Digital Day 11-01-11 Reading List

Today is digital (binary) day and the date is 11-01-11, though the 2-digit year masks the fact that it’s 1000 years too late.  The year isn’t even over and it has already shaped up to be one of the more interesting, if not most turbulent, years of any person born after the 1960s.  The unofficial motto for the year is “no jobs, no cash, and no hope,” though the technology sector and stock market are showing some life, and fingers are crossed that Main Street will eventually follow.  (Hopefully the prime minister of Greece won’t be allowed to derail the European Union bailout.)

At the top of our tech reading list, Richard Bennett has a great post on the “Spectrum Deficit Disorder.”  It’s worth a full read but in a nutshell, Bennett cites an FCC chart showing that we will run out of network expansion spectrum by the end of 2012 and he explains why more spectrum is the most economical way to increase wireless capacity.  New towers are an option, those are major brick and mortar projects that involves building new towers and new back hauls.  And that’s without even addressing the years of local regulatory hurdles that stand in the way of new cell tower applications.

In other news, in the far East, Korea has fined a half dozen LCD maker companies $176 million for collusion on price fixing between 2001 and 2006.  The companies included three Samsung subsidiaries, LG, AU Optronics, Chimei Innolux, Chungwha Picture Tubes, and HannStar Display.  The parent Samsung apparently tipped off the authorities and was not fined.  The competition seems to be heavy enough that many of the LCD makers are selling at material cost.

In Q3 of 2011, Apple seems to have fallen behind Samsung and HTC in US smartphone shipments while RIM (Blackberry) has nearly imploded in the US market within the last year.  Though some may argue that Apple reports actual units sold whereas the others are reporting shipped, and that it is probably that Apple will see a substantial recovery in Q4 because of its new iPhone 4S, the fact that Apple has dropped to 20% market share in the US in Q3-2011 is significant.

The FCC forcasts $50 billion dollars of private sector and government subsidies for rural broadband deployment within the next 6 years.  That’s good news for rural Americans and hopefully means more economic recovery.

It would seem that 2011 would be the year of reverse “cord cutting”.  Verizon and AT&T gained TV subscribers while Netflix lost 800,000 subscribers and saw their stratospheric stock drop from $300 to $82.  Content, it seems, is still king.

President Obama has nominated two new FCC commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Varadaraj Pai.

Lastly, a must read for all tech bloggers on how to get on Techmeme.

  • Richard Bennett

    I don’t think we really know where Apple and Samsung stand in relation to market share. While Apple reports iPhone sales every quarter, Samsung reports neither sales nor shipments, so the stories going around on this subject are all based on the estimates of one market research company, Strategy Analytics. Some commenters correctly observe that the SA numbers are less than reliable:

    “Apple “sold” 17 million iPhones and Samsung “shipped” some number that Strategy Analytics pulled out of their ass.”

    We don’t know how many of these alleged shipments are ever going to sell, how many are Windows OS phones, and how many are even smartphones of any description.

    So I wouldn’t make much of this story except to remark that Strategy Analytics is offering up some link bait.

    Another brilliant market researcher, Canalys, claims that HTC out-shipped both Samsung and Apple in Q3, based on a similar methodology:

    “Research firm Canalys reported this week that the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer was the top smartphone vendor in the United States in the third quarter of 2011, as its 5.7 million estimated shipments gave it nearly a quarter of the U.S. smartphone market share. In taking the top spot in the U.S. smartphone market for the quarter, HTC beat out rivals Samsung, which shipped 4.9 million smartphones in the quarter, and Apple, which shipped 4.6 million smartphones in the quarter.”

    Take your pick.

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