30 October 2007

Google news

There have been a couple of items related to Google lately that caught my attention (I have posted on some of Google's (apparent) strategic intentions before, if you search this blog).

The first thing is this item, which purports to reveal Google's "wireless plans". According to the Wall Street Journal:
Within the next two weeks, Google is expected to announce advanced software and services that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, people familiar with the situation say. In recent months Google has approached several U.S. and foreign handset manufacturers about the idea of building phones tailored to Google software, with Taiwan's HTC Corp. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. mentioned in the industry as potential contenders. Google is also seeking partnerships with wireless operators. In the U.S., it has the most traction with Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA, while in Europe it is pursuing relationships with France Télécom's Orange SA and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.'s 3 U.K., people familiar with the matter say. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Google-powered phones are expected to wrap together several Google applications -- among them, its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail email -- that have already made their way onto some mobile devices. The most radical element of the plan, though, is Google's push to make the phones' software "open" right down to the operating system, the layer that controls applications and interacts with the hardware. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features.

Developers could, for instance, more easily create services that take advantage of users' Global Positioning System location, contact lists and Web-browsing habits. They also would be able to interact with Google Maps and other Google applications. The idea is that a range of new social networking, mapping and other services would emerge, just as they have on the open, mostly unfettered Web. Google, meanwhile, could gather user data to show targeted ads to cellphone users.


Google helped push through controversial rules for a coming spectrum auction at the Federal Communications Commission that would result in a new cellular network open to all devices and software applications, even those not favored by an operator. Google has said it will probably bid for the frequencies.

For now, the company knows it has no choice but to work with operators to make its open platform successful. D.P. Venkatesh, CEO of mPortal Inc., which makes software for wireless operators, puts it this way: "There are a few things carriers control that will always keep them in charge at the end of the day."

But broader (and deeper) thoughts come from Robert Cringley and Nicholas Carr. In his recent article, Cringley writes:

Here is what's significant about Google putting code into MySQL: they haven't done it before. Google has been a MySQL user from almost the very beginning, customizing the database in myriad ways to support Google's widely dispersed architecture with hundreds of thousands of servers. Google has felt no need previously to contribute code to MySQL. So what changed? While Google has long been able to mess with the MySQL code in ITS machines, it hasn't been able to mess with the code in YOUR machine and now it wants to do exactly that. The reason it will take so long to roll out MySQL 6.1 is that Google will only deliver its MySQL extensions for Linux, leaving MySQL AB the job of porting that code to the 15 other operating systems they support. That's what will take until early 2009.

Then what? I think the best clue comes from the agreement Google recently signed with IBM to co-promote cloud computing in universities.

Cloud computing is, of course, the ability to spread an application across one or many networked CPUs. You can think of it as renting computer power or having the ability to infinitely scale a local application without buying new hardware. Cloud computing can be anything from putting your entire business on other people's computers to running a huge Photoshop job from the lobby computer at Embassy Suites before jumping on the shuttle bus to Disney World with your kids. For all its promise, though, cloud computing has been pretty much a commercial failure so far.


But Google wants us to embrace not just cloud computing but Google's version of cloud computing, the hooks for which will be in every modern operating system by mid-2009, spread not by Google but by a trusted open source vendor, MySQL AB.

Mid-2009 will also see the culmination of Google's huge server build-out. The company is building data centers large and small around the world and populating them with what will ultimately be millions of generic servers. THAT's when things will get really interesting. Imagine a much more user-friendly version of Amazon's EC2 and S3 services, only spread across 10 or more times as many machines. And as with all its services, Google will offer free versions at the bottom for consumers and paid, but still cost-effective versions nearer the top for businesses and education.

If you are completely OK with this and are looking forward to this environment -- and there is much to look forward to -- you might read and consider Nicholas Carr's allegory (that is in the spirit of Halloween), which is difficult to summarize here.

Sprint Nextel Settles Lawsuit on mobile phone locking

This story was reported late in the week last week. Basically, Sprint agrees to provide unlock codes for subscribers switching to other service providers. As reported by Forbes, this still has to be reviewed by the Superior Court. The fact that it is a settlement suggests that it will not be appealed (but you never know).

