Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cool New Products

Santa Cruz Networks launches Festoon Unity, which makes Skype and Google Talk interoperable. AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger will be added early 2006.

Blinkx (video search) launches To Go (with podcast and RSS capabilities).

Video Without Boundaries launches the Flyboy HD portable player with 960x234 pixel LCD screen, MPEG-4 and 20 GB harddisk for video, tv, movies, podcasts, MP3, photos, voice recording. Price: $400. Demo at CES Las Vegas (Jan 5-8).

Weekend Reading

VoIP and Net Neutrality:
TMCnet's Eric Dean argues that "SIP emerges as a ubiquitous answer addressing all concerns" in a short overview of VoIP standards.
CNet offers yet another overview of the history and upcoming events around Net Neutrality.

CommsDesign has two unconvincing articles on WiFi:
The pros and cons of muniwifi according to Peter Rysavy. He handily translates WiFi's shorter range, compared to cellular, into an advantage: "the same spectrum can be re-used over and over".
Ed Sutherland seems to conclude that WiFi will be complementary to WiMAX: WiFi for munis, hotspots, in-home; WiMAX for rural and suburban.

Newsfactor runs a review of UWB v. IrDA and Bluetooth. (I suppose he doesn't discuss ZigBee and NFC because these 'standards' are for low-bandwidth and very short range communications, respectively.)

William Slawski of the SEO by the Sea blog sums up Google's acquisitions.

Folio Magazine reviews 2005 and predicts 2006.

T.I.M. Diary for January

* BT Openreach formally starts operations (Jan 1)
* Verizon plans closing MCI acquisition (early Jan)
* Telindus finalizes decision (Jan 3) over offers from Belgacom (offer ends Jan 6) and France Telecom (deadline for raising offer Jan 4)
* Telefonica plans closing O2 acquisition (late Jan), on which EC decides (Jan 10)
* Macleod USA plans Chapter 11 exit
* Trials ‘Sprint v. Ubiquitel’ and ‘Sprint v. iPCS’ start
* KPN mass-launches its double play ‘InternetPlusBellen’
* The City of Helmond (Netherlands) decides on munifiber
* City of Palo Alto decides on RfP for munifiber
* Casema (Dutch cable company) starts 30 Mbps trial
* Santa Cruz Networks adds AIM/Yahoo!/MSN to ‘Festoon Unity’ (IM interoperability)
* Offers to be made for 3G license Lithuania and WLL license Iraq (both Jan 12), auction Iraq (Jan 30)
* IEEE meets over 802.11n and 802.15.3a (UWB) in Hawaii
* NatCom launches WiMAX trial in Auckland
* ARCEP (France) on WiMAX (Jan 6)
* ARCEP (France) publishes public consultation on cellular international roaming
* US Congress discusses DeMint’s DACA bill
* O’Reilly hosts ‘Emerging Telephony’ (Jan 24-26)
* CES Las Vegas (Jan 5-8)
* MacWorld Expo (Jan 9-13)
* Citigroup Entertainment/Media/Telecom Conference (Jan 9)
* Earnings releases: Cingular (Jan 24), BellSouth (Jan 25), Verizon (Jan 26), AT&T (Jan 26)

* The Yahoo!/Seven joint venture launches new name, possibly at the Australian Open (starts Jan 12)
* Earnings releases: Yahoo! (Jan 17), eBay (Jan 18)

* Viacom splits (Jan 1), official trading starts (Jan 3)
* Lazard completes its review of Time Warner for Carl Icahn (mid Jan)
* CNN and Time Inc. relaunch their business web sites
* Howard Stern starts at Sirius Satellite Radio (Jan 1)
* VNU, Arbitron: second meeting on ‘Project Apollo’ (Jan 11)
* Wegener: trading update (Jan 2)
* Producers Guild of America: nominees (Jan 4), awards (Jan 22)
* Directors Guild of America: nominees (Jan 5), awards (Jan 28)
* Screen Actors Guild of America: awards (Jan 5)
* Hollywood Foreign Press Association: ‘Golden Globe’ awards (Jan 16)
* Sundance Film Festival (Jan 19-29)
* International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan 25 – Feb 5)
* Movie release: ‘Bubble’ (Magnolia/2929 Entertainment) (Jan 27)
* OMMA: ‘Agency of the Year’ award (Jan 12)
* Earnings releases: NY Times (Jan 24), Arbitron (Jan 24), Vivendi Universal (Jan 30)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* DSL: AOL Germany launches (’16 Mbps’) in 5 cities (20 at end 2005), 40 EUR/mo
* DOCSIS: Coaxsys/STM plan 200 Mbps home-networking demo at CES Las Vegas (Jan 5-8)

* 3G: Egypt plans third license early 2006; Nawras (Oman) plans launch 06Q1
* MTA: Orange cuts tariff up to 28% as of Jan 2
* TV:
- DoCoMo buys 10% of Fuji Television, $176m, launch Apr 1, 2006
- KDDI and Qualcomm plan Media Flow Japan network (on MediaFLO technology) in 80/20 joint venture, buy spectrum 2006, launch 2007
- 4 interested in Finnish DVB-H license (TeliaSonera, Elisa, Telemast Nordic, Digita), deadline and beauty contest Jan 31, 2006
- Mediaset buys Europa TV’s (= Holland Italia= TF1 29%, Tarak Ben Ammar 71%) DVB-H license, plans launch 06H2 with TIM and 3 Italy
* LBS:
- Skyhook (WiFi positioning, with GPS and IP locations) gets $6.5m funding from Bain Capital, Intel, Nokia and CommonAngels (total $8.3m)
- Navizon (software-based; GPS, with automatically generated WiFi and cell tower information; for non-GPS users) launches
- Galileo (EUR 3.4 bn, 30 satellites of which 3 spares, operational 2010): demonstrator (‘Giove-A’) launched for testing

