the importance of the service for them,” said Vikram Mehmi, CEO, IDEA Cellular.

Systems integration of the Nokia product to IDEA’s existing network environment (Multivendor Integration) and specific customization are key part of the agreement.

First Coffee for 26 November, 2005

November 26, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Rich’s “One Bud Wiser” (“Well, I’m one Bud wiser/Than I was a minute ago…”)

Boy, the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the news wires are humming, boy, lemme tell you, so much hard industry news it’s hard to know what to say first…

Right. We have to go out of North America to find any news at all.

From Israel comes the news that InterObject, a provider of turnkey outsourced software development projects, as well as customized software products, has announced that Global IP Sound has chosen to integrate the company’s MPEG-4 and H.264 video encoding and decoding technology with its own technology base.

Global IP Sound, whose voice processing tools enable real-time communication over packet networks and are integrated in such VoIP software products as Skype, has chosen to embed InterObject’s technology within the foundation of its VoiceEngine Multimedia.

Eli Schwarzfuchs, InterObject co-founder and general manager, says their suite of MPEG-4 and H.264 software components are available for a wide range of processor platforms.

Gary Hermansen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global IP Sound said easy integration of these codecs with their own technology base will “keep development efforts down to a minimum while enabling us to remain focused on our core capabilities.”

Happy birthday, Charles Schulz. The first Peanuts comic strip featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and Sally appeared October 2, 1950. As Writer’s Almanac says, “Charlie Brown was the first character in an American comic strip to suffer anxiety and insecurity, and Peanuts became the most popular comic strip of all time.”

In a canned announcement released late yesterday, Net2Phone, Inc.

First Coffee for November 25, 2005

November 25, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Frank Sinatra’s The Platinum Collection:

Philippine VoIP providers will be required to post a performance-guarantee bond, according to the Filipino news service ABS-CBN.

“Besides a minimum paid-up capital, firms interested in offering voice calls over the Internet, or VoIP have to post a performance bond to guarantee the delivery of services to the public,” the National Telecommunications Commission said.

The Philippine journal Business World called the move an effort “to block fly-by-night providers, but at the risk of preventing some bona fide applicants.”

The NTC will require VoIP service-providers, defined as “a person or entity providing the service directly to the public or through resellers for compensation,” to post a P5-million performance bond on top of raising at least P10 million ($180,000) in paid-up capital.

In addition to the bond, anyone register as a VOIP service reseller, defined as “persons or entities that intend to derive or source VoIP service from a duly registered VoIP provider under an agreement to resell the service directly to retail end-user customers,” is required to show proof that the entity is at least 60 percent owned by Filipinos.

According to ABS-CBN, the Philippine National Economic and Development Authority estimates that VoIP can reduce the cost of current international calls “as much as 75 percent, from the present $0.40 to only about $0.10 a minute, or even lower, as is the case in other Asian countries.”

Business World reports that the Philippines has seen “long-drawn debates over telecommunication firms’ rights as service providers and the right of typically small value-added service companies like internet service providers to offer this service at rates that could be much cheaper than those of big telcos.”

Telcos argue that VoIP is a voice service, the journal says, “noting that, under Republic Act No. 7925, only telcos that have Congressional franchise can roll out voice services.” VAS providers contend that “hefty financial requirements” should not be “slapped on a service that, theoretically, does not require that much capital to offer and that this is one business that evens the playing field.”

Happy birthday, Joe DiMaggio, one of the most graceful and classy athletes in history.

Integrated Research, developers of Prognosis performance monitoring products, has announced a partnership with T-Systems, a division of Deutsche Telekom, for a major VoIP deployment in Germany.

The company also announced the opening of a new office in the center of Frankfurt to support its customer base and to target new IP telephony opportunities in the region.

Prognosis is an established provider in Germany with clients such as DB Systems (Deutsche Bahn) and Deutsche Bank. “We had committed to open the new European office in Frankfurt and this new partnership with T-Systems has reinforced our decision,” said Keith Andrews, CEO of Integrated Research.

