Monday, June 26, 2006

Back in Blighty

Well, I promised that my absence from the blogorama would coincide with some big events, and here are just a few, as well as some other bits and pieces potentially of interest. I haven't really had a chance to catch up on blogs or anything else, so apologies for any unintended repetition:

Nokia-Siemens: I don't think anyone was particularly surprised about this, and from my perspective I'm most intrigued about how the dynamics in the battle for the home gateway (and all the FMC developments around it) change as a result.

Linux for mobile got a big shot in the arm.

Elsewhere, Microsoft fired a number of barrels at once in its quest for the unified communications Holy Grail, announcing a number of partners in its "ecosystem," one of which is Siemens, which will "advance the transformation of telephony, audio-, video- and webconferencing, instant messaging and e-mail into a single unified communications platform".

The Amsterdam FTTH project won its court battle against UPC, following a broadly successful outcome in the separate vote in Parliament. However, this is not the end of the story, and I expect the cable lobby to try some other approaches - watch this space.

KPN struck a deal giving it a controlling stake in iBasis, which we all know is a key supplier of international termination to Skype, and more recently Yahoo! I think this deal pretty clearly shows that KPN management "gets it" and is trying to claw back some value from the VoIM shift which is occurring, and frankly I'm surprised that no other incumbents have made moves in this direction. Is Level(3) in someone's sights?

FMC in the UK got a bit harder as Telefonica/O2 took out UK start-up Be, which means I'm only 50% as likely to have to eat my shorts as I promised here.

Henry Sinnreich has joined Adobe. Contemplate for a moment the number of desktops globally which support some version of Flash (think "all of them"), then consider the growing number of sites/communities built in Flash (YouTube for a start), and then think about how Adobe might want to capitalize on that valuable real estate poisition by incorporating voice, video and presence. Then be afraid, be very afraid. (Also check out Richard's other interesting posts on the events he has been attending.)

I received a semi-anonymous email alerting me to another third-party Skype directory service, in which I could find myself, but so far none of my other contacts...

Here's some interesting coverage of the coming MVNO wave in Japan. I'm curious as to why Willcom is not mentioned. This is a company which, to my mind, is positioning itself to exploit just such a development. I was very impressed with the management team, which I was fortunate enough to meet up with a couple of months ago in London.

Vonage continued to shed market cap, edging ever closer to the $1bn valuation which I speculated about some months ago.

Yet another survey, this time from Germany, shows that prosecutions have no long term effect on file sharing behavior.

EuroTelcoland continued its stunningly awful form, underperforming STOXX 600 by 3.5% in the period I was away, bringing it to 6.6% underperformance year-to-date, once again the worst sector by a wide margin.

On a more personal note, on my travels in the USA I had an opportunity to try out both the XM and Sirius satellite radio products, and I was hugely impressed. My brother, who spends a lot of time on the road, would sooner chop off his right arm than give up his Sirius service, and his view is that Sirius is mopping the floor with XM, a view supported by the share price performance of the two over the past month. Also, returning home from the airport early yesterday morning, we saw a Sky engineer pulling up at our next door neighbors' house to do an HD multiroom install. It seemed to take a long time to complete, though on the positive side my neighbor said he only placed the order last week. I will be interested to get their views on the service.

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