* WiFi: Vivato (antenna supplier to muninetworks) closes; Ruckus demos TV-o-WiFi (802.11g; DTV, IPTV, HDTV) at CES Las Vegas (January 2006); Renfe launches on trains in Spain (backbone: Hispasat); Deutsche Telekom trials with Deutsche Bahn on ICE train mid 2006 (backbone: UMTS)
* ZigBee: Texas Instruments buys Chipcon (chips; rev 2004 $29.4m), $200m

* WiMAX: First product certification of 802.16-2004 expected mid-Jan 2006 (air protocol interoperability); Alcatel expected to launch 802.16-2005 products 06H2 in beta, commercial late 2006; Airnet launches in New-Zealand; Barak plans launch in Israel with Alvarion, Golden Lines too; Alvarion gest order from Latam, $7m
* FCC wants part of analogue TV spectrum for nationwide public-safety network

* VoIP:
- CompuServe launches in the Netherlands (double play: 2 Mbps for 15 EUR/mo, 5 Mbps voor 30 EUR/mo; 8 Mbps voor 35 EUR/mo; basic plan 5 EUR/mo, PC-to-PSTN national free, excludes line-rental; total plan 15 EUR/mo + EUR 30 one-time fee with LNP includes line rental); Jordan Telecom launches (double play)
- Santa Cruz Networks releases ‘Festoon Unity’ for Skype/Google Talk interoperability, will add AIM/Yahoo! Messenger/MSN Messenger in Jan 2006
- Microsoft and Softbank cooperate for business VoIP
- launches comparison service
- Google sued by Rates Technology over Google Talk
- Brightpoint builds web store for Skype
* wVoIP: Calypso (handsets) acquires Sleipner (software for handover)
* IPTV: trial Shanghai Telecom with Siemens succesful, roll-out 2006; BayanTel plans launch in Filippines
* NGN: BT signs contracts with 4 preferred suppliers (Ciena, Huawei, Lucent, Siemens); Telekom Indonesia elects Telecom Italia Sparkle (06H1)

* FTTH: City of Amsterdam Council unanimously approves Phase 1 (40k homes); Louisiana supports Layayette in suit against BellSouth
* WiFi: Vivato (antenna supplier) closes; San Francisco issues RfP; New Orleans plans free service; launch in Abuja (Nigeria)

Wednesday Internet Digest

* November: Yahoo! 104m, MSN 91m, Google 85m, AOL 74m (NetRatings)
* Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2-year ‘Nomenclature Project’ is halfway

* Market shares US November: Google 42% (12 minutes), Google Image 5%, Yahoo! 17% (11 min), MSN 14% (7 min), Ask 2%; volume based: Google 62%, Yahoo! 26%, MSN 5% (HitWise)
* Engines: Wink launches (beta; searches the ‘tagosphere’ at slashdot, digg, myweb 2.0 and
* Video: blinkx launches To Go (search with upload and feed features)
* Desktop: (metasearch, sponsored) buys Copernic (desktop search; 2004: rev $5.9m, EBITDA $1.8m), $15.9m + 2.38m shares (total value $21.1m)
* Pay-per-call: ADS-click uses Google Talk for PPC-solution (‘SKY-click’), using Google’s Libjingle API

* Global market: expected CAGR 2006-10 25%, up from low 20s; from $13.2 bn in 2005 (4.7% of total ads market) to $35.9 bn (11.1%) in 2010 (JPMorgan)

* Web 2.0: Wink launches (searches tagged pages); Reuters opens video content to bloggers

* Writely (= Upstartle) supports OpenDocument Format (ODF; interoperability with MS Word, Sun OpenOffice)


* Holiday sales US: $17.48 bn, +24% (Nov 1-Dec 21) (comScore); $25 bn in week as of Dec 16 (NetRatings survey)

Wednesday Media Digest

* Download: Lovefilm (online rental, 120k subs) intros download service in UK (3 GBP/movie; 500 movies from Warner); Spitzer subpoenas Warner Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music for price fixing
* P2P: France parliament legalises (if private and non-commercial), uploading is illegal
* Place-shifting:
- Slingbox production cost $84 (iSuppli)
- Akimbo pre-announces 06Q1 deal with ‘major US telco’
- Orb launches V4S (voice messaging)
- Video Without Boundaries launches portable ‘Flyboy HD’ (LCD, 20GB harddisk, MPEG-4; plays uploads through USB of video, tv, podcasts, MP3, photos)

* CableCard: Thomson licenses CableLabs technology for 2-way card

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Meet the guys and dolls behind the Slingbox

These are the people who actually developed the Slingbox + software for Sling Media.