Over the past 17 years Integrated Research has concentrated on building up its Central European business for their HP NonStop server performance management products, relying on the support of local distributors. Andrews says the firm is now “investing in a more direct presence to address the rapidly emerging German market for VoIP and IP telephony performance management.”

The Gartner Group predicts compound annual growth of business VoIP in Western Europe at 37 per cent annually, which represents 11.7 million new IP telephones deployed by 2009.

Wolfgang Sattel, Service Delivery Manager from T-Systems, said corporations are now “starting to roll out large IP telephony deployments.”

Happy birthday Andrew Carnegie. He emigrated to America from Scotland as a penniless youth, and became one of the wealthiest Americans of his time in the steel industry, retiring on a guaranteed pension of one million dollars a month for life. He spent the last years of his life giving away his vast fortune, endowing 2,811 libraries and buying 7,689 organs for churches to “lessen the pain of the sermons.”

“After years of false starts,” says a new study, “Mobile CRM: Re-energizing the CRM,” published by industry research company visiongain, “the market for mobile CRM finally started to gain traction in 2004 and this has continued through 2005.”

Although still a “nascent market,” the report says, “mobile CRM should be reasonably robust on a global scale by 2007.”

The study found that, to this point, mobile CRM has accounted for less than 10% of total CRM revenues, but believes it will continue to show steady growth.

First Coffee for November 24, 2005

November 24, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Robert Earl Keen, Jr.’s great new song “For Love.” Why doesn’t stuff this good get on the radio?

Okay, it’s Thanksgiving Day, which means nobody’s reading this, so let’s try to get the ol’ search engine hit count up, hang on a sec… Britney Spears lucky winning lottery numbers Paris Hilton Viagra Britney Spears lucky winning lottery numbers Britney Spears Paris Hilton Viagra Britney Spears Britney Spears Britney lucky winning lottery numbers Britney Spears Paris Hilton Viagra Spears Britney Spears Britney Spears.

Welcome, readers!

The market for VoIP services in Asia continues to show strong growth, as total revenue is expected to rise from nearly $5.5 billion in 2004 to more than $10 billion by 2009, reports In-Stat.

Currently long distance calls, initiated from either traditional PSTN terminals or full IP local loops but carried over IP backbones to recipients’ local networks, create the bulk of VoIP business in Asia, providing for 85.4% of total revenue in 2004, the high-tech market research firm says. In Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, a large portion of long distance calls has already migrated to the IP platform.

“By contrast, adoption of local VoIP services is slow due to regulatory barriers in many countries and the dominance of incumbent players,” said Victor Liu, In-Stat analyst. “In Japan, however, competitive service providers such as Yahoo! BB have demonstrated how they can creatively leverage technological advantages to introduce new services and woo customers in a loose regulatory framework.”

The report also found in 2004, there were 8.7 million local VoIP lines in Asia. Yet it cautioned that regulators still have to make hard, yet smart decisions to ensure smooth market development, with some vendors placing high stakes on VoIP for their future success.

And it’s still basically a non-starter in China, as industry observer Dan Nystedt reports: “In China… telecommunications companies moved to block software services such as Skype Technologies’ SkypeOut, to protect their long distance revenue.

First Coffee for November 23, 2005

November 23, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is “Gimme Back My Dog” by Slobberbone:

Thanksgiving is First CoffeeSM’s all-time favorite holiday, as it’s proven itself to be fairly impervious to commercialization, and has retained its historical, religious, social and gastronomical significance. It’s close as anything to a time when all Americans, Christian, Muslim and Jew, black and white, rich and poor, conservative and liberal, Cowboys and Redskins fans, can come together around a groaning board and look each other in the eye and say “Hey, thanks.” Then try to grab the white meat before the other guy gets it first.

AOL’s latest instant messaging client, AIM Triton is available live today. “It text messages, launches phone calls via your broadband connection, enables video along with all that VoIP and keeps track of other important messaging info via SMS alerts,” according to a good early review on internetnews.

The biggest change for AOL subscribers is that it “integrates the usual text messaging via IM with both the AOL and free AIM e-mail clients, provides SMS mobile messaging and integrates voice and video chat sessions.”

