British ad watchdog bites down on ISPs

7 May 2016 by Steve Blum

How many times have you gone on line to figure out how much Internet service from a major service provider will cost, and come away even more confused than when you started? If your answer is every freaking time, then you’re floating right in the middle of the mainstream. British regulators tested consumers on their ability to figure out the total cost of an Internet service contract, and found that 80% couldn’t do so.

As a result, the U.K.’s… More

CPUC small business expo draws hundreds to Salinas

10 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Giving small business a lift in Salinas.

Rapidly changing business models and utility needs are providing opportunities for small businesses in the twenty-first century. That was Commissioner Catherine Sandoval’s message to several hundred entrepreneurs in Salinas yesterday, at a small business expo and matchmaking fair sponsored by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Sandoval pointed to new rules that were just adopted that allow online ride sharing companies, such as Lyft and Uber, to provide on demand service, despite vehement objections from entrenched – and protected – taxi companies.… More

A roach clip for Blackberry

28 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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The familiar scent of Blackberries.

Wall Street investors seem happy to take what Fairfax Financial Holdings is offering for Blackberry and let the dwindling mobile phone company waft away in the wind. Subtract out the cash that Blackberry is holding, and the net sale price is about $2 billion, a sad end to a psychedelic slide that began at $83 billion five years ago.

Like Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia, Fairfax’s offer seems to be based on the chemically impaired notion that Blackberry isn’t in the final stages of a terminal crash.… More

Buyers might have to settle for stems and seeds, but Blackberry CEO won't

16 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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It was a lot bigger before I took a hit.

In the week when Apple is giving its new iPhone a final bath in unicorn tears and Samsung begins a campaign to put a mobile phone on every wrist, Blackberry went on sale. And for rolling a big fat one for shareholders, CEO Thorsten Heins will get $56 million.

He’d already pretty much given up on phones. Blackberry can’t sell much of anything to anyone who isn’t already using their devices.… More

Bezo's WaPo purchase a chance to do good by doing well

5 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Distinguished company.

The best explanation of today’s announcement that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post comes from the Post’s own story of the deal

Throughout his storied business career, Bezos, who has a net worth of $25.2 billion, has been an empire builder, although he has never shown any evident interest in the newspaper business. He has, however, maintained a long friendship with [Washington Post CEO Donald] Graham, and they have informally advised each other over the years.


Google accused of asking fiber subscribers to use common sense

31 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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A server and a thin mint.

When you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, you don’t expect to be able to fill up an ice chest with lasagne to bring home for a neighborhood block party. Most people accept that common sense puts limits on what are otherwise unlimited offers.

Google is taking heat in a Wired commentary piece by Ryan Singel for telling fiber customers in Kansas City…

Your Google Fiber account is for your use and the reasonable use of your guests.


AT&T boosts Uverse speeds for some Californians

30 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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High potential for an earthquake. Broadband, not so much.

California and Nevada are the next stops on AT&T’s deployment of its pair-bonded VDSL2 Uverse upgrade. The company announced the roll out of 45 Mbps service here in a carefully worded press release, and also held out the eventual prospect of delivering up to 100 Mbps to homes and businesses via copper wires.

It’s part of a plan announced last fall to focus on upgrading “high potential” cities and neighborhoods to maximum speed levels that are on a par with what cable companies claim to provide.… More

Diversify and conquer

Amazonian elephant coming up from behind.

There were three global technology elephants left standing at the close of the Consumer Electronics Show in January – Samsung, Google and Apple. Microsoft was last seen rumbling toward the elephant’s graveyard and the two likeliest candidates to replace it, Amazon and Facebook, were still shy of the necessary bulk.

Recent days have shown why Samsung and Google will rule the herd for a long time to come.

Google has so many market-default services that it’s accounting for 25% of daily Internet traffic, with 60% of the world’s devices touching it every day.… More

Aereo making retransmission negotiations more entertaining

26 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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Oh, baby, you are so talented. And they are so dumb.

Time-Warner Cable is threatening to shoot its own business model as it wrestles with CBS over permission to carry local television stations in New York and other major markets. Thanks to a law passed by the U.S. congress in 1992 with massive amounts of campaign contributions cogent policy research from cable, satellite and, crucially, broadcasting lobbyists, cable systems have to get permission to carry a local TV station, which means agreeing to and paying a price.… More

Intel selling heavy metal thunder to a lightning fast market

25 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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The next industry standard.

After playing with an Atom-powered smart phone at CES this year and hearing execs talk up Android, I saw glimmers of hope that Intel was finally coming to grips with the mobile world. It seems I had it backwards: the mobile world is tightening its grip on Intel’s corporate throat.

Long the dominant player in PC and big server processors, Intel is all but shut out of smart phones and tablets, a billion unit market, and has no presence at all in the machine-to-machine space, which could be five or ten times that size in the next handful of years.… More