Keynote from Eric Smith at IFA Berlin yesterday. Great perspective on Connected TV. (Via GSMA Mobile)
Google CEO Eric Schmidt used his closing keynote presentation yesterday at this year’s IFA conference in Berlin to reveal his company’s future plans and strategy around Android, search and television.
Kicking off with his previously proclaimed notion of a ‘Mobile First’ strategy (noting that the mobile Web is growing eight times faster than the equivalent desktop Web model of ten years ago, as well as the fact smartphone sales will soon surpass PC sales), Google’s head man focused initially on his company’s efforts in the search sector. He stated that one in three queries from smartphones are concerned with search, and that mobile search traffic grew 50 percent in the first half of 2010, “growing much quicker than everything else.” Search traffic from Android phones tripled in the first half of 2010, he claimed.
To that end, Schmidt spoke of the idea of "information at your fingertips,” giving the example of a tourist using a smartphone to find his way to a particular historic building via the phone's navigation software, and then using the phone's camera and object recognition software to relay information about that particular building to the tourist. "You can know literally everything," said Schmidt. "It's fantastic. And this is only going to become more pervasive."
More consolidation in India wireless telecom ahead ! (Via GSMA)
UAE operator Etisalat is reportedly eyeing a stake in India’s Idea Cellular as part of ongoing efforts to boost its presence in the world’s second-largest mobile market. In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Etisalat’s CEO for international investments, Jamal Al-Jarwan, said that Idea was one of the “many options” the Middle Eastern group was looking at in India. However, he declined to comment on the status of rumoured talks with R-Com, India’s second-largest mobile operator, which yesterday said a separate deal to sell its towers business had collapsed, and it had begun discussions with other potential investors.
In June it was reported that Etisalat was in talks to buy a 25 percent stake in R-Com, but Bloomberg suggests that sixth-placed Idea could be a more attractive opportunity. It notes that Idea is currently India’s best performing telecoms stock and has about a third of the net debt of R-Com; Idea’s net debt is INR96.5 billion (US$2.1 billion), while R-Com’s net debt was INR284 billion at the end of June. However, any future investment in India by Etisalat is complicated by the fact that the UAE operator already owns around 45 percent in local operator Etisalat DB Telecom. Under existing regulations which prevent a single entity holding more than a 10 percent stake in two or more companies, Etisalat will need to sell this stake in order to invest in a rival operator. Neither of Idea’s two main shareholders – India’s Aditya Birla Group (46 percent) and Malaysia’s Axiata Group (19 percent) – were prepared to comment on the Bloomberg story.
Once again European unions making lots of noise ... But did you know that France is actually one of the least unionized countries in the world ? Less than 8% ... But sure number one on the union noise meter ... (via GSMA)
France Telecom has denied speculation that it is planning to forge closer ties with German rival Deutsche Telekom following the move by Deutsche Bank to raise its stake in the French group. "There is no plan to bring together France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom," a France Telecom spokesperson told Reuters. The comments followed warnings from French unions that yesterday's decision by the German bank to raise its shareholding in France Telecom beyond the 5 percent threshold could lead to a "profound change” in the group’s ownership structure. The French CFE-CGC/UNSA union said the development was potentially “a precursor to consolidation operations that are liable to change the world of telecoms in Europe.” The union also called for an extraordinary meeting with France Telecom to find out the “the steps the company's management intends to take to protect France Telecom's independence."
The France Telecom spokesperson today played down the prospect of a merger between the two European telecom giants, noting that the two firms would only discuss specific areas of collaboration on a case-by-case basis. This appears to be a reference to the situation in the UK, where France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom recently merged their respective mobile units – Orange UK and T-Mobile UK – to create the country’s largest mobile operator as part of a new joint venture called Everything Everywhere.
This is old news from Monday 08/29 but significant. Cisco already has Webex and has been struggling for quite sometime to build a consumer brand around their collaborative products. Are we thinking about a Cisco Skype a la FexEx Kinko's ?
Cisco is reported to be interested in acquiring VoIP firm Skype, according to a TechCrunch report that cites unnamed sources. The article notes that, since Skype recently filed for an IPO that is believed to be aimed at generating a valuation of around US$5 billion, Cisco would be digging deep into its pockets. TechCrunch claims Google was also rumoured to be interested in buying Skype, “but antitrust concerns may have persuaded them not to make an actual offer.”
Skype was founded in August 2003 and acquired by eBay for US$1.9 billion in cash two years later. It currently has 560 million registered users and about 124 million of them are active on a monthly basis, while about 8.1 million of them are monthly paying users. For the first six months of 2010, Skype reported revenue of US$406 million, and net income of US$13.2 million. It has recently embarked on a major charm offensive with mobile operators in an effort to move into this space. GigaOm notes that if Cisco does buy Skype, it would be the first time the router and switch maker would enter the world of services. “An entry into services would put the company in competition with many of its customers, especially the telephone and cable companies,” notes a GigaOm posting.