Available at the AIM.com site, the new service is replacing all PC-based versions of AIM, provided the end-user is running Windows 2000 or XP.

Has HP, like, officially changed their name from Hewlett-Packard, the way KFC did from Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Got a press release trumpeting how great HP’s server revenue growth was in 2005, beating the pants off everyone else and all that, according to third quarter 2005 figures released today by IDC, and careful scrutiny fails to find the words “Hewlett” or “Packard” anywhere except way, way down at the bottom where you get “© 2005 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

First Coffee for November 22, 2005

November 22, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning of the high holy day for conspiracy theory wingnuts, and the music is a nice twofer: Elton John’s Honky Chateau, a great collection of songs, and Frank Sinatra’s 1957 album Come Fly With Me, the breeziest, most fun album he recorded:

Ever since First CoffeeSM posted of his troubles trying to order from online retailer Caiman.com, he’s heard from a steady stream of unhappy Caiman.com customers who feel cheated, ill-used and are otherwise dissatisfied.

Today another one came in: “I had a similar experience to you guys,” the newest poster says. “I ordered from Caiman through Half.com on 08-08-2005 and was subsequently informed that they did not have the product. Later I found out that the DVD set I wanted is not out of print. When were they going to inform me of that? This is probably the worst internet company I have ever dealt with, and I’ve used alot of them.”

Why is this a big deal? Why does First CoffeeSM keep hashing on Caiman.com’s terrible customer service?

Because such unresponsive and unfulfilling online retailing, with customer service described by customers as “evasive” and “frustrating” is part of what keeps people away from Internet retailing in general, bad apples and the whole barrel and all that.

Another is security concerns: According to a study carried out recently by the Business Software Alliance, one in four U.S. consumers will not shop online this holiday season due to Internet security concerns.

Almost all – 96 percent – of online consumers surveyed believe it is “important” to protect themselves online, and most are doing just that: 53 percent said they’re planning to upgrade their computer security software within the next three months, and the vast majority of them are actively seeking information from their friends, families, coworkers, ISPs, tech Web sites and the media on how to shop safely.

By the way, about 85 percent thought online retailers were not doing enough to provide security either.

The survey also indicated that consumers are concerned about e-commerce transactions when shopping on auction sites, with 71 percent of the U.S.

First Coffee for November 21, 2005

November 21, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection:

Those of us who believe the Internet should remain free and unregulated by government won the first round this past week in Tunisia, when the United Nations’ clumsy power grab was foiled.

But that’s all it was – the first round.

It’s no secret that First CoffeeSM is not a huge fan of Turtle Bay, where the real estate would be put to much better use as high-rise condos to bring some market forces to bear on Manhattan real estate. Whatever one thinks the United Nations does well – we’re open to suggestions – running the Internet simply isn’t one of them.

Part of it’s organizational. The United States Congress, a much more cohesive and ideologically coherent body, can’t run anything, which is why government has agencies to do its work for it. Given that the United Nations is a much more disparate, heterodox body, the composition of its operative committees and agencies is much more important than the “United Nations” name on the office door.

First CoffeeSM wouldn’t mind the Internet being run by a committee of, say, Lesotho, Finland, Australia, Slovenia and Japan. But those are the sorts of countries which are not interested in any government running the Internet. It’s the governments interested in governmental control of the Internet which are precisely those you do not want having governmental control over the Internet.

And the countries keenly interested in United Nations – e.g., their own – control over the Internet are Saudi Arabia, the European Union, Cuba, Brazil, China and Iran. These are the countries pushing for U.N. control of the Internet, these are the ones who would be on the committee governing it.

Look at the track record.

Nobody’s denying the United Nations’ ability to effectively manage big-budget international operations.

First Coffee for November 18, 2005

November 18, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Willie Nelson’s Stardust:

Hey, sometimes all you can do is quote:

After nine delays since November last year, the Telkom-2 satellite of the biggest state telecommunications company, PT Telkom Indonesia, was finally launched from Kourou, French Guyana, on Wednesday afternoon, or at 6:46 a.m. on Thursday in Jakarta, a local media reported here Friday.