Do you think other carriers will follow suit? Since the settlement only applies to Sprint, they don't need to, but do you think they will feel obliged to do so for competitive reasons?

US Wireless by the numbers

This report from CTIA contains historical data on US mobile operations. A couple of facts from the report
  • There were 243.4 million mobile subscribers in June 07, up from 219.6 million the previous June.
  • The average bill was $49/month, an amount that has been virtually unchanged since June 2003.
  • These consumers used over 1 trillion minutes in the first half of 2007, a record. Minutes of use has grown 18% year over year.
  • There were 210,360 cell sites in service in June 07, up from 197,576 the year before.
Have fun poring over the data in this report!

Wireless Use in India

This article presents some interesting facts and perspectives about wireless use in India. Some exerpts:
  • The number of Indian consumers accessing the Internet from their phones doubled in the last year to 38 million (from 16 million).
  • The number of Internet connections that occurred via PC declined to 9.22 million in the second quarter (from 9.27 millian in the first quarter)
I think this underscores the utility of mobile technologies in a wide variety of economic circumstances, and underscores why companies like Nokia and Motorola have been targetting this market

4G Standards

I found this article in BusinessWeek interesting. The article describes the upcoming technology battle between Qualcom's UMB, GSM-based LTE, and next generation WiMAX for dominance in the 4G environment. One of the interesting things to me is that apparently Verizon Wireless, a CDMA-based carrier, is considering changing its technology to LTE. To me, this makes sense given that it is partly owned by Vodafone, and that its target market is more upscale and is therefore more likely to travel internationally. I am surprised that it has taken this long, and that they haven't followed Korean carriers in moving to HSDPA for the high end. Sprint, of course, has already declared WiMAX as their next generation standard. This seems to leave Qualcomm with few major backers. Still, this battle is far from over, it seems ...

Update (2007-11-8): I came across this item that is relevant to this topic. Does this change your sense of where this is going?

25 October 2007

WiMAX news

WiMax got a few boosts over the past week:

  • This article reports that WiMAX has been approved as an ITU standard. This endorsement means that it will be easier for companies to get spectrum for this technology. Since the ITU is a treaty organization, this approval can, in some countries, serve as an enabler for its adoption.
  • This article reports that Taiwan has made commitments to invest in WiMAX networks
  • Sprint has announced plans to continue its WiMAX rollout, despite the change in their executive suite.

Tiered Internet pricing in Germany?

You might find this article of interest (I tried to find the source materials, but was unable to ... the URLs in the article point to a discussion of their VDSL network, not their pricing plans).

This is one of the items that gets to the heart of the "network neutrality" discussion ... should ISPs be able to offer tiered pricing? There is already a tradeoff between price and quality ... if you want more bandwidth, you pay more. If you want better quality, you can build an MPLS network (assuming you know the endpoints).

If you extend the analogy to non-telecom services, you can purchase mail with different delivery times at different rates ... so why should you be able to do this for internet services as well?

Next Gen DVD format wars again

I keep coming back to this topic ... there were a couple of announcements recently that provided contradictory signals.

  1. According to this, Blu-Ray disks outsold HD-DVD disks in the first nine months of the year in the US. This suggests momentum for Blu-Ray
  2. According to this item, Samsung has abandoned its next generation Blu-Ray DVD player for one that plays both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. This suggests that Samsung, a major backer of Blu-Ray, is not confident that Blu-Ray will win.

Do you think either of these facts are indicative of future outcomes? If so, which do you think is more meaningful?

19 October 2007

Comcast and BitTorrent

Articles like this one are showing up on the net ... I chose to refer to this one from Ars Technica because it is the most technical that I have seen thus far. Quoting the article:

Comcast has been "caught" blocking BitTorrent traffic in some areas, according to tests performed by the Associated Press. The news organization claims to have confirmed that Comcast is blocking—or at least seriously slowing down—BitTorrent transfers, regardless of whether the content is legal or not. If true, Comcast's actions have serious implications for sharing information online, and by proxy, Net Neutrality.

