FryUp: Three of the best

Bad things come in threes for Telecom

Kin awesome

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Let’s see, Microsoft’s social networker phone doesn’t have an instant messaging client. No calendar, no Outlook support, no Youtubes, no universal email inbox and it syncs every fifteen minutes only.

You can’t upload pics and videos to Twitter, and you can’t edit them either.

Someone call next of kin, because this phone is dead.

The curious thing about Microsoft Kin

Three of the best

It’s all in threes for Telecom from now on. The lowered earnings for the next three years are due to less or no money coming in from TLAs such as the TSO, MTR and UFB; to cope with hundreds of millions of dollars less in the kitty, CEO Reynolds says Telecom will “re-focus” on Mobile, Broadband and ICT services. Oh, and at least two hundred managers will get the chop too. Refocusing on the three areas above is common sense but it’s going to be hard work for everyone involved as a merciless cost-cutting programme is underway. This year alone, almost quarter of a billion dollars will be sliced off for instance. Hardly a salad daze scenario then for the new head of mobile, Kieren Cooney. If he wobbles as the new Mr XT, his already hot seat will turn into Prince Edmund’s chair equipped with a coddling grinder, the attributes of which we needn’t go into.

Yesterday’s media presentation had analysts savage Reynolds on a range of financial issues with journalists mostly listening in as for some reason, pressing *1 to ask questions didn’t work properly. The analysts did a good job of the interrogation however, and a clearly flustered Reynolds stumbled on his words while CFO Houlden read out a well-rehearsed script like a fully automated financial prognostication machine. One of the curious things that came out of the media presentation was that Telecom didn’t anticipate the Ultra Fast Broadband fibre to the premises initiative from the government, three to four years’ ago. Instead, it decided to invest in the existing copper network. If that really is the case, it’s a remarkable admission that a comparatively short amount of time ago, Telecom had no idea what the future would hold and again picked the wrong technology to put money into — copper instead of fibre. In Reynolds’ words, this is “wasted investment and effort” so now there’s a need to realign the copper and fibre worlds, starting with regulatory relief and possibly also spinning off the infrastructure arm, Chorus, into an independent company. Taking that into account, it becomes obvious why Telecom Wholesale’s CEO Matt Crockett jumped ship earlier this week. It’s not clear where Wholesale fits into Reynolds’ New Model Telecom with an independent Chorus presumably keen to sell directly to access seekers. Tellingly, there was no mention of Wholesale in yesterday’s presentation. As for AAPT, did Telecom plonk down billions on the amalgamated telco so as to be able to watch a real-life horror story of a landline operation slowly but surely carking it by haemorrhaging money in a competitive environment? Whatever the reason, Telecom has been trying to sell AAPT for years now, and it may be time for the NZ incumbent to take what it can get and be done with it. — Updated: Telecom cuts financial guidance

200 management jobs slated to go at Telecom

Telecom bows to government pressure

Telecom pleads for regulatory relief

Holding hostages

The big problem facing telcos today is that while Google can replicate their business, the telcos cannot do a Google and make bazillions out of the internet.

Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Telefónica’s demands that Google has to pay to use their network smack of desperation and is hardly fair. If Google were to pay the telcos for traffic it sends to their networks, shouldn’t the telcos pay Google too for not just the traffic, but also the services that customers buy Internet access and pay data and connection charges for?

The value of the internet to people lies in the fact that it’s a network with a huge amount of hosts connected to it. That’s a no-brainer, and if you reduce the network, or make it more awkward and costly for people to reach the material they want, the damage will be routed around. Someone will see it as a business opportunity, or in the case of Google, build its own network reaching end customers.

We are reminded of TelstraClear dropping peering with Iconz in 2003 and asking providers to pay to reach customers on its network in 2004. Six years after, it would be a good idea to revisit that decision by the Aussie-owned telco, to see how it went.