Akimbo is gearing up

Akimbo Systems is gearing up for the next stage and is moving towards Orb Networks. Smart moves:

It will demo at the 2006 CES in Las Vegas with a DSB operator. Also, it expects to announce a 'major US telco' partnership in 06Q1. Better still, it is moving away from the hotly contested STB space as a hardware provider, and instead work with a 'large consumer electronics company' to produce Akimbo-enabled devices.

Earlier announcements mainly dealt with content providers, blinkx (for inclusion of Akimbo-content in blinkx' index) and 'Queue-and-view', the software product ready for inclusion in STBs.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Weekend Reading

The Hollywood Reporter has two articles on Viacom: the New Viacom and the News CBS. Look out for a social networking buy by Viacom (which has little debt). CBS is exploring growth from on-demand on several platforms, while trying to maintain its CBS network and sell-off Simon & Schuster and the theme parks. Strikingly, cable networks are at Viacom, but CBS bought one recently (CSTV).

Net neutrality:
Another short overview on BusinessWeek Online and Dean 'let me use my pipes the way I want' Bubley's opinion.

Phillip Swann's predictions for 2006, centering around HDTV, VoD and Yahoo! buy of TiVo.

Cool New Products

Home Networking:
Two products up for demonstration at the Las Vegas CES (Jan 5-8): Coaxsys' TVnet 2X for 200 Mbps speeds and Ruckus Wireless' MF2900 WiFi router for 'managed WiFi' (with QoS), ready for voice, DTV, IPTV, HDTV.

Navizon needs just one GPS-user to map a city, using both WiFi and cellular AP's. All other users don't need GPS.
(Skyhook, which uses WiFi AP's and GPS and IP addresses on the side, just attracted some more funding from Intel, Bain, Nokia and CommonAngels.)
The Free Ride Data Acquisition Vehicle is a 'war bike' with GPS and WiFi for mapping ('war chalking').

Wink launches in beta. This search engine doesn't rank on the basis of the number of links (as Google does), but on the basis of the number of tags (it searches the 'tagosphere'). At the bottom though, it also provides Google results. Wink has included Slashdot, Digg, MyWeb 2.0 (Yahoo!) and (Yahoo!).


Look at this (thanks to Dave Burstein) and this (thanks to Wayne Friedman).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Telecoms and Media down, the rest up

This year has so far been pretty good to investors. Taking the MSCI World Index apart, only one out of ten sectors is in negative territory YTD: Telecoms (-5.11%). At the industry group level, there are two out of 24: Telecoms and Media (-5.25%).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* Venezuela plans rural licenses

* Operators: BeST launches in Belarus as #4
* Licenses: Sonofon (= Telenor) acquires #4 Danish 3G license, DKK 533m
* MVNO: Amp’d Mobile soft launches on VZW (with P2T for 1 $/day); Cablecom plans in Switzerland on sunrise (= TDC)
* 2.5G: Movistar launches EV-DO in Venezuela, Ukraine plans trial 06Q1
* 3G: Filippines plan licenses Dec 2007, operational 2008; Airtel launches in Seychelles; DNA launches in Finland
* MNP: Brazil intros in 2007
* MTA: ARCEP (France) calls for public consultation
* Data: TEM intros flat-rate data plans, capped (30 MB for 15 EUR/mo, 1 GB for 30 EUR/mo, 5 GB for 58 EUR/mo)
* Push email: Visto licenses NTP and sues Microsoft
* P2T: Vodacom launches in SA and Amp’d Mobile in US

* WiMAX: Telmex and VTR plan launch in Chile in 2006; Digicel plans for Caymans, Barbados, Jamaica; Clearwire (NetyNet) expands into central Oregon; IDT Spectrum postpones IPO; Omnivision (CATV) plans in Venezuela with Samsung, 06Q3 (802.16e = WiBro); Telsima attracts $20m funding from NewPath, New Enterprise Associates, CMEA, JAFCO

* UWB: Alereon, Staccato Comms, Wisair reach interoperability

* VoIP: funding $250m (convertible) for Vonage (total $658m); Orb expands V4S plug-in with VoIP to email or Skype; TelTel launches PC-to-PSTN calling, 2 c/min; Martin (FCC) favors taxing based on phone number or IP address
* wVoIP: Vonage launches UTStarcom’s F1000 handset for VoWiFi (802.11b only); Saab Grintek and Verso trial VoWiMAX
* IPTV: Pakistan Telecom plans
* Gateway: Microsoft considers counterbid for Scientific-Atlanta (NY Post)
* NGN, IP, IMS: Verizon trials Nortel’s IMS

* FTTH: plan Guadelupe Valley Telecom Coop in Boerne; Palo Alto ends trial, wants to outsource to private co
* WiFi: plan Rome (US)

* Jim DeMint launches Digital Age Comms Act (DACA; level playing field, phase-out video franchises in 4 years, USF reform) in Congress

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Online display ads US: 115.2 bn in November (-7% mom) (NetRatings AdRelevance)

* Technology: Univ of California establishes Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed Systems Lab, funded by Google, Microsoft, Sun ($7.5m); Yahoo! establishes Research Center in NYC
* Vertical: Google ads music listings
* Market shares US: 5.1 bn queries in October (images 328m), Google 48%, Yahoo! 21.8%, MSN 11.3%, AOL 7.2%, Ask 2.6% (NetRatings)
* Click fraud: Think (formerly CGI) acquires Litmus Media (detection system)