The 1,975 kg satellite was launched along with the Spaceway satellite of Direct TV boosted by the Ariane 5 ECA rocket to 188 degrees East Longitude at an altitude of 36,000 kms.

The $170 million satellite will conduct its mission for 15 years replacing Palapa B4 Satellite, the service of which had expired in May 2003, the Jakarta Post said.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself, so I didn’t.

Happy birthday, George Gallup. At the University of Iowa in the early 1920s Gallup edited the campus newspaper, the Daily Iowan. He conducted what some say is the first poll in human history, a survey to find the prettiest girl on the campus. Ophelia Smith was the winner, and Gallup married her.

First CoffeeSM’s condolences to the family of Motorola Inc. marketing executive Geoffrey Frost, a key force in revitalizing the company’s image, who died suddenly Thursday at his home in suburban Lake Bluff.

Frost, an executive vice president and Motorola’s chief marketing officer, died of natural causes, said Jennifer Weyrauch, a company spokeswoman.

First Coffee for November 17, 2005

November 17, 2005

By David Sims


The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Duke Ellington’s Blues In Orbit:

IPhone2, Inc., currently a publicly-traded company on Pink Sheets, has created proprietary video/voice Internet software called ImagePhone2. Evidently it’s good enough to where today the company’s announcing that they have retained an accounting firm to comply with SEC regulations on becoming a fully reporting company.

IPhone2 is a service provider marketing a broadcast quality (30 frames per second) video/voice (Soft-Phone) using MPEG4 technology. The company’s product, called ImagePhone2, is marketed as a next-generation of Internet Video/Voice communications product.

First Coffee for November 16, 2005

November 16, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is back on Frank with Sinatra’s Swingin’ Session, and friends, you haven’t heard “Old McDonald Had A Farm” until you’ve heard Frank’s version:

Axalto, a French producer of microprocessor cards, has launched a Genuinely Pretty Good IdeaTM: Instant Issuance, a highly secure end-to-end solution that allows banks to immediately issue personalized Europay MasterCard Visa cards directly at their branches, with a design customized on request.

With Instant Issuance, not only do bank customers get their new microprocessor card on the spot, but they can also have a personal picture inserted onto it and choose their card body and PIN code.

The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles has been able to do this with driver’s licenses for years now, why can’t you go into a bank and get your ATM card or credit card on the spot?

Today, the usual process to issue a new EMV card may take up to one week after the customer’s request. Now, Instant Issuance allows banks to provide their customers with an EMV card in a few minutes, with the same security level and quality of service that traditional personalization centers offer. Plus if you lose your card you get another one right away, great customer service.

It lets customers insert a personal picture onto their card, which is a pretty good anti-fraud idea. They can also choose the card body from a selection background visuals offered by the bank.

Instant Issuance is based on Axalto’s data preparation and personalization software suite and high-end EMV banking cards, which security protocol is compliant with the GlobalPlatform international standard.

First Coffee for November 15, 2005

November 15, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a Steve Miller Band classic run – Sailor, Brave New World and The Best of 1968-1973:

Today we’re happy to have Dan Vetras, the CEO of Talisma taking time out of his schedule to answer some question First Coffee had:

FC: Hi Dan, thanks for your time. Talisma is now working in the Customer Interaction Management space, how does that jibe with CRM systems?

DV: CIM unifies all of the “point” products critical for communicating with customers today, including e-mail, chat, Web self service, collaboration, and, soon, VoIP – through a common set of knowledge, monitoring, and reporting tools to optimize current and future interactions. CIM products also tap into relevant information across other businesses products such as CRM systems so that agents can access appropriate information for faster, more accurate inquiry resolutions.

By working in tandem with CRM and back office systems, companies benefit by enabling easy access to the critical data in those systems needed to efficiently and effectively resolve the current customer interaction at hand.

FC: What was the thinking behind Talisma basically changing direction, and focusing on Customer Interaction Management?

Businesses need help managing the overwhelming amount of customer interactions they deal with on a regular basis as a result of the new forms of Internet-based communications. Businesses today need help delivering effective customer support in the customer’s preferred channel of communication.