The AP was tipped off to the possible P2P blockage by a reader who had noticed serious slowdowns on his Comcast connection. The organization then proceeded to perform a number of tests—three, to be exact—on two computers in cities on both the east and west coasts. AP chose to download a copy of the King James Bible through BitTorrent (because it is an uncopyrighted work) and went to work. In two out of its three tests, the downloads were blocked altogether, while in the remaining test, the download started after a 10-minute delay.

Assuming this report is correct, do you believe that Comcast has the right to "manage" traffic on their network in this way? Could you imagine AT&T or Verizon offering a "BitTorrent-friendly" package to compete with Comcast?

17 October 2007

Wither CableCARDs?

This article over at Ars Technica provides a nice, brief historical review of the CableCARD program. The goal of this program is quite clearly to promote competition in set-top boxes ... does it surprise you that it hasn't happened yet?

16 October 2007

Broadband access in the EU

This item, published yesterday, reports on broadband access in the EU. This is a data rich report that is worth studying in some detail. A quick scan reveals a couple of interesting points:
  • The largest number of new broadband lines per 100 population and the number of new broadband lines per 100 are both Denmark ... this suggests that as the penetration gets large enough, the demand for more lines increases. At what point does this begin? Can you imagine an end to this trend?
  • Figure 8 illustrates a market with robust competition ... but digging in a little further illustrates that it isn't usually infrastructure-based competition. Figure 17 shows that only 0.6% of new entrants own their own facilities ... the rest rely on the incumbent's facilities in one way or another.
  • Europe is heavily DSL ... over 80% of access lines use that technology, though this distribution varies significantly by country (p. 29).
There is surely more to learn from this report ...

15 October 2007

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal]

Unfortunately, there is no candidate for my proposed subject of wireline and wireless convergence until now, so I’d like to say more about the topic and suggest an additional topic.

Firstly, as I suggested before, it is about convergence between wireline and wireless services. Before the systematic convergence, the integrations of wireline and wireless services are tried in various forms such as DPS(Double Play Services), TPS(Tribple Play Services), QPS(Quadruple play services).
we can talk more to select issues as follows
- regulations and policies related to Fixed Mobile Convergence
- the market direction of wire-line and wireless integrated services (service bundling)
- the evolution of service integration & service convergence
- the factors to decide service feature of integration and convergence
- convergence service platform technologies
- ip-based backbone network

If there is no person who is interested in the first topic, my second topic is about internet telephony - VoIP. We will survey current services - voip over internet or wireless, and regulations and policies with comparison between USA and Korea.

I’m look forward to your joining. :)

Name: SangChoon, Lee
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: Network Evolution and Convergence
Education : Ph.D candidate in TEMEP program at Seoul National University. MS and BS in Infomation and Telecommunication Engineering at ChonBuk National University, Korea.

12 October 2007

Vivian Reding on Telecoms regulation

You might find this speech by EU Commsioner for Information Society and Media interesting. Here are some points from her speech:

I have come to the conclusion that the instrument of functional separation should be added to the remedies tool box of national telecom regulators ...

... a symbol for the single market for telecoms is the creation of the new European Telecom Market Authority which will be an integral part of the reform package.

As you would expect, there are many caveats to those points in the speech. It clearly is a preview to the new regulatory frameork that will be forthcoming in the next month.

11 October 2007

Suit accuses Apple and AT&T of monopoly

Speaking of walled gardens ... you might find this story interesting. They NY Times says a little more about it in this article. This seems to get at the heart of the "wireless Carterfone" discussion that I have been blogging about. This seems to be an attempt to get from the courts what you (they) could not get from regulatory agencies. On the other hand, it is exactly what you could (and should) expect using ex post regulation.

Sprint and WiMAX

The Washington Post reported that Sprint's President Forsee resigned because the payoff on his bet on WiMAX is too slow in forming (at least in part). This article over at CNET has a deeper analysis of Sprint, investors, and WiMAX.

Did Sprint get cut on the bleeding edge?

10 October 2007

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal] Wireless Broadband Policy

The future of the Internet is broadband, and the future of broadband will involve a large component of wireless services. With the growth of the Internet and the emergence of broadband, the world of wireless services is being transformed with important implications for the entire communications services value chain. Mobile service providers are deploying broadband wireless data services via so-called Third Generation “3G” networks. At the same time, the proliferation of wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies like IEEE 802.11b (better known as Wi-Fi) are supporting wireless data services in homes and businesses, and are providing new types of “hot spot” public infrastructure.

