There was a whole lot of excitement last week as
) announced a consortium to increase global connectivity,
) Steve Ballmer announced his departure and
) sites overtook
) sites in terms of the number of unique visitors.
Facebook: Connectivity Reaches Next Level
Facebook is taking steps to ensure that its services are
available to all. So even if you live in a developing country or
remote area where Internet connectivity is difficult and/or
expensive, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about you.
Facebook has put a billion dollars into a consortium that will
work toward the increase of connectivity in these areas.
Naturally, this is going to be no easy task, so it has roped in
other interested parties, such as Samsung,
). It is expected that others will soon join the party.
Facebook is already popular among the Internet population in
these regions, so suitable infrastructure should support further
growth. While the company's proliferation in emerging markets may
not yield the kind of revenues and profits it typically generates
from the relatively mature markets, it should gain significantly
from the sheer volume.
Zuckerberg estimates that just a third of the global
population (roughly 2.7 billion people) is connected to the
Internet. Over 42% of the connected population use Facebook every
month. So if the remaining 5.4 billion can be connected,
Facebook's user base has the potential to grow 96%. Add to that
the fact that population keeps growing (at a faster rate in
developing countries) and Facebook's own growth initiatives, and
the growth potential seems staggering.
Google, which also thrives on connectivity, is likely to be a
major beneficiary, but it's unclear yet whether it will join in.
That's because it is already part of several initiatives to spur
connectivity across the world.
Back in 2008, it invested in O3b Networks to bring satellite
connectivity to all, joining companies like SES (a satellite
operator with 50 geostationary satellites),
) (a cable company with international operations) and other
financial institutions and banks. A couple of months back, O3b
launched its first four medium earth orbit (translation:
The initial $1.3 billion raised will fund 12 satellites and
support the company until it generates sufficient revenue. O3b
has already signed up several telecom providers and ISPs
including Maju Nusa of Malaysia and West Africa Telecom of
Google is also working on Project Loon, which is basically a
network of balloons shot up into the sky transmitting signals
that can be picked up by special rooftop antennas. A beta run is
in progress in New Zealand.
Microsoft: Riding Ballmer's Departure
Investors applauded Ballmer's decision to retire from the
company after 33 years. When Ballmer took the helm, Microsoft was
a flourishing software business. The company has come a long way
since then, but there have been many hiccups along the course.
Earlier this year, Ballmer spearheaded a major restructuring that
streamlined operations and was probably the first step toward
finally letting go.
Ballmer has said that his decision hinged on his belief that
he was doing what was best for the company. Which seems to
indicate that the following year (to be spent looking for a
replacement) will see a dynamic personality with experience and
understanding of the trends taking over.
While an internal candidate (Julie Larsen-Green, Satya
Nadella, Kevin Turner) may be chosen, an outside candidate seems
more likely. Not someone like Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, but someone
lower down the ranks with a suitable personality. It will be
interesting to see if Microsoft poaches a young Google executive
the way Yahoo did.
Yahoo! The New Cool
Yahoo has been doing everything it can to get itself into the
limelight and its CEO is playing a leading role (in more ways
than one). Marissa Mayer recently did a much talked-about photo
shoot for the Vogue. Her reclining, sexy pose looks designed to
show off a different facet of her personality. But for the most
part, it seems to be directed at spiking conversation around her
and thereby directing attention to Yahoo.
Mayer is emerging as Yahoo's strongest brand ambassador, a
woman driven by both family and ambition and more importantly,
combining both strength and beauty. In short, a charisma that
In the last few months, she has managed to draw a lot of
attention to the company, helped by new products, redesigns and
acquisitions. Mayer has also made a considerable effort to
associate Yahoo with
). Apple praised Yahoo's weather app and its new finance app will
be tailored for Apple's new OS. If the association continues,
Yahoo products may share the elite image that Apple products
ComScore's latest report has Yahoo sites edging past Google
sites with the highest number of unique visitors in the U.S.
What's more significant is the fact that Yahoo sites have been
rather close to Google sites over the last few months, so this
may not be an isolated case and may be more indicative of a
The downside is that this data does not include mobile, where
Google is much stronger than Yahoo. So including Tumblr for Yahoo
and mobile for both, Google might still be in the leadership
Last 6 Months
Ø Microsoft and Google's Motorola are pitted against
each other in the second jury trial to determine whether Motorola
breached its agreement to license its standard essential patents
to Microsoft at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate.
Motorola initially asked for $4 billion a year, which Microsoft
said should be $1 million and U.S. District Judge James Robart
estimated to be $1.8 million. Accordingly, Microsoft offered to
pay $6.8 million to Motorola, which it refused. Jury selection
Ø Most of the big technology companies have reported,
but this week will see a cloud computing solution provider
) announce results. As always, our preview is available in the
"Ëarnings Preview" section.
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