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CISPA Dead for Now

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The Senate will almost certainly kill a controversial cybersecurity bill, recently passed by the House, according to a U.S. Senate Committee member, reports ZDNet.

Michelle Richardson, legislative council with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the publication she thinks CISPA is “dead for now,” and said the Senate will “probably pick up where it left off last year.”

Civil liberties groups have called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act a “privacy killer,” and “dangerously vague,” and warned that it may be in breach of the Fourth Amendment.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said in a statement on April 18 that CISPA’s privacy protections are “insufficient.”

A committee aide told ZDNet on Thursday that Rockefeller believes the Senate will not take up CISPA. The White House has also said the President won’t sign the House bill.

Staff and senators are understood to be “drafting separate bills” that will maintain the cybersecurity information sharing while preserving civil liberties and privacy rights.

Smartphones Now Majority Sales

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time in the first quarter of 2013, according to the International Data Corporation. Vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in 1Q13 compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in 1Q13, which marked the first time more than half (51.6%) the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones. The market grew 41.6% compared to the 152.7 million units shipped in 1Q12.

The other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors, noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team.

“A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five. Now Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones.”

1 Billion Smartphones!, 6 Billion!, USA: 332 Million Mobiles, Global Smartphone and Tablet Sales and Projections, China: First in Smartphones,

Tablet Marketshare: Android 43%

Posted by Sam Churchill on

According to new research from Strategy Analytics, global Android tablet shipments have increased 177 percent annually to 17.6 million units. The total number of tablets shipped in Q1 of 2013 was 40.6 million.

Apple still leads the race with a 48 percent market share, while Android has a 43 percent global share of those 40 million tablets.

Microsoft managed to go from nothing (since Windows 8 RT is its first real tablet OS) to a 7.5 percent market share by selling some 3 million Windows based tablets.

Last year virtually all the forecasts predicted Apple would easily keep its tablet lead for the next few years. Now it appears Android will take the marketshare crown sometime in 2013.

Last year Gartner forecast Android tablet sales increasing eight-fold over the next five years, but iSuppli predicted Apple will maintain a dominant market share with a total global media tablet shipments reaching 124 million units in 2012, up 90 percent from 65 million in 2011, and shipments projected to increase to 197 million in 2013, to 250 million in 2014, to 285 million in 2015 and to 311 million in 2016.

Netflix Thinks Big

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Netflix reported this week that it now has nearly 30M U.S. subscribers and pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue last quarter.

Netflix has more subscribers than Time Warner’s HBO, the second largest premium channel in the United States, according to data from SNL Kagan. Encore is currently the largest premium channel in the U.S., with 35 million pay subscribers as of March 2013.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he wants to reach as many as 90 million in the U.S..

CEO Hastings laid out plans for Netflix’s future in a paper published on the company’s investor relations site Wednesday.

The paper describes Netflix as one of the driving forces behind a transition from linear television to a world of internet-delivered on-demand content.

His thoughts on competition:

“We don’t and can’t compete on breadth with Comcast, Sky, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or Google. For us to be hugely successful we have to be a focused passion brand. Starbucks, not 7-Eleven. Southwest, not United. HBO, not Dish.”

Hastings said Netflix is now spending over $2 billion a year on the licensing and creation of content and spending another $350 million a year on improving its service and apps and $450 million per year on marketing in all of its markets around the world.

Apple TV and Roku which currently dominate the Internet-streaming TV set-top box market might get competition from Amazon.com, which is reportedly working on a box of its own, Bloomberg said in a report. Other streaming TV boxes include Boxee, Microsoft’s XBox and Google TV.

The next Xbox, which Microsoft will unveil on May 21, will reportedly cost $499, or $299 for customers who also buy a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription for $10 per month, reports Paul Thurrott.

Meanwhile, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has announced the company will feature Saturday Night Live content exclusively on Yahoo!. The partnership gives Yahoo! users exclusive access to the entire 38-year archive of SNL content as well as clips from the current season.

Telecom Infrastructure: Slim Margins

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Ericsson, the world’s largest telecom equipment vendor, earned USD $181 million on sales of USD $7.8 billion during the first quarter. Sales were up 7% year-on-year, but operating margin and earnings declined.

Comparisons to last year are complicated by the fact that the year-ago quarter included a large gain on the sale of Ericsson’s stake in Sony Ericsson.

Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson Business Unit Networks, said that network rollouts can put pressure on margins as vendors compete to win new contracts. With many parts of the world rolling out LTE, Ericsson expects more pricing pressure.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s Executive Vice President Eric Xu was quoted as saying: “We are not interested in the U.S. market any more.” That statement became the basis for numerous reports stating that the company intends to quit the U.S. market, reports Forbes.

A source close to Huawei followed up by saying it was premature to conclude the company would scrap its plans for the American market. The company encountered a series of problems in the U.S., but the American market has never been a major source of business.

“Without a doubt they will continue to do business in America, but Huawei’s main markets are in Asia and Europe, amongst others,” the source added through e-mail.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ strong first-quarter 2013 results appear to place it firmly on the path toward becoming independent of parent companies Nokia and Siemens. The vendor reported an operating profit of $4 million for the most recently ended quarter vs. an operating loss in 2012’s first quarter of $1.31 billion. The NSN partnership agreement between Nokia and Siemens officially expired this month.

On April 26, 2013, Alcatel-Lucent will present 1st Quarter 2013 results. The company has suffered heavily due to the failed merger, high costs and cutthroat competition, reports Seeking Alpha.

Overall, the worldwide LTE infrastructure market for radio and core service architecture equipment is expected to grow from $4.1 billion in 2012 to $21.1 billion in 2016, says Gartner. This segment is expected to grow to over 40% of mobile infrastructure spend in 2016 and become the fastest-growing segment within mobile network infrastructure (radio and core).

Verizon to Buy Out Vodafone?

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Verizon Communications has hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion bid to buy out its partner Vodafone, reports Reuters.

The two sources said Verizon was considering a 50:50 cash and stock bid for the 45 percent stake it does not already own.

Vodafone investors and analysts said the $100 billion figure was too low and more of an opening gambit to bring the British firm to the table. Shares in Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, were up 2.6 percent.

The two sources who spoke to Reuters late on Wednesday said any deal would be structured such that the eventual tax bill would likely be $5 billion or less.

Analysts have said a sale of Verizon Wireless would enable Vodafone to return cash to shareholders, purchase fixed-line assets in Europe or potentially make the company an attractive takeover target for other telecom giants such as AT&T Inc.

The top five mobile carriers worldwide are China Mobile, Vodafone, América Móvil, Telefónica, and Bharti Airtel, which, several years ago, each had over 200 million subscribers.