In this project, I’d like to search for some of the key architectural and design choices for wireless networking systems and their implications for cost and system performance (we could do U.S. and South Korea comparisons). In addition, we could provide examples of how the new wireless technologies are being deployed by municipalities in a variety of contexts, with reference to wireless technologies currently available from vendors. Finally, we could discuss about the policy implications of these trends and possibly provide possible policy suggestions (we could also do the U.S. and South Korea case comparison).

This is just my proposal for our project so, we need to further discuss about it. If anyone interested in this area, feel free to contact me and let’s discuss about our project. I look forward to meeting you!!

About Me
Name: Eung-Do Kim (Ryan)
B.A. in Information Technology, York University, Canada
Master Candidate in Technology Management, Economics, and Policy program, Seoul National University, Korea
Nationality: Korean

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal]

Research Topic:
Future Contents on Mobile Telecommunication Technology
- case studies of Korea and US

Telecommunication technology evolutions move on faster, starting from 1G, 2G, and currently 3G or 3.5G (simply we just call it 3G). Right now, people already prepare for the 4G, which will guide us to the Next Generation Networks. For example, digital home remote control (from home automation), artificial intelligent system, Haptic technology, etc. Those things will change the way of our future.

Importance of this research:
This study will give vision to the Next Generation Contents, so that telco’s companies and contents or services providers can prepare it along with technology on data communication movement. Also this study will be useful for government officer, to prepare and anticipate what kind of policies to avoid confusion in the telco’s industries in the future.

Methodology: Literature Study of comparison between Korea and US.

Name: Yongsung Jung
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: Future convergence
ㅇ Bachelor in International relations at Naval Academy
ㅇ Master candidate in Technology management, economics and policy
program at Seoul National University

SNU-PIT, Collaboration Research Proposal

1. Research Topic ; Regulation Policy of Limited Internet Users' ID Verification
2. Brief Introduction on this topic
Recently, the Korean government implemented Limited Internet Users' ID Verification, which was designed to regulate very obscene or impolite Negatizens' activities such as preplanned or improvised attact to certain users by spreading or adding unconfimed rumors on the web. Therefore, if he who wants to add his comments or opinions on the web his registered virtual ID and his real ID(legal name and registration number) should match. Several months have passed since implementation. As to this issue, some people insist that the proportion of negative activities has decreased . On the other hand, it is also true that it tends to curb the freedom of speech on the web. From my side, I can provide some of public attitude and statistical change of internet users surrounding this policy. From your side, of course, you can find out the similar or the relevant pre-existing policy and its impact. And, finally, we can recommend some implication on this issue.
3. Student's Profile
(1) Name : Seongbong LEE
(2) Educational background
- BA, Business Administration, SNU
- MA, Science Policy, Sussex University, U.K.
- Currently, PhD Candidate, SNU

09 October 2007

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal] Wireline and Wireless Convergence

Research Topic
With the IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) network architecture, a new approach to enabling convergence is emerging that lets wireless and wireline carriers use a common IP foundation to deliver multimedia and traditional services. So, I'd like to analyze market developments and policies of wire & wireless integration. It can be included to make comparitive studies of technologies and services (Service Bundling or Service Integration, etc) between Korea and USA.

Name: SangChoon, Lee
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: Network Evolution and Convergence
Education : Ph.D candidate in TEMEP program at Seoul National University. MS and BS in Infomation and Telecommunication Engineering at ChonBuk National University, Korea.

Regulation and technology adoption

One of the recent discussions in the US telecom policy circles has been the idea of a "wireless Carterfone". Such a policy would basically uncouple handsets from wireless service providers. That is, buyers would be free to choose handsets and wireless service providers independently (much like today's unlocked GSM phones). Carriers tend to bundle handsets and services for several reasons, including:
  • Lowering the barrier to entry (or use) by providing subsidized handsets
  • Ensuring reliable services by testing feature sets on supported phones
  • Strategic and economic purposes

This article suggests that the introduction of the iPhone in France may not happen because of regulations like this. Do you think that this is an example of regulation inhibiting innovation?

