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Congress Eyes Google's Chrome Encryption Plans
October 1, 2019
Google's plans to test an encrypted Internet DNS protocol reportedly have spurred some members of Congress to consider opening an antitrust investigation. They are concerned that the new technology could give Google an edge over competitors by making it harder for them to access consumer data. Google is experimenting with new ways to enhance online privacy.
The Pitched Battle Over Streaming Content
September 13, 2019
At Apple's annual new products and devices event earlier this week, CEO Tim Cook told the crowd gathered at its Cupertino headquarters that the new Apple TV+ streaming service will be available for $4.99 per month. Consumers who buy a new iPad, iPhone or Apple laptop will receive a year of the subscription-based streaming video service for free. It was a shot across the bow at Disney.
Big Data's Seismic Effect on the Broadcasting Industry
September 5, 2019
Digital transformation has left hardly any industry unshaken. In broadcasting, it's safe to say that it has transformed completely the way we create, deliver and consume content. Undoubtedly, the most noticeable change lies in the shift toward the OTT format. Traditional TV now plays second fiddle: 69 percent of consumers use some type of streaming service.
Can Cable TV Survive the 5G Wireless Threat?
August 30, 2019
Traditional cable TV providers will face a big competitive threat in the next decade from the Internet, IPTV and 5G wireless. Cable TV typically lands at the bottom in customer satisfaction surveys. That means there is both plenty of room for improvement and plenty of room for new competitors and new technologies to jump in and quickly win. Not long ago, cable TV companies had no competition.
T-Mobile Merger Delay Keeps Sprint and Dish on Edge
August 16, 2019
The T-Mobile-Sprint merger looked like it was pretty much a done deal a couple of weeks ago, when DoJ gave its approval. It now looks like there won't be a final answer until 2020. This will go down in history as one of the longest corporate merger attempts. The delay will be hardest on Sprint and Dish Network. Even though T-Mobile looks stronger, it needs the deal too, as it transitions into 5G.
Timely Antitrust Investigation
July 26, 2019
The Justice Department is opening antitrust investigations into some of the biggest tech companies around, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. This is nothing that either the public or the companies involved should fret about. This is part of the evolution of the tech sector. We've been through this kind of thing before. Each economic era follows a similar trajectory.
What the CBS Blackout Means for the Future of Streaming
July 26, 2019
CBS went dark across AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV services, days after the seven-year contract between the two companies expired. As the two couldn't come to new terms, CBS and its related channels -- including CBSN, CBS Sports and The Smithsonian Channel -- were blacked out. This latest disruption in service affected viewers in major markets across the United States.
Salesforce's Road to China
July 25, 2019
It was bound to happen. Salesforce was going to China at some point, and it announced that action this week saying it was partnering with Alibaba. There are so many ways to read this, but I don't have the filters to resist comparing the announcement to what Robin Williams once said about cocaine: "Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money."
Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected During a Cybersecurity Incident
July 3, 2019
While good communication is pretty much universally beneficial, there are times when it's more so than others. One such time? During a cybersecurity incident. Incident responders know that communication is paramount. Even a few minutes might mean the difference between closing an issue vs. allowing a risky situation to persist longer than it needs to.
5 Effective Ways to Reduce E-Commerce Churn
July 2, 2019
The subscription model forms the backbone of the revenue streams of many SaaS companies. In fact, more than 90 percent of software providers expected to migrate to a subscription-based business model by 2022, according a Gartner report. Despite the higher rates of adoption, companies often struggle with keeping subscription customers, leading to high churn rates and lost revenue.
Chinese Hackers Linked to Global Attacks on Telcos
June 26, 2019
Chinese hackers likely are responsible for a series of cyberattacks against telecommunications companies around the world, security researchers have reported. The campaign, dubbed "Operation Soft Cell," has been active since 2012, according to Cybereason. There is some evidence suggesting even earlier activity against the telecommunications providers, all of whom were outside North America.
Plot Thickens With Dish's Interest in Sprint, T-Mobile Wireless
June 20, 2019
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been dragging on for quite a long time, but it finally may be in the home stretch. To get the deal approved, Sprint and T-Mobile might have to sell off some of their wireless assets to competitors. Many were surprised to see Dish Network's interest. What would this mean for the merger and for the wireless industry as a whole?
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
What Matters Most in the Race to 5G Wireless
April 11, 2019
With 5G knocking on our door, a growing number of wireless competitors have been getting on their high-horses and trying to knock down the current leaders. All I have to say is, cut it out! No customer or investor is interested in all this meaningless industry-wide jibber-jabber. If you keep this up, you may pay a price when you do begin to offer 5G. Does it really matter which company is first?
