Friday, 1 June 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: clown predicts Zuck move for Nokia, HD goes super, Dragon splashes down and Metro goes public

Digital media

Samsung have finally launched their own media ecosystem to compete with Play, Market and, of course, iTunes. Coming soon to a fridge near you. http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/45824/samsung-music-hub-music-streaming-locker-service

A slightly misleading, but still interesting comparison of the audience for British newspapers. Misleading because the engagement and characteristics of the online reader and the content they consume are very different from print. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2011/may/09/digital-media-abcs

It would be remiss of me not to mention Facebook’s share price. It hasn’t been a good week and this valuation at $7.50 a share won’t be helping. http://moneymorning.com/2012/05/29/facebook-stock-price-is-mark-zuckerberg-losing-sleep-over-this/

A lot has been written about the potential of social networks to generate targeted ads. This article gets to the crux of the dilemma. People go to social sites to connect, so they ignore most ads. More invasive schemas are creepy. It’s not a clever story! http://gigaom.com/cloud/monetizing-social-media-means-navigating-big-sucky-data/

Business models

Silly season has started early. This total clown of an “analyst” believes that Facebook will/ could acquire Nokia. The basis for his argument – that Facebook needs a mobile device and OS – are correct. His knowledge of the technology marketplace is risible. http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3360785/facebook-could-buy-nokia-build-facephone-expert-says/

Slightly old news, but interesting to see how the UK is leading Europe on venture investments and tech’ start-ups. Despite the naysayers, our economy is in great shape for the future. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/venture-capital-investment-continues-fall-104700385.html

The emergence of the “Academic Spring” was as unexpected to me as the Arab Spring. Here, a report by the turkeys... sorry, the publishers, show that they are rather anti-Christmas. In short a 6 month embargo period, followed by open access to journals would bankrupt half of the journal publishers. I still reckon Christmas is coming, fellas. http://www.publishingresearch.net/documents/ALPSPPApotentialresultsofsixmonthembargofv.pdf

Technology

Dragon is a revolution in spaceflight, the commercialisation of which should massively improve our ability to access our own orbital zone and beyond. http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/05/dragon-spacecraft-makes-perfect-splashdown/

“4K” compatible TVs are already being announced by the major TV manufacturers. Incorporation of a standard for broadcasting and distributing it is a major step forward. http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?id=4387

On a smaller scale, Google Glass has the potential to be a revolutionary interface product. Small, wearable computing is immensely exciting and offers incredible creative opportunities. http://www.fastcompany.com/1838801/exclusive-inside-google-x-project-glass-steve-lee

April UK sales of tablets are up over 200% YoY. Sadly GfK’s press release is all percentages, but the fundamental point is that iPad 3/HD/ iPad is significantly more popular than its predecessor, presumably because people now understand what it offers. http://www.reghardware.com/2012/05/25/tablets_up_in_april/

Booming sales of cellular connected devices are causing a global shortage in availability of crucial components. What this shows is that LTE will not be another “3G” – take up has been strong from the word go and I expect LTE devices to be half the device estate in the most developed markets by 2016. http://www.rethink-wireless.com/2012/05/31/shortages-loom-4g-basebands-advanced-displays.htm

The last two paragraphs of this article on RIM’s fall from grace are the most telling. Even if its best customers still love it, they can’t risk buying from it if its future is unclear. The end may be nigh, I’m afraid. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/analysis-rims-woes-seen-speeding-040507960.html

Superpower politics

Pretty much the only Apple product that hasn’t taken off in the last decade is Apple TV. I remain bearish about media streamers – although their price point means that they’ll sell reasonably well, they’re still in the main too complex for the majority of consumers to take advantage of. http://blog.streamingmedia.com/the_business_of_online_vi/2012/05/apple-tv-sales-have-trippled-but-total-unit-sales-of-55m-are-still-meaningless.html

This teardown report shows that their margins on the devices are still great though. 35% gross margin. Nice. http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/iSuppli-Teardown-Reveals-Apple-TV-Inner-iPad.aspx

The Nokia/ Microsoft alliance is slowly becoming more potent. This week they announced a much tighter link between Nokia’s Navteq navigation technology and Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, creating a genuine competitor to Google Maps. http://www.rethink-wireless.com/2012/05/28/nokias-bing-maps-deal-sign-future.htm

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 “Metro” is probably their most crucial launch ever. Here, Wired test out some of its features – theme and scenario based navigation feel like good ideas. Microsoft need to get this one right as Apple are beginning to put them under significant pressure, even in the enterprise arena. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-06/01/hands-on-with-windows-8

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