First Coffee for November 14, 2005

November 14, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Mary Lou Lord’s inspired song “Jingle Jangle Morning”:

Motorola has announced an agreement with Bharti Teletech Ltd. in a strategic agreement that extends Motorola’s reach across metros, cities and to the smallest towns in India. Today’s announcement gives Motorola what excited company officials are calling “unprecedented breadth of distribution through one of the widest retail networks for phones in the country.”

Bharti Teletech’s access to the burgeoning rural market jibes with Motorola’s ambitions to “connect the unconnected,” company officials say, by providing handsets like the new C113a, which Motorola considers “suited to mass-market users.”

Their broad distribution to urban cities also allows Motorola to market to the fast-growing population of Indian professionals eager for the latest high-end gadgetry.

Motorola’s agreement to extend the availability of its products for consumers in the market through Bharti Teletech’s national distribution presence is part of what is, evidently, a long-term focus for Motorola on the market possibilities in India. Right now they’re working on combining Beetel, one of the brands of Bharti Teletech in India, with Motorola’s own internationally recognized brand to produce more options to be marketed to mobile consumers.

Nokia has today announced support for Optus’ 3G services launch in Australia, which Nokia officials describe as “providing the behind-the-scenes network infrastructure and turnkey services” as well as “assisting Optus to develop 3G consumer applications.”

In November 2004, Optus jointly announced an innovative infrastructure sharing deal with another operator to have Nokia build a shared 3G network.

Weekly Telecom Roundup

November 12, 2005

By David Sims

A look at the telecom news of the past week, while listening to The Steve Miller Band’s highly underrated Sailor album from 1968:

President Bush has nominated a Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission, Tennessee lawyer Deborah T. Tate. Tate is currently serving a six-year term as director of Tennessee’s Regulatory Authority, which sets rates and service standards for private telephone, natural gas, electric and water utilities.

She was appointed to the position in February 2002 by the governor and confirmed by the Tennessee General Assembly. She has also served as a member of Governor Sundquist’s senior staff and was his designee to the Juvenile Justice Commission and the TennCare Partners Advisory Committee from 1996 to 2000.

According to the Washington Post, “telecom analysts and lawyers said they expected Tate to broadly support (FCC Chairman Kevin) Martin’s positions and the general deregulatory trend favored by the Republicans. As a former state regulator, they suggested she might be quicker to defend the prerogatives of states in battles over jurisdiction with Washington.”

In an FCC filing last year, the Post says, “Tate wrote that she wanted ‘the states and the FCC to reevaluate our overall regulatory program so that consumer welfare is the centerpiece of regulation rather than restraining the market power of increasingly hypothetical monopolists.’”

This would sound like Tate would be sympathetic to big phone companies like Verizon and SBC, and their pleas that they face “growing competition from cable, Internet phone and wireless providers despite their history as regulated monopolies.”

In great news for the telecom industry worldwide, India this past week India announced “a slew of relaxations in its telecom rules, which not only allows more players -- both local and foreign -- to enter the country’s burgeoning telecom sector, but also allows existing and newer players more flexibility, slashes call rates even further and makes internet telephony legal in the country,” according to UPI.

The annual license fee payable by operators for providing international long-distance call service and national long-distance call service has been slashed from 15 percent to 6 percent of gross revenues.

First Coffee for November 11, 2005

November 11, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, we have Dave Brubeck, some John Cage, some Weird Al Yankovic lined up in the changer, should be an interesting work environment:

First CoffeeSM’s still scratching his head over a Business Week editorial titled “What America must do to compete with ‘Chindia,’“ concerning how we should be “responding” to China and India’s economic “challenge.” Maybe for starters we can stop calling them “Chindia,” a remarkably ignorant, patronizing locution, as if there’s no difference between the two, as if China and India have the same economic strengths and weaknesses, same central policy, same business goals, same problems and issues, same government, same attitudes towards the United States, same food…

(Readers who are reading this off the blog page might want to hit http://blog.tmcnet.com/telecom-crm/ to keep reading, as the italics help.)

