Posts tagged models
Microsoft will cease introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those using the Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced.
Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.
Introduced in 2006, Zune never managed to break the Apple iPod’s grip. The iPod led the market with 77 percent of unit sales last year, while the Zune failed to crack the top five, according to NPD Group.
By adding the Zune features to the Windows Phone software, Microsoft aims to gain ground in mobile phones, where it’s lost market share to Google and Apple.
In an e-mailed statement, Microsoft said, “We have nothing to announce about another Zune device — but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via the Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America. … Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”
When CEO Steve Ballmer released the Zune more than four years ago, he predicted that Microsoft could one day overtake Apple.
In 2009, the company split the Zune team into software and hardware groups, letting the software people focus more on other platforms, such as phones, the Xbox video-game console and personal computers.
The company touted the Zune software as a key feature in its redesigned Windows mobile-phone operating system when it went on sale in October.
The Zune’s last completely new hardware model, the Zune HD, was released in 2009. A version that featured more storage went on sale a year later.
Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of the Zune, the person familiar with the matter said.
A Microsoft Zune media player. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will cease introducing new versions of the Zune music and video-player amid tepid demand, helping the company shift its focus to mobile phones, according to a person familiar with the decision.
The company will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones such as those running Microsoft’s Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.
Zune, introduced in 2006, failed to break into the rankings of the top five portable digital music players in the U.S. last year, according to NPD Group Inc. Market leader Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPod, made up 77 percent of units, NPD said. Microsoft is adding features to its Windows Phone software to help it reverse market share losses to Google Inc. (GOOG) and Apple.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer unveiled Zune with a prediction that Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft could one day overtake Apple.
“We can beat them, but it’s not going to be easy,” Ballmer said in a November 2006 interview.
Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of the Zune, the person familiar with the matter said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has concluded that the consumer benefits promised by the major incumbent telcos and the government have not arrived. As well, the CRTC’s failure to use traditional procedural rules, such as cross-examination, has resulted in consumers being shut out of the regulatory process.
The PIAC, an Ottawa-based consumer organization, claims in its 218-page report, “Waiting for the Dream, The Consumer Brief for Telecom Reform 2010”, that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has used “questionably low thresholds for competition” in exercising forbearance.
As a result, ordinary consumers are still not getting the benefits promised to them by industry competition. In particular, consumers have received few benefits from the policy decision in December 2006 by then Industry Minister Maxime Bernier that ordered the CRTC to use market forces to the maximum extent possible, and ensure that regulation was minimally intrusive.
PIAC’s report principally recommends that “policy makers and the regulator stop trying to make decisions based on untested economic theories and make sure that markets actually work for consumers”.
Not only did the report conclude that Canada has had a mediocre performance in broadband and wireless, the deregulation of cable and satellite services from deregulation of basic service has delivered the opposite effect to consumers that one would have expected from competitive markets.
PIAC’s report recommends that the government rescind the Policy Direction of December 2006, and establish a licensing regime for all carriers with codes of conduct in place for all licensees. It also recommends reforms to the CRTC operations, including the establishment of more powers and resources recommended by the Government’s Policy Review Panel Report of 2006.
The results promised at the time, including lower local telephone rates, have failed to materialize, the report says. The report does not advocate a return to regulation in the telecommunications industry. Rather, it recommends the government allow foreign competition and more liberal rules for small market players.
Three new wireless services have recently launched in Canada, Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile, but PIAC claims that none has captured any substantial share of the market. This view counters recent reports that, in fact, the wireless start-ups are hitting the incumbents hard, having picked up one-third of all new cellphone subscribers.
Mobilicity claims to have already gained 50,000 wireless subscribers in the quarter, with Wind Mobile chairman Anthony Lacavera claiming his company would be “well north of 200,000” subscribers by the end of 2010. Overall, analysts estimate that by the end of this quarter Wind will have grown by 75,000 subscribers, Mobilicity by 70,000, Public Mobile by 40,000.
Stakeholder interest has affected pricing and service landscape
In addition to encouraging more competition, the report suggests mandatory licensing for all phone companies with appropriate codes of conduct and meaningful enforcement.
The report says the average monthly cellphone cost in Canada, including voice, text and data, is C$67.50, compared with C$59.99 in the United States and C$32.40 in the United Kingdom. In Europe, there are also ceilings on roaming charges when mobile phone users travel from country to country.
However, one could argue that some progress has been made: Telus‘s broadband internet service, which starts at C$22 a month, is about half the price of what dial-up service cost 10 years ago. Wireless can start at C$20 a month.
The report concludes that the failure of the regulatory reform of the last two decades to deliver the goods for ordinary residential consumers is not one that has its roots in theory, but in practice. Here, the interests of powerful stakeholders have affected the service landscape.
In the same way that incumbent players used their political and economic influence and regulatory capture to get their way in the monopoly era of regulation, the winners have used the market-based system to their advantage, the report says. As a result, neither regulation nor deregulation will help if the decision making process is skewed by conditions and assumptions that favour some stakeholders over others.