Update (2007-10-17): This article in Gizmodo is reporting that the iPhone will be on sale in France after all. Does this alter your opinion about this question? What does this say about bargaining among these titans?

Good News for Computer Science Grads

This article, from Chronicle.com is a positive indicator for IS & T. Hopefully this will translate into improved enrollments. Quoting the article:
Starting salaries for college graduates with computer science degrees are up, hitting their highest levels in seven years, according to a recent survey. But midcareer workers at big employers may face layoffs and “restructuring.” These two trends are somewhat connected, unfortunately.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported last month that the average salary offer to a computer science graduate was $53,051 in 2007, up 4.5 percent from last year. Students graduating with management information systems degrees received average starting salaries of $49,966, up 5.9 percent from last year.

Employers face a shrinking labor pool, since the number of computer science graduates has dropped significantly since the turn of this century. Laws of supply and demand apply, so companies compete harder and pay more for a smaller supply of qualified graduates.

AT&T's spectrum purchase

Showing that a secondary market does, in fact, exist in spectrum (even if it is "lumpy" and very thinly traded), AT&T purchased spectrum at 700MHz. So, it is interesting to speculate about AT&T might use this spectrum.

GSM-based systems are currently not designed for 700MHz ... so do you think this is for WiMAX? Is AT&T's recent spectrum purchase like an option on a future WiMAX network?

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal] Telecommunication-Broadcasting Convergence Policies Comparison

Research Topic
Telecommunication-broadcasting convergence policies among some countries

It is about to begin Telecom-Broadcasting convergence. In order to go with this flow of times, policies and governmental offices with a new paradigm are needed. Hence I would like to compare the main issue of policies in telecommunication-broadcasting convergence, and how the governmental offices are organized. Furthermore, we can find out which case can be the role model of Korea, and what kind of problems should be improved.

Name: Ji-hoon Hong
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: telecommunication policy
Master candidate in Technology management, economics and policy program at Seoul National University
Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering at KAIST

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal] Spectrum management

Research Topic : The global trends of spectrum management
I selected spectrum management for the topic of term project. There are a lot of ways to distribute spectrum to users(by government regulation, spectrum auction, secondary market, and so on). So I am planning to make the case studies of spectrum management in some countries(i.e. Korea, America, UK, Japan ...) and compare each other.
The purpose of this project is to seek a effective way maximizing utilization of limited spectrum resources by analyzing diverse cases of spectrum management.
If you are interested in this topic, please leave a comment below.

Name: YungHwan Soh
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: Spectrum management, telecommunication industry policy
Bachelor in Electrical engineering at Korea University
Master candidate in Technology management, economics and policy program at Seoul National University

[SNU_PITT Collaboration Proposal] FTTH Policies Comparison

Research topic: comparison of FTTH policy between Korea and US
Objective: Through this project we can observe the FTTH policies and situations of two leading countries in the telecommunication industry. Furthermore, additional comparison of general broadband policy can be done.

Name: Hongbum Kim
Nationality: Korea
Research interests: technology innovation, telecommunication industry policy
Bachelor in computer science at Sogang University
Worked as a mobile application developer
Master candidate in Technology management, economics and policy program at Seoul National University

07 October 2007

[SNU Collobaration Proposal] Spectrum Policies Comparison

I would like to propose a semester project about spectrum policies in different countries. I am looking for Korean and American students, so we can compare policies of three countries. Together we can learn and discuss how spectrum is distributed and used in our countries, what kind of legislation is used and how governmental institutions execute it. I am open for discussion and redirecting of this project goals.
About me
Name: Stanislav A. Belogolov
Education: Seoul National University, Electrical Engineering (will be graduated in Aug.)
Moscow State University, Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics (B.C.)
Nationality: Russian
Character: Tend to criticize and argue ;)

04 October 2007

Regulatory arbitrage and freeconferencecall.com

This article in the Wall Street journal is a story of two firms that took advantage of a "feature" in US telecom regulation for profit. Quoting the article:
RICEVILLE, Iowa -- Two-and-a-half years ago Ron Laudner was the anxious owner of a rural phone company serving this tiny town, where Main Street was emptying out as restaurants and other businesses disconnected their phones and moved to busier commercial districts.

