Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

U.S. No Longer a Wireless Backwater

September 9, 2008

Today, my colleague Olga Kharif wrote a surprising story reporting that the U.S. is no longer a wireless backwater, according to new survey data from researchers comScore M:Metrics and Nielsen Mobile. How so?

Chalk it up to the proliferation of third generation networks, the surge in demand for smartphones like the Apple iPhone, and Google’s push into wireless software. All of these factors are sparking a burst of wireless innovation.

Consider some facts from the story:

* In the past year, the U.S. surpassed Western Europe in the number of subscribers to the high-speed networks known as 3G, according to consultancy comScore M:Metrics (SCOR).

* While a year ago 6% of Americans who bought phones purchased smartphones, capable of Web

* The U.S. is now neck and neck with Western Europe in use of short text messages (SMS), multimedia messaging, and mobile games. More Americans, meanwhile, use mobile e-mail and instant messaging, according to Nielsen Mobile.

* Mobile Web browsing in the U.S. is also on a tear, but it’s still a few percentage points behind the Europeans. Some 17% of Americans browse on the mobile Web, compared to 20% of Western Europeans, according to Nielsen.

What’s Behind the iPhone’s Glitch

August 15, 2008

My colleague Peter Burrows wrote an interesting story yesterday explaining why Apple’s iPhone seems to have come down with a dropped call problem.

The culprit? Those damn computer chips. In this case, Burrows reports that it’s a “communications chip made by Munich-based Infineon Technologies (IFX). Faulty software on the chip causes problems when the iPhone needs to switch from wireless networks that allow for faster Web downloads to slower ones, the people say. ”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Two quick and related thoughts:
1. This is good news for RIMM. Any reports of problems with the basic functionality of the iPhone will give some people pause before investing in a new device, however cool it is.

2. This is a negative for Apple’s efforts to make inroads with corporate buyers. CIOs want reliability and don’t want to be bothered with phone calls from irate execs complaining that their iPhone keeps dropping calls. That’s partly what got Sprint into hot water. If these problems persist, RIMM’s Blackberry will be seen as the IBM of mobile computing, a safe choice, as in no CIO ever got fired for buying Blackberries.

IBM, eBay, Google: Tech Earnings Season Preview (Plus the iPhone App Store)

July 13, 2008

In this week’s broadcast of the Digital Dish, the BW tech team talks about Microsoft’s support for Carl Icahn’s moves to oust the board at Yahoo and revive takeover talks. Plus, the upcoming earnings season, and of course, the iPhone.

Check out the video here.

Notes on Apple’s New iPhone and Application Store

July 11, 2008

The first reports about Apple’s new iPhone and Application store are coming in. TechCrunch focused on the top applications that consumers are snapping up. Super Monkey Ball is the top seller, with MLB At Bat in the second slot. So games and sports apps continue to drive the mobile Web.

And Bank of America stock analyst David Barden this morning published his field notes about Apple stores in New York. It appears that demand for the new iPhone is solid but not as exuberant as it was for the initial launch. Kind of what I expected. Check out the field notes:

7:45am NYC apple store location. 60 people in line. First person lined up last night. Doorman says compared to last year this is ‘very relaxed’

8:00am First 20 allowed into the store. Applause from staff. 3-4x normal staff are present

8:05am Store manager appears. He’s optimistic about ATT subscription process. AT&T has not trained their folks, Apple folks practiced on the iTunes website.

8:10am Handfull of print journalists appear and some photographers

8:16am First successful customer emerges. Upgrader from a 2G phone. Said process was smooth but definitely lengthy. About 60 in the store now

8:30am Customers being let in at 5 and 10 increments. Things seem to be moving slowly

8:40am Line has grown now to 250+ covering about 2 sides of the city block, but things moving slowly

AT&T store

8:05am 20 people in the store. About 80 in line. Store staff says bigger than last year.

8:15am Staff having systems problems signing up new AT&T customers. System is crashing. Staff says this is a repeat of last year and ‘was expected’.