* Holidays US online: peak day Dec 12, $556m (comScore); sales Nov 1 – Dec 16 $15 bn (+23% yoy; comScore)
* Comparison shopping: Experian (= GUS) acquires, $485m

* HowStuffWorks attracts funding from Carl Icahn (‘tens of millions’)

WEB 2.o:
* User-gen content: Wikipedia quality rivals Encyclopedia Britannica (Nature survey), plans 2 versions (stable reveiwed version and live version), plans registration for contributors, starts fundraising
* Podcasts: Washington Post enters (ad-supported)

* Meebo (web-based IM, with AJAX) attracts $3.5m funding from Sequoia

* Word processing: (= Upstartle) adds PDF conversion (first premium service)

* IPO: plans 18.9m shares at $11-13

Wednesday Media Digest

* open access: deal Wellcome Trust with Blackwell, Springer, Oxford Univ Press (funded published research must be posted online immediately)

* Gartner: sharing and recommendations drive purchases
* Microsoft integrates MTV’s ‘DNA’ in new Media Player to form ‘Urge’ (2m tracks), 2006

* Illegal P2P US: fell in October to 5.7m households from 6.4m in June (NPD Group)

* Digital transition US: House passes bill (Feb 17, 2009; $1.5 bn in subsidies for converters)
* PVR: ReplayTV (= D&M Holdings) transforms into software provider, deal with Hauppauge for WinTV-PVR card (tune in and record tv)
* HDTV: Charter, JVC, Mitsubishi Digital, NBC Universal, Samsung and Sun establish HANA (High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance) with ARM, Freescale, Pulse-Link (view, pause, record 5+ channels simultaneously; 1 STB and 1 remote for the home; share content through the home, add devices with 1 cable; HDTVs, DVD players, PVRs, STBs, home theaters)
* Place-shifting: Brightcove orders Flash Video 8 encoding from On2 Technologies

* DVD: HP supports HD-DVD (as well as Blu-ray)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Icahn lost it

Carl Icahn's letter to the Time Warner board is not terribly convincing and could even undermine his actions. (I would support a break-up.)
... a Google joint venture may be short sighted in nature and may preclude
any consideration of a broader set of alternatives ...

I believe Google went out of its way to extend and expand the existing deal. AOL is getting the largest slice and Google is changing some fundamental things.
... we believe that eBay, followed by InterActive Corp would provide
greater incremental benefits to AOL´s option value ...
(quoting Goldman Sachs research)

Valuing AOL at $20 bn is pretty much in line with market valuations. Besides, Google could get out at a future IPO. But yes, if you have a deal with one, you can´t have a deal with another. Further, assuming that AOL will not go the MSN way (pursuing Google and Yahoo! in building search technology and an advertiser network), this deal works fine for AOL.
I wonder what banking relations Goldman Sachs has.

MSN is the clear loser. Will Comcast step in, in order to present a smart way of luring the dial/up subscriber base into churning to Comcast broadband (or a rival cable operator´s HSD service)?

Mobile market: growth in Portugal

Judging from the growth of the Portuguese cellular market (# calls + 11%, # minutes +10% which means increases versus 05Q2), usage growth not only is still high, but there seems to be room for more. The numbers work down to just 1.8 minutes per call on average. In 05Q2, the average fixed call lasted 2.7 minutes.
Vodafone could probably have even more impact with its 60 minutes for the price of 1, 2 or 3 to stimulate substitution.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday's Cool New Products

Vonage launches UTStarcom's F1000 phone for wVoIP at hotspots (802.11b only) at $80 (after rebate).

Netgear launches a mobile broadband router, with WiFi and ethernet access, for IPWireless' UMTS TD-CDMA network, to create hotspots.

Writely introduces a first premium service: converting documents to PDF-format.

Short update on WiFi

According to ABI Research, the three proposals for 802.11n could be harmonized. That could lead to chipsets late 2006.

Earlier, Unstrung reported IEEE voting set for January 2006.

802.11n will push data rates to 108 Mbps, which is enough for TV and video. Airgo boasts speeds up to 240 Mbps, which means surpassing ethernet (and the "death of HomePlug"). Airgo President Raleigh: "Up until now consumers have always asked the question, 'Why should I go wireless?' The question now is, 'Why should I go wired?'" Netgear shortly after this launched RangeMax 240, using Airgo's 3G MIMO.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* Licenses: Emirates Integrated Telecom Co (#2 in UAE; UAE 50%, Abu Dhabi Mubadala Development Co 25%, Emirates Co for Telecomms and Technology 25%) launches mid 2006, plans IPO
* DSL: M’’Net launches ADSL2+ (’16 Mbps’ for 41 EUR/mo or usage-based rates) in Munich; Telefonica plans VDSL from 2006 for Imagenio; AT&T intros 6 Mbps for 65 $/mo (first 3 months 50 $/mo); Telefonica expands European budget
* LLU: South Africa delays until after 2007
* FTTH: Magent Networks (Ireland) orders from Telcordia; TDS Metrocom launches in Fitchburg (Wisconsin), 1 Mbps for 20 $/mo, 4 Mbps for 30 $/mo, 10 Mbps for 45 $/mo, VoIP for 44/mo
* BPL: order from Bristol Hotel to PLC Network Solutions (= Trimax)