BW: Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Americans could reasonably dream of a world dominated by a single superpower: the US. No longer. The rapid transformation of China into an economic powerhouse, and the likelihood that India will follow in its footsteps, means the US must prepare for a far different future, one where it must learn to share economic power as never before.

FC: The article starts off on the left foot – the Soviet Union was never an economic threat to America’s “superpower” status, its demise is irrelevant and confuses the point here. While the Soviet Union was disintegrating under the internal contradictions of state-command economies (hi China) America was competing economically with Japan. It’s Japan’s economic fall that set the stage for China and India’s ascension.

BW: Such change won’t be welcome or easy.

First Coffee for November 10, 2005

November 10, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 135 in F:

Huh? Deborah Tate? Oh, glad you asked:

President Bush’s nominee to take a Republican seat on the Federal Communications Commission, Tennessee lawyer Deborah T. Tate, is currently serving a six-year term as director of Tennessee’s Regulatory Authority, which sets rates and service standards for private telephone, natural gas, electric and water utilities.

She was appointed to the position in February 2002 by the governor and confirmed by the Tennessee General Assembly. She has also served as a member of Governor Sundquist’s senior staff and was his designee to the Juvenile Justice Commission and the TennCare Partners Advisory Committee from 1996 to 2000.

According to the Washington Post, “telecom analysts and lawyers said they expected Tate to broadly support (FCC Chairman Kevin) Martin’s positions and the general deregulatory trend favored by the Republicans.

First Coffee for November 9, 2005

November 9, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is a good ol’ Tom Waits-a-Thon on the CD changer – Mule Variations, Rain Dogs, Swordfishtrombones, Used Songs 1973-1980, oh, a veritable cornucopia. Note to self: Must download Nighthawks At the Diner to replace copy on “permanent loan” to forgotten beneficiary:

After almost missing the Internet train, Bill Gates is determined not to let Microsoft miss what he calls the latest “sea change,” the migration to online services.

As the Associated Press reports, “Bill Gates wrote to top-level executives in a memo aimed at rallying his troops against the new competitive threats the company faces.” That threat would be the technology industry shift’s to Internet-based software and services.

“In an e-mail to top executives, dated Oct. 30 and obtained late Tuesday by The Associated Press, Gates urged company leaders to ‘act quickly and decisively’ to move further into the field of offering such services, in order to best formidable competitors.”

Of course this isn’t the first time Microsoft has acknowledged the importance of delivering technology online, First CoffeeSM’s reminded of Steve Ballmer’s threat that Microsoft was going to give salesforce.com “a run for its money” in the online hosted CRM space.

“This coming ‘services wave’ will be very disruptive,” the AP reports Gates writing. “We have competitors who will seize on these approaches and challenge us – still, the opportunity to lead is very clear.”

While Gates’s memo ten years ago titled “The Internet Tidal Wave,” prompted “a massive shift at Microsoft toward Internet-based technology,” the new memo includes a “memo from Ray Ozzie, one of Microsoft’s three chief technical officers, which outlined ideas for broad companywide changes that can address the growing competitive threat.”

Ozzie’s memo points out the plain fact that Microsoft “faces intense competition from companies like Google Inc.,” the AP says. Ozzie recommends Microsoft “focus on key tenets of the new model, including a shift toward offering free, advertising-supported offerings and more sophisticated, Internet-based methods of delivering products.”

Do they have a chance?

First Coffee for November 8, 2005

November 8, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Crosby, Stills & Nash:

First CoffeeSM wants you to know Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China are making a power grab to control the Internet in the guise of the United Nations.

The U.N. is holding a World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia on Nov. 16 in hopes of pulling off control of the entire World Wide Web.

Republican Senator Norm Coleman, from Minnesota, sounded the alarm in The Wall Street Journal a couple days ago:

It sounds like a Tom Clancy plot. An anonymous group of international technocrats holds secretive meetings in Geneva. Their cover story: devising a blueprint to help the developing world more fully participate in the digital revolution.