Most importantly, says PIAC, the governance and regulation of the telecommunications industry in Canada must respond to results. For the most part, the restructuring of telecommunications has been guided by untested economic theories, largely provided by experts engaged by the largest stakeholders. The relatively poor performance of telecommunications service for ordinary consumers should have long ago engendered a review of the regulatory framework and market structure that is producing the same. In the last five years, the only acknowledged measure of success has been how fast telecommunications services have been deregulated, with predictable market results.
The solution – new models
According to PIAC, the solution is not a return to old regulation but new models. First of all, there are a variety of consumer issues associated with basic rights for information, quality of service, security of service, disconnections, privacy etc. that should be met by all carriers whether they are incumbent or not. Basic service, obligations to serve, complaints resolution, and burdens of service in uneconomic areas have to be in place for all players. The best way to ensure that this occurs is for mandatory licensing for all carriers, with appropriate codes of conduct and enforcement with meaningful force in the form of administrative monetary penalties. The Telecommunications Act should be amended to reflect these improvements.
The report argues that the CRTC has never examined whether the interests of users remain protected by competition in forborne markets where the evidence seems otherwise (BDUs and Internet). While incumbent providers are continually agitating for change where the results are not favourable to their interests, consumers have had no such opportunity.
As a result, PIAC concludes that the Policy Direction is an impediment to achieving fair, balanced, results-based regulation and should be rescinded. The sections of the TPR Report recommending the primacy of market forces are, at least in practice, problematic for fixing real market consumer problems. As well, there should be no winnowing down of the objectives in the Telecommunications Act, rather a clarification of their importance in relation to the specific powers of the CRTC.
While the report is in favour of efforts at liberalization of foreign ownership telecommunications rules for new entrants or small market players, it also warns that it is no solution to all consumer problems particularly those associated with quality of service. As well, current merger rules should be tightened to prevent any competitive benefits from flowing away from Canadian consumers.
Finally, the report endorses the recommendations of the TPR Report in terms of improving the research and professionalism of the CRTC. It also notes the importance of the adjudicative function of the Commission and recommends the use of traditional procedural rules such as cross-examination where the facts and issues at stake warrant. Public participation in telecommunications policy making requires more structural support by the regulator and the government. In broadcasting, there is a critical need to level the playing field for non-commercial public and consumer interests by resourcing representation at broadcasting hearings in a similar way to the practice in telecommunications.
Joos is the result of a long innings by members of the Okaya Power group which claims to live and breath batteries all day, all year after innovating and riding waves of opportunities presented to them every new business cycle in the Indian economy.
This “family of technocrats ,” as the founder O P Gupta points out, was transformed into a family of entrepreneurs once they decided to supply to the ever growing demand for computer monitors in the late eighties . India had witnessed a boom in assembled desktop computers at that time. O P Gupta’s deep knowledge in manufacturing when he was with the Birla’s as a project manager, helped a great deal.
Every two to three years he and his son Rajesh Gupta look back and identify their strengths and weaknesses. They analyse the market and capitalize on new opportunities . As a result, they have added a number of brands, many of which are not backed up by substantial operations. They work on the Indian businessman’s thumb rule – ‘give it a try, it may work, as a lot of people may make money from this a few months later.’
For instance, they have Alladin, a ‘service highway’ which is supposedly able to reach any point in the country in four hours. It is incidental that FINANCIAL TIMES has never heard about this service highway with a low profile. Then there is Okaya Solar which supplies batteries for solar street lighting, solar home lighting, solar rural electrification , solar power generation station, solar PV modules etc.
The latest example in a list of these futuristic forays is ‘Joos’ , the lithium mobile phone batteries with a brand that people will hopefully ask for by the trademark or tradename. The company plans to leverage its distribution strength for Okaya inverter batteries which is already in place throughout the country. This pride had crept into the announcements at the recent press conference where they announced two out of many things about Joos. One, Joos will be handled by an army of 1,100 distributors all over the country and Alladin – your wish is my command can reach anywhere in the country within four hours. God forbid if the team forgets its screwdriver!
What is so interesting about Joos is that the company Okaya Power Group refuses to get into the OEM picture and wants to remain a seller of replacement batteries .
The opportunity, as Rajesh Gupta keeps talking about is in replacement batteries and clearly does not lie in the area of OEM batteries for mobile phones. One is aware that mobile phone battery OEMs are flooded in Taiwan and China.
“Today , only Nokia makes its own handset batteries in India. The rest of the mobile companies outsource their batteries from OEMs all over the world. So we have a big market to cater to. Besides, we don’t consider Nokia or any other company to be our competitor as we don’t believe in competition with others. We set our own benchmark to provide the best to the end customers,” said Gupta. The cost of the product will be in the range between Rs 295 to Rs 995 depending upon the handsets . The Joos batteries will have features like built-in protection circuit modules, preventing over charging, over current and short circuit .