* IPO: Austria wants IPO for Mobilkom (= Telekom Austria (state 30%))
* MVNO: Virgin SA plans launch mid 2006 on Cell C; Tesco plans Irish launch with O2, 50/50
* Budget, SIM-only: Plus enters prepaid market Germany (with Debitel), 16 c/min, Lidl plans undercutting Aldi in Germany, 12-13 c/min (Heise)
* Outsourcing: BASE (KPN) hires Atos Origin for IT services, 5 yr
* Data: Base Germany plans flat-fee unlimited internet access with datacard, 25 EUR/mo from Jan 2006; Polkomtel intros datacard for EDGE/3G/HSDPA
* Push email: Turkcell launches with Visto
* Music: Amp’s Mobile will launch with 99c downloads
* TV: Vodacom (SA) launches on live! over UMTS
* Video: Sprint launches movie downloads with Mspot at 7 $/mo flat for unlimited
* LBS: Verizon Wireless launches VZ Navigator (GPS, technology from Autodesk, Navteq, Networks In Motion)

* ZigBee: Holley Metering (China) launches for automated meter reading
* UWB: Ecma approves WiMedia Alliance standard (ECMA-368 and 369, unlicensed spectrum, up to 200 Mbps)

* WiMAX: 802.16e (mobility, formally 802.16-2005) ratified by IEEE; Arcor (Vodafone) starts trial in Kaiserslautern; KT and Alcatel work on interoperability of WiBro and 802.16e; BEC Telecom (Dominian Republic) launches, with Airspan; NatCom plans trial Auckland, Jan 2006
* WLL: Iraq plans licenses (applications Jan 12, auction Jan 30, issue Feb 12)

* ArrayComm licenses MIMO technology to Samsung (for cellular, WiMAX)
* UMTS TDD: IPWireless and Netgear launch router with WiFi and Ethernet connections
* BoS: Inmarsat launches Broadband Global Area Network, max 492 kbps, for access, streaming audio/video (4-7 $/MB) and VoIP (< 1 $/min), terminals from HNS, Nera SatCom and Thrane & Thrane ($1500-3500); FCC awards ICO 20 MHz in 2 GHz band

* FTTH: Amsterdam chooses active ethernet from Cisco (dedicated, up to 100 Mbps) over passive optical network (PON, shared, up to 39 Mbps); KPN wins Groningen tender
* WiFi: NeoReach Wireless (= MobilePro) hires Pronto Networks for managed services
* WiMAX: Netago Wireless launches 802.16-2004 for rural Alberta, 1-3 Mbps (with Nortel)

* VoIP:
-- Yahoo! plans VoIM to PSTN (Phone Out 1 c/min (promo), Phone In 30 $/yr for number), intros in Singapore, HK, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain (beta)
-- MCI (Verizon) and MSN (Windows Live Messenger) launch PC-to-PSTN, 2.3 c/min
-- SIPphone (‘Gizmo Project’) rumoured to intro 1 c/min PC-to-PSTN service
-- BellSouth resells 8x8
-- UPC plans launch in Czech Republic
-- Terra (Telefonica Brazil) launches
* wVoIP: SpectraLink (handsets) acquires KIRK Telecom (DECT handsets)
-- China selects MPEG-4
-- BT adds content (BBC Worldwide, Paramount, Warner Music) for VoD, launch autumn 2006
-- Novis (Portugal) trials ‘Clix Smartv’ with Amino (STB), commercial launch 2006 (50-100 channels, epg, VoD, personalized choice of channels)
-- Siemens integrates Entone’s STB
-- Free deal with Canal+ for VoD
-- PLDT (Filippines) plans entry
-- neuf cegetel expects 200k subs through 2006
* F/M: Orange and Wanadoo launch ‘Mes services perso’ trial in France (unified comms)
* Gateway: AT&T orders STB from 2Wire; Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting (= See Corp, Television Broadcast) orders STB from Amino; Thomson acquires Thales Broadcast and Multimedia, EUR 130m

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Local: MSN intros Windows Live Local (beta; low-flying airplane images)
* Sponsored: Click Defense wants to withdraw as lead plaintiff in case against Google; MSN plans revenue sharing with users

* Google plans charging for video
* AOL launches (entertainment news, ‘thirty mile zone’) with Telepictures

WEB 2.0
* user-gen content, sharing: Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Answers (community answers; beta) and Yahoo! Artist Mods (music videos) and acquires; Google adds RSS to Gmail; Grouper Networks launches video-sharing (free), gets funding from T-Ventures (= T-Online = Deutsche Telekom)
* social networking: Disney rumoured to be bidding for Friendster

Wednesday Media Digest

* Spending US Q1-Q3: +3.0% (local mags +23.1%, cable TV +12.2%, internet (excl search) +11.5%, outdoor +9.1%, etc; network TV -1.9%, network radio -3.0%, spot TV -8.7%) (TNS Media)

* B2B: Channel View Publications (= Multilingual Matters) adopts fro back issues

* In-theater ads US: 05 +18% to $400m, 06-08 CAGR +15% (ZenithOptimedia)
* DivX release DivX 6 codec for Mac
* Toshiba postpones launch of HD-DVD player into 2006

* Napster launches in Germany, 1.5m tracks, 1 EUR/track, 10 EUR/album, 10 EUR/mo (ToGo 15 EUR/mo)