More than 1,800 miles away, David Erickson was running a Web-based conference-calling business in Long Beach, Calif., shopping around for phone companies to be his partners.

In mid-summer 2005 this unlikely duo struck a deal. They routed millions of minutes of Mr. Erickson's conference calls through the switches of Mr. Laudner's Farmers Telephone of Riceville. To do it, they used outdated federal regulations to charge telecom companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. steep rates and collected huge profits at their expense. Together, the two made hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soon, Mr. Laudner cut other deals to generate even more traffic. At the peak, his little telephone company was facilitating conversations among everybody from Mary Kay Cosmetics employees to customers of Male Box, an "all male all gay" chat line.

"I'm not going to argue I didn't think it was amazing," Mr. Laudner says.

But the big phone companies had another term for it. "Verizon is not going to stand by while irresponsible companies use this traffic-pumping scheme to overcharge our company," says Tom Tauke, vice president of public affairs, policy and communications for Verizon.

The deal between Messrs. Laudner and Erickson illustrates how tumult in the telecom industry has given rise to opportunities -- and headaches -- as entrepreneurs exploit outdated regulation. Their arrangement, and deals like it, spawned lawsuits, blocked phone calls and triggered an investigation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission into the high fees some rural carriers charged to the Bells. Late Tuesday, the FCC proposed rules that, if approved, are likely to prevent such deals in the future.

The article goes on ... do you think that these kinds of arbitrage are appropriate? Or, is this another instantiation of "flat world" services that are being paid for by novel means?

ISP blocking of email traffic

The tiff about Verizon Wireless and text messages that I blogged about earlier that raised question of net neut in the eyes of some observers. In similar fashion, political advocacy groups occasionally complain about being blocked by their ISPs. As this item points out, there may be technical reasons that are non-political.

I conclude that there may be less to these stories than is being alleged ...

Operational Separation of Telecom in New Zealand

You might find this item of interest. This kind of separation has been proposed as a possible solution to the "net neut" concerns, and BT in the UK is proposing to do this voluntarily. Forbes has reported on this as well (see this). New Zealand will (once again) be a laboratory for advanced ideas in telecom policy.

Vodafone Eyes First Mideast Deal

This article is about Vodafone's trial for penetration into Qatar wireless market. Vodafone, a british giant in telecommunication, is one of the most aggresive company that has advanced foreign wireless markets. Starting from U.S, Australlia, Republic of South Africa, and recently India, they are keeping their business area expanding. Because of the difficulty to construct the infrastructure overseas, Vodafone mainly use two ways of entering foreign market. One is a joint venture with domestic provider such as Verizon Wireless and Vodacom, and the other is a takeover of domestic provider such as Hutch India. However, it is extremely impossible to run a joint venture without making any noise, (even in entering Qatar, Verizon and Vodafone are competing) also getting much harder and harder to complete a takeover deal due to FCC's consolidated restrictions (look at this). In that, Qatari market is really attractive for Vodafone. In Qatar, Vodafone doesn't need to make tricky relationships, and can get the dominace in domestic market and the bridgehead toward Mideast.

Who is going to win this battle and procure the priority? Can Vodafone enlarge their business opportunities so far as Mid-east? What is going to happen in Mideast wireless market?

Motorola's new leap?

Through this interview with chief technology officer, Padamsree Warrior, we can see Motorola’s recent strategy. Motorola, which has been beaten by Samsung in Q2 2007 for the number two spot in mobile phone market share after four years of stable ranking (see this), seems to concentrate on WiMAX business.

As CTO said, is it efficient to proceed to the WiMAX technology in some countries that are at a 2G level now? If WiMAX is not adapted as a standard for the 4G, what will be Motorola’s future?

AOL's Mobile Ambitions

AOL, one of the most powerful internet service providers, is planning to make its software available on cell phones worldwide. (see this) And also, it is working on a software module-a unified application that would integrate AOL's multitude offering into one master portal.
U.S. traffic to AOL's mobile Web site is higher than that to Google Mobie's and double that of MSN Mobile's. Moreover, it is equipped with various IT service contents such as AOL Mail, AOL Instant Messenger, Moviefone theater listings, MapQuest navigation software, City Guide local search, and so on. So, its current movements may impact on mobile industry greatly.