8:20am This location has 100 units in inventory, so clearly going to sell out soon. Expecting re-stock delivery later today. Seems strange the stock wouldn’t be on hand if it was available. Expect long lines today.

Can RIMM Beat Back Apple? Is Wind Power for Real?

June 28, 2008

In this week’s Digital Dish, BusinessWeek reporters Spencer Ante, Heather Green, Steve Hamm and Catherine Holahan decode RIM’s earnings, discuss the promise of wind power and evaluate Yahoo’s reorganization.

Check out the video here.

What to Expect from the New iPhone

June 8, 2008

In this week’s Digital Dish, BW’s tech team discusses Verizon’s $28 billion Alltel bid, Carl Icahn’s manuevers to push Yahoo into Microsoft’s arms, and the demise of eBay auctions. On the sunny side: Apple’s new iPhones.

Is Kleiner Perkins’s Apple-Focused iFund a Good Idea?

March 7, 2008

One of the most interesting things that came out of Apple’s announcement that it was entering the corporate wireless market was the news of the Kleiner Perkins iFund. According to the statement on KP’s Web site, “iFund is a $100M investment initiative that will fund market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform. . . Focus areas include location based services, social networking, mCommerce (including advertising and payments), communication, and entertainment.”

iFund is the latest example of an emerging trend in venture capital: platform-specific VC funds. By a large measure it is also the largest venture fund ever devoted to a single technology platform. In 2007, several funds were created exclusively to invest in Facebook applications. Last July, Silicon Valley VC fund Bay Partners caught some flack when it earmarked a few million dollars for investment in Facebook developers. In September, marquee firms The Founders Fund and Accel Partners (an investor in Facebook itself) launched a $10 million fund for Facebook applications called FBFund.

Kleiner Perkins is putting its top talent in charge of the fund. iFund will be managed by KPCB Partner Matt Murphy in collaboration with partners Chi-Hua Chien, John Doerr, Bill Joy, Randy Komisar, Ellen Pao and Ted Schlein.

So is it a good idea? Sure–especially if you are arguably the premier VC firm in the world. So far, platforms like Facebook have fueled an explosion in software development and wealth creation. The most popular Facebook applications, derisively referred to as widget makers, have created businesses that are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars–and the business model for social networks and widgets is still in its infancy. Kleiner Perkins is betting that the iPhone represents a similar breakthrough in computing, and that it will be able to pick the winners of the market. With so much potentially at stake, that’s a bet worth taking.

One Kleiner Perkins alum has already set himself up to make a killing off of Facebook. Khosla Ventures, the firm started by Kleiner Perkins affiliated partner (and former General Partner) Vinod Khosla, has shown the foresight and brilliance to invest in two of Facebook’s blockbuster apps–Slide and iLike.

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Can Apple’s iPhone Crack the Corporate Market?

March 6, 2008

Today, Apple’s Steve Jobs is expected to announce a strategy to use its Web-browsing iPhone to move into the corporate market. Shares of Blackberry maker RIMM dropped 4% yesterday on the expectation.

The iPhone is a great consumer product, no doubt. But there’s a lot of reasons to believe that Apple won’t have nearly as much success nearly as soon as it has achieved in the consumer market. My colleague Peter Burrows wrote a smart skeptical analysis of the iPhone prospects and challenges in penetrating Corporate America. The challenges include:

– Apple needs to build up credibility with corporate buyers after years of largely ignoring them.
– Apple may have to change its business model to cater to their needs, and it’ll have to be more open with partners, so independent software developers can create applications for the iPhone that corporations want.
– To take on RIM, experts say Apple will need to develop server technology far more complex than what it has today.
– The iPhone’s keyboard may need a rethink.

Even though I too am skeptical of this venture, I think it is a smart long-term strategy. I just think the financial returns won’t materialize for a while as Apple retools its operations to cater to the far more demanding road warriors and executives in corporations.

On the other hand, I believe RIMM’s moves downstream into the consumer market are already bearing fruit. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of friends and colleagues buying the new Pearl or Curve smart phones, or expressing an interest in buying one. So this seems like more of a buying opportunity for RIMM.

What do you think?

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