How much should a competitor to the iPad sell for?
Back when they came out, I said that tools like Tivo and Replay could change the face of television watching. A couple of years ago, I assumed that game boxes would be the new home media center. What I missed, though, was the end run that Tivo was doing around the game companies. With yesterday’s announcement that they would offer connectivity to computer platform, Tivo is placing itself square in the middle of the convergence world. Their strategy is simple: focus on the core engine and use the PC as a storage area. It is braindead simple logic. The Tivo box comes with a big hard drive but it is mostly filled with TV programming. Alternately, the box does not need to provide web surfing as attempts by companies like AOL and Microsoft have failed in that space, probably bringing on the realization that most people don’t want to surf on their television sets. Thus, Tivo leaves the download of music to computers for now. The reason I am saying for now is that I expect them to eventually offer a more widespread network connectivity set in the future. However, they realize that most Tivo users are probably already computer…Read More
Reports that AT&T is planning on introducing a pre-paid card for online content show some potential new developments in the online space. If we were to follow the model further, we could see something new developing, with companies offering a basket of content for a fixed price. For example, imagine you would like to get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal online, access to some downloadable music, and latest sports stats. What if you could subscribe to a single service that would allow you to pay for all of those in one shot (and maybe receive a rebate as a result)? This is not dissimilar to the model currently used by cable television. In the United States, cable television has what is called a tiered structure. That means that channels are grouped in packages that are then sold as a whole. The most basic service includes the regular “free” networks (for people who have low or no reception), the next package above that generally offers an extended set that includes CNN, ESPN and a bunch of other channels. Then, on the third tier, you can buy more expensive channels like HBO or Showtime, which are not supported by advertising.…Read More
Today’s announcement about Cisco’s acquisition of Linksys is one that leaves me scratching my head a little. What is the logic behind this? Could this represent a change in Cisco’s strategy? Or is it a realization in the part of the networking equipment vendor that its future may not be enhanced by moving into the now heavily depressed telecommunication field. Let’s imagine for a second what this could do in the long term. First of all, by acquiring Linksys, Cisco gets a strong foothold in the small office/home office market as well as the hobbyist/consumer market. Why? Largely because this is where Linksys’ strength is. What Cisco gets out of this is a new source of revenues in a market it has had troubles getting into. The announcement that they will not change the name of the company and will let it run as an independent unit seems to point to that end. Second, it provides Linksys with strong support in enterprise sales. Linksys has been getting into the enterprise largely through the back-door, with employees installing cheap wireless routers in offices. Now, with Cisco’s backing they can get into the enterprise as part of a more complete solution. The…Read More
This week, Microsoft launched the Xbox, a new gaming system that takes the Redmond giant into another market. Today, Nintendo is unveiling the GameCube, their new entry in a battle they have fought with Sony for many years. With these new gaming stations entering the market, a new war is starting and in the end, it is a war that may change the way we all watch TV, listen to music, get movies, or play games. As many of you already know, the game station is a small box that attaches to your TV and on which you can play video games. However, the firepower of new generation boxes now on the market is now equivalent or higher than that of most computers. The main logic behind this was that gamers wanted a more realistic experience and crunching 3D representation in an ever-changing environment required more and more processing power. Playstation 2 opens the gate Last year, Sony introduced the Sony Playstation 2, a new gaming system that included a built-in DVD player and a 3D graphic engine that made computer video card look ridiculously outdated. At that time, Sony admitted that their goal was to go beyond games and…Read More