* HarperCollins (= News) plans, copies available to search engines

* Electronic Arts acquires Jamdat Mobile, $680

* DTH: Tata-Star (India) receives license
* Kabel Deutschland: Providence buys-out Apax and Goldman Sachs, EUR 500m

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Apax will be a pan-European operator

Judging from recent deal news, Apax Partners are moving toward a clear goal: becoming a pan-European operator.
  • In smaller countries, they snap up the PTT (Bezeq, TDC, eircom, KPN).
  • In the larger countries, it's a cable operator (NTL in the UK, Auna/ONO in Spain) or an altnet (Versatel + Tropolys + Arcor in Germany; FastWeb in Italy; neuf cegetel in France).
  • Savings are huge, doing NGN/IP/IMS and CPE together. Apax will roll-out FTTH.
  • Apax will bid for soccer rights.
  • In the longer term, joining with Vodafone will provide the quadruple play.

After spyware ...

... and mystery shopping comes phantom traffic.

Yahoo!'s deal downunder

Yahoo! is partnering with Seven in Australia and New Zealand. The new name (Yahoo! 7, or so it seems) of the 50/50 company is to be unveiled late January, at the Australian Open.
Yahoo! is the #2 portal, Seven is the #1 network, Pacific Magazines is #2, and then there is the 33% interest in m.Net (mobile solutions enabler).

Some observations:

Whichever way, an interesting test-bed!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Reader's Digest

As ever a rich harvest. Again, Cringely's post, glorifying Google's indepence of access technology. He assumes cable, telco, WiMAX and BPL will provide enough of a choice. If not, net neutrality could be under threat, I believe.
Other background reading is in BusinessWeek Online, New York Magazine, Wired Magazine and Slate.

Long story in the SF Weekly.

Social networking:
BusinessWeek Online covered,, and Especially noteworthy is MySpace's plan (or rather: News Corp's) to launch an MVNO to compete with Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile (Sprint Nextel).

Bridge IR starts coverage of Trimax, a supplier of BPL equipment and solutions through subsidiary PLC Network Solutions. The report is free.

Mobile explosion:
Is the title of an Orange white paper (free registration). Not very deep, but at least they came up with a way to classify handsets: will the trend be toward multi-functional? Orange categorises into 7 classes: Multi-functional for work or home; focus on voice, video or music/games; fashion style; for-kids.

Cable broadband: had a story on Vyyo. It's technology can double downstream bandwidth of cable operators.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday's Cool new products

Yahoo! will add PC-to-PSTN calling to the Yahoo! Messenger. Phone Out will be 1 c/min and Phone In will cost 30 $/year for a phone number. That beats Skype.
BT also undercuts Skype. Next year will see a hardphone version of BT Communicator, a BT Fusion version of the hot Motorola Razr, as well as WiFi-enabled Fusion handsets and a video phone

IPTV and VoD:
BT adds content from BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music to its VoD line-up, to be launched next autumn.

Inmarsat launches BoS, with audio/video streaming and VoIP.

The IEEE ratifies 802.16e, formally 802.16-2005. This adds mobility to WiMAX.
Arcor, non-core part of Vodafone, starts a WiMAX field trial in Kaiserslautern. Germany is set to license spectrum (3.4-3.6 GHz band) early 2006.

Local search:
Microsoft expands Windows Live by adding images to Virtual Earth. The images are to be made using low-flying airplanes. Sounds like A9's Blockview, with pictures taken from a truck.

Outdoor advertising:
Nielsen Outdoor first published results from a Chicago trial. A group of 850 traveled the streets for 9 days wearing an Npod. It is supposed to become the currency for the outdoor ads market.

Market research:
ACNielsen completed the size doubling of the US Homescan panel to 125k households, a 2 year process.

Mixing politics and business (2)

Google Book Search is subject to law suits for obvious copyright reasons, centering on the understanding of 'fair use'.

Now, John Dvorak reacts to the European Publishers Council's stance, which is quite similar to Pat Schroeder's and Bob Barr's letter to the Washington Times. Dvorak describes the EPC vision as 'euro-crap'. Now, even if you agree (as I do) with the way Google defends its project, that's a pretty dumb assessment.
Shoot the crap!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Squidoo leaves beta

Squidoo, host of lenses, leaves beta:
We have quietly — and completely — moved out of the closed beta test... and into
a public beta.That means that anyone can visit Squidoo, find lenses, claim
lenses, and build their own. We're thrilled to open our doors to the public, and
to let everyone use the platform that you've been helping us test and improve
these last few weeks.But we're not going to tell anyone yet.Except you.So, now's
the time for you to share what you've been working on during the secret beta
test. Email your lenses to friends. Post a lens to your blog. Tell your mom.
And, for a limited time, your friends will be the only people to know that
Squidoo is finally live.Thanks for working with us over the past two months. We
can't wait to see how the general public responds to what you’ve been
building!Ready. Set. Squidoo.

The service resembles, Wikipedia and blogging.

