FryUp: Mobile penetration, ouch

A beautiful hack, a cosy duopoly and buyers beware

Moot takes the marble cake

It takes the likes of 4Chan to come up with something like this. Beautiful and all for the lulz. Too bad, Time. Inside the precision hack

Mobile penetration, ouch

New Zealand is a case study on how a cosy mobile duopoly will use pseudo-competition to maintain high margins on simple products and services that don’t cost them much to deliver. There’s little doubt about that. Where else in the world would you get people buying two handsets, one from Telecom and another from Vodafone, just to have affordable texting? Even then, it’s probably something of a stretch to say the current 108% mobile penetration rate — and I’m sure there’s a better term than that — is totally due to the lack of competition here. While it’s true that ring-fencing customer bases with the help of low on-net charging and steep costs for calls to competitors’ networks is evil, we need some more details to understand the extent of the problem In the 108% penetration rate, how many devices are telemetry ones for instance, and data cards? I have to be honest and say that you don’t see very many kids these days carrying two mobile phones for texting… Two-phone solution to mobile duopoly

Caveat mobile emptor

Here’s a scammer that does almost everything right: a professional looking website, nice products and a sheen of legitimacy to go with it all. But, as Tracey Forward found out, it’s not quite so: buymore.co.nz appears to be bogus. There are few identifying details for the allegedly rogue e-commerce operator, but this bank account, as per the site ordering form, would seem to belong to the person: kiwi BANK , NEW ZEALAND ACCOUNT NO: 38-9008-0265012-00 Name: Tang SWIFT Code: CITINZ2X Make of that what you will. Buyers warned over mobile phone website

The long wait for Play TV Here's a good example of why standards are so important. Sony's Play TV has been coming to NZ since, well, 2007 and it still isn't here. Why? Lot's of reasons, some to do with companies not sticking to accepted technology standards forcing others to undertake timely and expensive ad hoc development. Sony Play TV launch to boost Freeview

XKCD Well 2

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X Cringely So Yahoo and Microsoft walk into a bar and — wait, you've heard this one?

Just when you thought it was dead and buried, the Microsoft/Yahoo soap opera returns. Will these two aging paramours ever hook up? A sufficient period of mourning has passed, and now the relentless suitor once again approaches the object of its affections. I am speaking, of course, of Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Yahoo's newish CEO, Carol Bartz, who met last week to discuss — well, not marriage, exactly, but a kind of friendship with benefits. Per the New York Times: The discussions are in early stages and may not lead to any agreement... They have centred on ways for the companies to pool their advertising efforts, including a possible partnership under which Microsoft would sell search ads for Yahoo, and Yahoo, in turn, would sell display ads on Microsoft properties, this person said. It sounds like the classic "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, and later on we'll sneak into Google's bedroom and hold a pillow over its face until it stops struggling" kind of deals. Except, of course, they don't make pillows that big. I suspect Ballmer has been waiting for Bartz to get her head around just how huge a threat Google is to their online revenue streams so she'd be more receptive to his oily charms. At least one Wall Street analyst estimates the deal could put from $250 million to $450 million in Yahoo's pockets — which would be significantly more enticing than that diamond brooch Ballmer slipped into Bartz's dessert. And so it goes, the endless dance between two aging giants, like the high school quarterback and the homecoming queen who finally manage to hook up at their 30-year reunion. I get the feeling I'll be writing about this right up until the moment I retire or go insane, whichever comes first. (I'm betting on the latter. You?) The whole Microsoft/Yahoo affair reminds me of a slightly risque joke: A shy young prince and a beautiful virgin princess are wed in an arranged marriage. The king, worried the pair would not consummate their union, dispatched a page to spy on their wedding night. The next day the page returned to the King to deliver his report. "Well?" the King demanded. "The princess began by saying, 'Sir, I offer you my honour.'" "Good," said the King. "Then?" "The prince replied, 'Madame, I honour your offer'." "That's it?" said the King. "Yes, your highness. That's how it went all night. Honour, offer, honour, offer." Will Bartz offer her honour to Ballmer? (I'm not trying hard to not picture that scenario in my brain.) Can a Yahoo-Microsoft hookup do anything to derail the Google Express? Tune in next week (and the week after that, and so on) and we might yet find out.

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