TelstraClear’s peering policies doesn’t seem to have helped YouTube performance, much to its customers’ buffering anger. On TelstraClear’s network, pinging www.youtube.com gives you a ~200ms round-trip time to the United States:

PING youtube-ui.l.google.com (72.14.213.102): 56 data bytes

64 bytes from 72.14.213.102: icmp_seq=0 ttl=48 time=199.299 ms

Other ISPs such as Orcon do it differently and pick up YouTube traffic closer to home, a mere 40 or so milliseconds away in Sydney. As a result, some TelstraClear cable customers on allegedly super-fast 10Mbit/s connections receive YouTubes at 374kbit/s whereas Orconites on DSL beat the global average speed slightly with 3.42Mbit/s downloads.

Google accused of Youtube ‘free ride’

NZNOG: irked with TelstraClear

TelstraClear starts de-peering this week

YouTube on TelstraClear cable is crap

Google YouTube on TelstraClear

XKCD

Seat Selection

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X Cringely

Steve Jobs vs. the world

Apple's CEO rules iPhone development with an iron fist and his arrogance knows no bounds. But a palace rebellion may be brewing Contrary to popular belief in certain circles, Steve Jobs can't actually walk on water. But you wouldn't know it based on how he and his company have been acting of late. Item No. 1: Over the weekend, a minor kerfuffle erupted when Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber noticed Apple had updated its Developer Program License Agreement to ban apps written using a cross-platform compiler. More specifically, "applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine," effectively nixing Adobe's Flash and causing Mac developer and blogger Hank Williams to declare, "Steve Jobs has just gone mad." Per Williams: "Take a pause and think about what that 'originally' really means. Developers are not free to use any tools to help them. ...This is akin to telling people what kind of desk people sit at when they write software for the iPhone. Or perhaps what kind of music they listen to. Or what kind of clothes they should be wearing. This is *INSANE*." In response, Adobe product evangelist Lee Brimelow suggested Apple perform an act of love upon itself (that's the PG-rated version). He writes: "Personally I will not be giving Apple another cent of my money until there is a leadership change over there. I've already moved most of my book, music, and video purchases to Amazon and I will continue to look elsewhere. ... But this is equivalent to me walking into Macy's to buy a new wallet and the salesperson spits in my face. Chances are I won't be buying my wallets at Macy's anymore, no matter how much I like them." After Brimelow posted his screed, Adobe made him issue a disclaimer stating this was purely his opinion, not Adobe's. Still, according to IT World's Steven Jay Vaughn, the company is on the verge of suing Apple.

Item No. 2: Now that the iPad is off Steve's bucket list, he seems to have a lot of time on his hands to respond to developer emails. (The nuts at eSarcasm have uncovered a slew of other allegedly "lost" Jobs emails.) Mostly, he seems to be saying suck eggs. You don't like my rules, go develop for Android. Take app developer ContactPad. Last week, Apple informed the company that its journalPad program could no longer be sold in the App Store. The reason? It infringed Apple's trademark on the word "pad." When ContactPad developer Chris Ostmo emailed Steve Jobs to complain, he got this characteristically terse Jobsian reply: "It's just common sense to not use another company's trademarks in your app name." There's only one problem: Apple doesn't own the trademark on the word "pad". It's certainly not on the list of generic terms Apple has trademarked (which includes Aqua, Cocoa, Carbon, Charcoal, Chicago, Gadget, Geneva, Logic, Numbers, Pages, Sand, Shuffle, and Tubes). No, Apple is simply arrogant enough to assert it owns the word merely by its inclusion in the name of an Apple product. Watch out MaxiPad, QuickMart, and Looney Tunes — you may be next. Memo to Apple: Making cool products does not give you carte blanche to act like flaming appholes. (Note: The phrase "flaming appholes" is not yet an Apple trademark, but that probably won't stop them from claiming it.) Why do picayune decisions about App Store approvals matter? Because it's not just the App Store — this level of control freakishness is built into Apple's DNA (and by Apple, I really mean Jobs). Because when it comes to integrating technology into our daily lives, Apple is driving the bus, and it wants to be able to say who can or can't get on and where the rest of us can or can't get off. It's a shift away from open systems and toward closed proprietary ones, and that almost never ends well. You'd think Jobs was taking lessons from the Chinese government. Or maybe he's giving them. Has Apple gone too far? Weigh in below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

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