FTC Eyeballs ISPs' Data Privacy Practices
March 28, 2019
The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced an investigation into the privacy policies, procedures and practices of seven Internet broadband providers and related entities: AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Comcast Cable Communications doing business as Xfinity, Google Fiber Inc., T-Mobile US Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Cello Partnership dba Verizon Wireless.
T-Mobile's Home Broadband Carrot
March 25, 2019
Not long ago, T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said the company would start selling a wireless home broadband service. Now, it looks as though it has begun a pilot program of invited users. However, there is an important catch with respect to this new service: the motive behind it. Sievert made it clear that growth with this new service will be possible only with a Sprint merger. That's too bad.
Google Fiber Missteps Could Tarnish Brand
February 22, 2019
This winter has been very rough on Google Fiber, Alphabet's high-speed Internet service. An overabundance of snow, ice and water have caused service outages. Why do these issues not seem to hamper competitors? The latest news is that the service is leaving Louisville, supposedly due to a faulty installation process. Why not correct the faults? What is the real problem at Google Fiber?
Will Congress Override State Net Neutrality Laws?
February 21, 2019
Way back in the dark ages in May 2011 -- about 2,345 Internet years ago -- I wrote a column about Net neutrality, which was in court at the time. For those of you who are not sure, "Net neutrality" is short for "Internet neutrality" or "network neutrality." The concept addresses user access to the Internet, and the debate around Net neutrality centers on whether ISPs can limit, tier, block or otherwise affect Internet performance.
YouTube TV Hits Screens Across Most of the US
January 24, 2019
YouTube TV will be rolling out to an additional 95 markets in the U.S., almost doubling its coverage. The streaming video service already covers the top 100 markets in the country, and the expansion will enable it to reach more than 98 percent of households in the U.S., YouTube said. There are roughly 120 million TV households in the U.S., but only about 108 million households have broadband.
Cable One's Bright Sparklight Idea
December 21, 2018
The cable TV industry has been changing over the last decade and lately has been penetrating the wireless space. Brands like Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Altice Mobile have emerged. Cable One, a smaller cable television company, has announced its new brand, Sparklight. Could this be its first step toward offering a wireless service? That's the direction I think it could be heading.
AT&T to Switch On 5G in 12 Cities
December 19, 2018
AT&T is poised to activate its 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities. A select group of users will receive a 5G hot spot that connects to AT&T's 5G+ network. AT&T's 5G service will roll out in parts of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Raleigh, North Carolina; and San Antonio and Waco, Texas.
No Time Like the Present to Get Up to Speed on Sales Tax Laws
December 11, 2018
Americans are used to hearing the refrain, "We pay the sales tax," from mattress sellers and car dealerships during big sales weekends. The phrase, "You pay the sales tax," however, is something we're all going to become a lot more familiar with in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair. That's because the Wayfair decision reverses a precedent set in 1967 and upheld in 1992.
HBO Fires Back at Dish in Blackout Tussle
November 9, 2018
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
November 7, 2018
Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.
Oracle OpenWorld: Margin Lab
October 24, 2018
Markets grow at the margins. This bit of sage advice was given to me at the start of my analyst career, and it has kept me in good nick for nearly two decades. Of course the focus has drifted over time but that's the point: The CRM market has evolved, and the job of an analyst is to make sense of the evolution. Oracle OpenWorld 2018 held in San Francisco this week is a laboratory for the margin.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
Why Is Wireless Caller ID So Often Wrong?
September 24, 2018
I have a gripe with the way Caller ID works -- or in fact, increasingly doesn't work -- on wireless phones. I've noticed that most very stinking time I get a call on my wireless phone, the Caller ID information is wrong. Sometimes the number is correct, but the city is wrong. When Caller ID was introduced a few decades ago, it was great. It started on the landline phone, either providing a name or number.
The Internet's Truth vs. Fake News Showdown
August 10, 2018
Facebook earlier this week pulled the plug on the official page for Alex Jones, host of Infowars and noted conspiracy theorist. YouTube quickly followed, removing Infowars and Jones' videos. Facebook's move followed Apple's decision to pull five of Infowars' six podcasts -- including the "Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" -- from the iTunes and Podcasts apps.
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Digital River - Sell Like a Local
Which product review rating most influences your decision to make a purchase?
5 Stars - I want to learn why others think the product is awesome.
4 Stars - I want to know what's liked, along with minor flaws.
3 Stars - I want to find out why the product is neither loved nor hated.
2 Stars - I want to learn why others find the defects to outweigh the benefits.
1 Star - I want to know why others think the product awful.
Women in Tech
Three top analysts have picked NICE inContact as the market leader.