First Coffee for November 7, 2005

November 7, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Al Stewart’s Modern Times:

Agilent Technologies Inc. had themselves nice Sunday yesterday, announcing a $14.5 million order with Indian communications service providers Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Tata Teleservices Ltd.

The companies will use the Agilent OSS products to form their centralized network management system located in Mumbai – Bombay, to the cartographical nomenclaturally recalcitrant.

The CNMS will manage the service providers’ international and nationwide telecommunications services, in hopes of improving service and customer satisfaction and streamlining network operations.

The $14.5 million deal includes Agilent OSS QoS Manager and NETeXPERT-based network management software products, services and support. Coupled with partner products, CNMS will cover fault, performance, configuration, security, inventory, trouble ticketing and work flow management.

Agilent OSS in Asia-Pacific, with headquarters in Singapore, has offices in Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

Agilent’s just full of good news, as they’re also announcing, in tandem with Mentor Graphics Corp., an integrated product enabling high-volume diagnosis for logical and physical failure analysis in the semiconductor manufacturing test flow. The integration between Agilent’s 93000 Pin Scale test system and the Mentor Graphics YieldAssist diagnostics software enables fast online data collection in high-volume manufacturing.

Using this product, Agilent claims, manufacturers working at 90nm and below will now have integrated online diagnostic capabilities to shorten the time to production yield, with enhanced initial design debug, ongoing yield improvement, process control and quality assurance throughout the manufacturing process.

Don’t kick dirt on Siebel’s grave just yet (Marc, put the shovel down).

First Coffee for November 4, 2005

November 4, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bruce Springsteen’s blistering gospel-rocker “Just Around The Corner From The Light Of Day,” from his MTV: Plugged In And Turned Up To Eleven, Dammit:

So, whither SBC’s Project Lightspeed? An on-schedule, successful project or Project Pronto redux? SBC’s bold entry into useful consumer innovation or a monumental sinkhole costing 10,000 jobs and counting?

A couple weeks ago Broadband Reports had a post saying “Responding in part to investor concerns about the company’s TV plans, SBC today indicated the company would be able to generate enough free cash flow to cover the additional capital expenses necessary next year for deployment of its next-gen DSL network (e.g. Project Lightspeed) – which SBC insists is on schedule. The company says they will have reduced their workforce by 10,000 positions for the year to help cut costs.”

Posted reader comments ranged from “And how many jobs is SBC going to lay off to cover the costs of realizing that implementing hybrid fiber adsl2/vdsl(2?) is a waste of money and has to redo their system to all fiber?” to snide comments about SBC’s late, unlamented Project Pronto and such jabs as “REMEMBER SBC said this same thing in 2004 when it said it was going to have ‘lightspeed up & running by 2005,’ it was ‘in the testing stages,’ maybe those 10,000 people are the employees that tested lightspeed & said they didn’t like it,” before the thread dribbled off into anti-Wal-Mart ramblings.

Frankly First CoffeeSM wonders how SBC will be able to absorb AT&T and get Lightspeed up and running all at the same time, but of course the minds that grapple with such issues are far above those of mere mortals who simply write about them.

Lightspeed: A Primer

Project Lightspeed is SBC’s project to expand its fiber-optics network deeper into neighborhoods to deliver SBC U-verse TV, voice and high-speed Internet access services, using fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-premises technologies. It’s intended to compete with broadband access from cable companies, “wireless broadband from companies like Nextel and other fiber rollouts from firms such as Verizon.”

Using FTTN, the companies plan to bring fiber to within 3,000 feet on average of customers’ homes.

First Coffee for November 3, 2005

November 3, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Ramsay Midwood’s Shootout at the OK Chinese Restaurant, a great rootsy-bluesy album released in 2002, with the terrific song “Monster Truck,” but as far as First CoffeeSM knows it’s the only thing this guy ever did:

Well, it’s finally happening. Setec, a Gemplus company and Finland-based developer and manufacturer of visual and electronic card products, is announcing it has begun the mass delivery of the new biometric passports and national identity cards with a function for electronic services for Sweden.

(Cue minor-key theme music, up and under.)

