20080131

Sideloading live concerts

Nokia claims that 75% of mobile music downloads are actually sideloaded via the PC. So while competitors launch "traditional" online stores (PlayNow for SonyEricsson), the Finns teamed up with Universal Music Group to offer "Come With Music" packages : a sexy name for a classic hardware + 12 month subscription package... except the service is unlimited music downloads, and the mobile operator is out of the loop.

Orange Music Store eventually tries to catch up with the Vodafone platform, but at the same moment SFR Live Concerts puts the bar one notch higher. Vivendi must have noticed that the business models of music majors are changing, that album / track sales go down while live events and merchandizing go up. Majors are trimming off their catalogues, renegociating contracts, competing with concert producers, and building participating platforms to scoot new talents across the web 2.0.

So Live Concerts makes sense. So did SK Telecom's Auditions 6 years ago...



20080127

Back To Square Auctions

AT&T and Verizon trembling, Vodafone sweating, Cox, Cablevision Systems Corporation and EchoStar waiting, Qualcomm peeping, Google smiling... and the FCC counting the billions...

... Welcome to the 2008 700 MHz wireless spectrum. A few blocks up for grabs*, 214 potential bidders, and no winner will be known before the end of the whole process.

Some losers have already made the headlines, or rather the frontline of an obscure web page : "01.12.08 Frontline Wireless statement - Frontline Wireless is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment." Which means Frontline Wireless is already out of the race, and out of business without having ever been in.

This is a wild race and a wild world. We are talking wide and deep coverage : this spectrum will help go through large areas, through walls. The FCC even proposes a "Tribal Land bidding credit" for someone who would care for uncovered reserves. How generous from an organization that optimizes the chances of a 2000-2001 redux.

We're talking CLEC of the wireless kind, FMC and the whole shebang. We're talking about scared incumbents in the mobile as well as in the fixed areas.

Back then, T-Mobile would add a few rounds in the German auctions - totally unnecessary, except for the government. I guess they wish they had that money right now.

Chances are the biggest winners won't get one bit of spectrum at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, France is discounting the entry ticket for its fourth 3G license.


* 1,099 licenses overall - Block A : 176 EA (Economic Area) licenses - Block B : 734 CMA (Cellular Market Area) license - Block C : 12 REAG (Regional EA Grouping) - Block D : 1 national license for public / private partnership - Block C : 176 EA (minimum bidding price : USD 4.6 bn). The 698-806 MHz band was freed by TV broadcasters switching to DTV.



20080107

CES 2008 - the magic boredom

An environmental nonsense with a yearly electrical parade where people expose gadgets and all the chips nearby casinos turned down ? Exclusive features and contents that tend to turn into commodities (neon signs, Cirque du Soleil shows) ? That's Vegas, and it sounds sooo passé.

If you missed the best Western Movie Award (the flick was over even before the generic started), here's the pitch : Warner kills H.D. DeeVeeDee and picks Blu-ray.

The 15 Warholian Minutes Award went to Wistron and its GW4 Android smartphone. Google's rival didn't get as much attention, but at least those who heard about Yahoo! Go 3.0 learnt that a 1.0 and a 2.0 existed before. That was a good way of advertising about that status update feature.

And from day one, the winner of the Corniest Showman Award is Bill Gates. Yeah, the same guy who didn't realise the internet existed until 1995. Here he is now, on stage, talking about the "second digital decade"... and this great visionary sees more video and more storage ahead. I can't wait to see what other disruptive insights he'll deliver after retiring.

For Jobs on Viagra, stay tuned for at least two more decades. That will include a 5 year break to found a new pet project ("NeXt2NeXt"), and a comeback right on time for the launch of iHologram.

PS : a happy new year to you IRL



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