Wednesday Media Digest

* Market 2006: US +2.9% (was +3.6%), world +4.8% (was +5.2%) (ZenithOptimedia)

* Donald Trump plans ‘Trump Shopping Network’

* In-game ads: integration and pervasiveness drive awareness, recall and persuasion (= willingness to change mind) (Nielsen Entertainment, Activision)

* Average basic rates 06 raised: Comcast 6% (4.3% for dig subs, 0 for HSD), Cox 0, TWC 3.1% (inflation -12mo 4.3%, 2.1% excluding food and energy; average hike 2003 5.4%, average hike 2002 7.8%)

* Legal P2P: Nareos launches PeerRearch solution for legal downloads based on P2P technology, 99 c/track (1m ‘indie’ tracks from CD Baby (100k artists), INgrooves (350 labels), Digital Rights Agency (225 labels))
* Illegal P2P: Sharman Networks warns Australian users against illegal use because of court order deadline, appeal Feb 2006
* Portable devices: Canal+ launches portable DVR form Archos (AV 700, max 70 hrs); deal NBC Universal with Apple: TV on iPod Video; ESPN (Disney) plans distribution to iPod Video (Apple)

* Intel unveils 40 customers (a.o. TiVo) for Viiv (transfer video among STB, PC, handheld)
* TiVo launches online services (movie listings & tickets, music, podcasts, Yahoo! Photos, traffic & weather) with Yahoo!, Fandango, Live365
* DirecTV launches DirecTV Plus (DVR with features (eg Series Link for recording entire season), free to subs)

Wednesday Internet Digest

* Online ad spend 2006, excluding search: +10% (Bob Coen = Universal McCann = Interpublic)

* Technology: AOL launches Mobile Search leaves beta; Google Personalized Search leaves beta
* News search: adds video and audio
* Distr.all Blinkx for ‘Times Online Smart Search’ with Times and Sunday Times (UK)
* Sponsored: keyword prices Nov -11% yoy and +1% mom to $1.46 (Fathom Online)
* Pay-per-call: AskPoodle (= Luis Pereira) launches Jan 1, 2006

* Email: Yahoo! adds RSS folder (beta)

WEB 2.0:
* User-gen content: MSN plans beta for classifieds (‘Fremont’); launches (= Virginia-Pilot Interactive Media; video news); (technology news with user ratings) plans expansion into sports and business

Wednesday Telecoms Digest

* Auction: Novator (= Thor Bjorgolfsson) bids for BTC (Bulgaria)
* License: SA to award second license to SNO by Dec 9
* LLU: India opposes; Tiscali Germany plans intro (trial Frankfurt 06Q1), invests EUR 200m in network + 200-300m in mkt (23 EUR/mo, 45 EUR/mo with VoIP); TelstraClear (Nw-Zld) complains about provisioning
* DSL: Lebanon plans launch 2006; Tiscali Italy launches ADSL2+ (24 Mbps for 60 EUR/mo); Ikanos intros VDSL2 chip (100 Mbps symmetric)
* Broadband Netherlands 05Q3: 3.84m lines (+5.6% qoq), of which 59.4% DSL and 40.6% cable, penetration 54.2% of households and 23.5% per head (Telecompaper)
* DOCSIS: Casema plans 30 Mbps trial; VTC (Vietnam) plans launch

* Auctions: 9 interested in Telsim, bids from Dec 13 (Turkey); PT and MTN bid for 34% of MTC (Namibia)
* License: Warid awarded sixth license Bangladesh
* Service launch: Digical on Anguilla, Bermuda and St Kitts and Nevis; Vietnam Power launch delayed into 2006
* MVNO: Aldi Talk (budget: on-net 5 c/min, off-net 15 c/min, 15 c/SMS) launches on E-Plus; Lidl and Plus plan launches; Agcom (Italy) finds no market dominance so no open access required; Visage Mobile (MVNE) gets $30m series-D funding from Nomura et al (total $80m); Neuf Cegetel (on SFR network) plans extension into residential market mid 2006
* Outsourcing: 3 UK hires Ericsson (network, IT)
* Sub-brand: T-Mobile intros MoxMobil prepaid card with Mox Telecom for foreigners (39 c/min to 11 countries)
* MNP: Pakistan to introduce April 2006
* Flat fees: BASE (KPN) disconnects Unlimited subs for abuse (although no fair-use policy in place)
* International roaming: Bouygues files complaint against Freemove for limited access
* 2.5G: Go (Malta) and Cell C intro EDGE
* 3G: Vibo (Taiwan) launches W-CDMA Dec 6, Eurotel launches, Xfera (Spain) plans launch mid 2006)
* 3.5G: HTC plans HSDPA handset shipments 06H2; Nortel and Qualcomm achieve 3.6 Mbps HSDPA; MTN plans HSDPA trial; Cingular launches HSDPA (average 400-700 kbps, 60 $/mo for datacards)
* P2T: intro by Cingular with Kodiak, 10 $/mo or 20 $/mo/family
* TV: Verizon Wireless adopts Qualcomm’s MediaFLO network, launch 2006; Vodafone expands content offerings
* LBS: Inmarsat to manage Galileo

* WiFi: Telenor adds hotzones (400) for mobile users; Skyhook Wireless expands WPS (WiFi Positioning System) to 70 US cities; Sony launches video downloads for PSP

* WiMAX: Fujitsu demos IPTV-over-WiMAX; BTC and Orbitel return license Bulgaria (for lack of mobility); Access Providers (Australia) plans wholesale service from 2006