In October 2005, Sweden began to deploy nationwide passports embedded with a micro-chip, compliant with the international requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the European Union. As such, the new Swedish passports, and the EID cards, meet the world’s most demanding security requirements.

Alongside the actual passport, Setec is also providing a comprehensive information processing system for the personalization of the biometric passports and EID cards and for the security calculation services.

Maybe First CoffeeSM’s just seen too many bad movies or read too many futuristic novels, but this seems like yet another bump down the slide to life as a Stephen King novel.

Biometric passports. What’s next, a requirement that passports actually be chips implanted in people?

First Coffee for November 2, 2005

November 2, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft. Didn’t get a whole lot of ink when it came out, probably because it was released on September 11, 2001:

Zingo, Inc., a worldwide IP communications service provider is happy with the juice it got from its marketing plan using Yahoo! and Google, Zingo now begins a major marketing plan with MSN.

ZingoTel reported an increase in sales by over 400% , which they attribute to the dollars they sunk in the marketing plan on Google and Yahoo!

First Coffee for November 1, 2005

November 1, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Fairport Convention’s great sing-along “Meet On the Ledge:”

Nortel Networks Corporation has announced that Mike Zafirovski, Motorola, Inc. and Nortel have reached a settlement regarding the lawsuit filed October 18, 2005 against incoming Nortel President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski.

“We worked in good faith to resolve this issue with Motorola and we are very pleased with the successful outcome,” said Harry Pearce, chairman, Nortel Board of Directors.

Zafirovski will begin his tenure as Nortel president and CEO, and director of the Boards of the Company and Nortel Networks Limited, on November 15, 2005, as originally planned and announced.

The crux of the problem was that when Zafirovski resigned earlier this year as Motorola’s president and chief operating officer, he was given millions of dollars in cash, stock and stock options to agree not to work for a Motorola competitor for two years after leaving the company.

So when he agreed to work for Nortel, Motorola’s lawsuit alleges, he violated various noncompete agreements, since his work with Nortel would “inevitably” result in the use or disclosure of Motorola’s trade secrets.

The lawsuit sought among other relief, an injunction to enjoin Zafirovski from rendering services to Nortel for two years, from soliciting or hiring Motorola employees, and from using or disclosing Motorola’s confidential information.

Zafirovski left Motorola at the beginning of the year after being passed over for promotion to the top job there.

Under the terms of the settlement, which is subject to confidentiality restrictions, there are no admissions by Zafirovski, Nortel or Motorola of any violations of law, breaches of any agreements, or any other improper conduct, which all parties deny.

The terms of the settlement provide that Zafirovski cannot disclose Motorola trade secrets or confidential information, and Zafirovski and Nortel have agreed for a specified period to refrain from hiring or recruiting Motorola employees under certain circumstances.

The settlement also includes restrictions, until July 1, 2006, on Zafirovski’s communications with certain specified companies, some of which are Nortel customers, and limitations on his ability to advise Nortel on competitive strategy or analysis relative to Motorola for a defined period.

Zafirovski will also repay Motorola $11.5 million, which is part of his separation payment from Motorola, and Nortel has agreed to fully reimburse Zafirovski for this repayment. When this sort of thing happens in European soccer it’s called a “transfer fee.”

Calypso Wireless, Inc., a vendor of wireless telecommunications technology is announcing a purchase order for $16.2 million from South American distributor Inversiones CCS SA, for the delivery of the Calypso C1250i Dual Mode WiFi-GSM-GPRS VoIP cellular phone, which runs on Intel PXA series application processor and Microsoft WinCE 5.0 operating system.

The cellular GSM service will be provided by Telefonica Moviles Movistar mobile networks, a Telefonica subsidiary. Mobile carriers will offer new functionalities and value added services to the mobile subscribers when using the Calypso C1250i WiFi-GSM VoIP cellular phone and interconnecting with the WLL/WiFi networks.

Cambridge, England-based TTP Communications plc has announced that its subsidiary, TTPCom Ltd has entered into a partnership with Skyworks Solutions, Inc., a provider of analogue, mixed signal and digital semiconductors for mobile communications applications.

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