It's interesting issue that AOL is strengthening its mobile internet business. How will the situation of mobile industry change due to the AOL's new strategy? Is AOL's choice good or bad? We need to discuss it.

03 October 2007

Telco, Convergence or not ?

Althougt there are some companies say like this, the competition is heating up and operators are faced up to fight more severely in the telecom markets. As blogged before(this), google's plan is alse related to this competition.
Operator's new strategies to survive have been tried in various ways(see this) in these days. And, it is said that convergence and multiple bundle services are required to the operators.
On the other hand, this tells us that some telecos maybe choose to offer separate services rather than bundling them to remain cost-effective. Convergence, go fast or not ? which is better ?

Matters in DVD war and the China

It will take more time to see who will come out the winner. From the data so far, Blu-ray seems to be winning for outsold titles and their supporters. If someone asked me about the winner of DVD wars in this moment, I would say Blu-ray which has more spec, security and supporters matters.

See this chart I made for "matters in DVD battles" blow.

However, the most important thing to watch out is the China’s movement. China is probably going to develop better DVD format with lower price and more spec. Even though they don't have any supporters right now, I believe many things will be changed with China's new format. Let us take a careful look for another DVD war.

Those technologies are young and immature, and have room to improve so we have got to watch and wait for their competition with market dynamics. For the argument of Blu-ray and HD-DVD debate, see this blog. I'll keep spy on the China's wind.

02 October 2007

Nokia and NavTeq

Nokia's purchase of Navteq has been widely reported (see this, for example). I think you might be interested in this analysis from TechCrunch ... as you think about the value chain in information services provision, you might consider what other strategic investments may be in the offing.

Returns from Verizon's FiOS investment

The telecommunications industry is one that is characterized by large up front investments with uncertain future revenue streams. Verizon's FiOS project, is a classic example of such investment. I have blogged about this before (see this and this).  As this article points out, the early returns are encouraging for Verizon.

This article also points out the relationship between long term strategic investment, investor relations and competition.  Prior to this investment, Verizon had twisted pair loops that prevented them from offering "triple play" services. 

But this has not been without controversy, especially given the current regulatory climate in the US.  The short story is that Verizon is not required to offer these services on an unbundled basis.  Observers have reported that Verizon is killing the copper loops replaced by FiOS, preventing people from reverting to copper later, and also eliminating their requirement to offer unbundled loop elements to broadband competitors (see this, for example).  So Verizon is forestalling competition with both their own (older) technology and with potential competitors who might use this infrastructure. 

Do you think that this behavior should be regulated?  Some have argued that the public "owns" the infrastructure because they have paid for it through regulated rates for many years.  Do you agree with this?  If so, is Verizon right to remove the older infrastructure?

Adblock and Alternative Business Model

There have been a number of posts recently like this one relevant to the subject of micropayments and Adblock. Many of the websites depending on advertising to keep it alive are suffred from the use of Adblocks, extention for Firefox. This article presented some Alternative Online Business Models. Even though all of these models are nice complements to advertising but there are no standalone business models for anyone trying to generate serious revenue online.

Couple months ago, Joe, co-founder of Rouxbe, came up with a very interesting variation on the alternative sponsorship model. Getting advertisements you like to see!!! Take a look at this brilliant model and let's discuss about it.

01 October 2007

iPhone Owners Denied Warranty Service

Some mad iPhone users are 'seeking respondents for possible class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. relating to refusal to service iPhones and related accessories under warranty.' Alexander Wolfen in his post analyzes reaction of users on Apple's claims to void any warranty services for unlocked or with third-party software or used as data-storage by some other software.
Apple once again repeats the same mistake (as it was with iPod). It was obvious from the very beginning, that a product with such an aggressive marketing and tremendous popularity will be eventually reverse engineered and unlocked. And now when it finally happened Apple is threating iPhone owners. We also remember that all these people are (or may be better to say 'were') Apple's clients and so threating is not good for business. Especially if scandal grows into suite case.
Initially, position of Apple about custom third-party software was not clear (pro, con). Now it is clear to everyone.