* VoIP: Skype intros 2.0 (beta; with video (codec from On2 Technologies, web cams from Logitech and Creative), mood indicators, ring tones, avatars, distr deal with Six Apart); Israel outlaws VoIP to protect ILD providers; Telemar (Brazil) plans launch with Net2Phone; Time Warner Cable reaches 1m subs (75% of which triple play)
* IPTV: intro by SMG and Shanghai Telecom; Fujitsu demos IPTV-over-WiMAX; intr HDTV door SureWest Dec 2005 (HDNet and HDNet Movies); Tut Systems installs all-IP digital TV head-end for cable operator (Citizens Cable Comms); plan trial BellSouth mid 2006
* F2M: Xs4all (KPN) launches UMTS-subscription (dial-up over UMTS for ADSL-subs); Neuf Cegetel plans WiFi/cellular phone ‘Beautiful Phone’ mid 2006
* NGN: Vibo (Taiwan) orders from Ericsson
* IMS: HP intros software ‘OpenCall Media Platform’ (enable voice services, triple play etc) and ‘Mobile MusicSharing’ (conference calling, music, talk simultaneously); Cisco adds support to more products

* WiFi: Tempe (Az) and Sunnyvale (Cal) launch; Farmers Branch and plans with NeoReach/MobilePro; Portland shortlists three (EarthLink, MetroFi, VeriLAN)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Google beware: here comes a self-professed believer in the American Dream

Luis Pereira, " founder, a veteran IT consultant, entrepreneur and self-professed believer in the American Dream", thinks his pay-per-call and pay-per-chat programs are superior to Google, which "will eventually be brought around to his way of thinking", because of the click fraud phenomenon.

I wonder if Mr. Pereira has come across Google's and Yahoo! steps in pay-per-call. Also, how would his human agents and chat sales agents handle the kind of traffic Google generates?

Mixing politics and business

More from BellSouth: an offer to the city of New Orleans to use one of the company's buildings as police headquarters was withdrawn after New Orleans launched a plan for a muniwifi network.

Noble news from Ford too: the company will stop advertising in gay oriented publications to prevent the American Family Association from declaring a boycott.

Net neutrality takes a small twist

BellSouth CTO Bill Smith wants to be able to charge web companies for supplying bandwidth or priority.

He is stuck in the notion that it is Yahoo! or Google using the pipes, not the consumer, who is in fact paying his DSL or cable bill. Just the same opinion we had from his AT&T colleague Ed Whitacre. Smith applies a small twist only: instead of threatening to block, he takes a more positive approach and wants to charge. But really, it's the same thing.

I stick to my (adjusted) opinion: as long as there is no choice and only one or two pipes are running into my home, I believe ISPs should not be allowed to act as gatekeepers.
Now, Verizon and SBC were held to this net neutrality principle for two years only. Maybe by then do we have additional pipes: BoS, WiMAX, muniBB, BiG, BPL, ...

The Sixth Force: killing the movie theater

Nicholas Carr's post on 'the sixth force' (extending Porter's five-force model) came to mind reading this story on the dying ritual of moviegoing form the LA Times.

Apart from the obvious reasons (internet and games, home cinema and DVD, high ticket prices and gas prices), Patrick Goldstein mentions how "it's become cool to dismiss movies as awful" and that "bad buzz about a movie hits the streets fast enough to stop suckers from lining up to see a new stinker".

However, Hollywood has not yet succumbed to this pressure. "The creative voltage is sometimes so low that you wonder if you've wandered into an insurance office." And: they should "start releasing any movie with multi-generational appeal on DVD the same time it hits theaters, so kids could get out of the house and the parents could watch at home".

This relates to Mark Cuban's plans for simultaneous releases (theater, DVD, pay-TV), with movies from director Steven Soderbergh. That could actually be a paradigm-shift of sorts and Hollywood's road to the 21st century.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday Reader's Digest

The LamaBox was presented in the Netherlands. It's broadband connected and searches P2P networks BitTorrent, eDonkey and Kazaa. Content is downloaded to a hard disk, streamed on TV or burned to a DVD.
Microsoft's deal with CableLabs on the other hand tries to bypass the STB and rely on CableCard technology for now. The PC as the center of home entertainment, once more.
Robert Cringely takes his Google Box concept one (giant) step further and speculates on a Google Cube.
Of course. TiVo has lots going on.

Net neutrality:
There's a decent round-up from the Washington Post.
The DrKW TelcoTech presented its perspective, one day after mine and pretty similar.
David Isenberg adds a little.
Central themes are: the stupid network, separation (a la Openreach), enforcement and customer-owned network. As to the latter, I recently concluded (in Dutch) that munifiber could be a blessing in disguise for PTT's.

An introduction of sorts from AP.
Daily Wireless has a warning against IMS, which could give operators to much power. It relates to the network neutrality concept. IMS could mean operators track, charge and possibly block internet-based services.

Free's F-ADSL and Yannick Laclau's entertaining assessment of what this means.

Verizon Wireless is adopting Qualcomm's MediaFLO network for mobile TV, but Eureca Research predicts DAB will be a leading standard with a 19% market share in 2010, rivalling DVB-H.

Maxell announced a 300 GB disc for late 2006, based on 'holographic' storage (perpendicular, three-dimensional recording).

Is it coming to an end?

News, newspapers and journalism:
In the Chicago Tribune, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Editor & Publisher and the New York Review of Books.