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Results: Apple, Google, AT&T, Verizon, Samsung, Nokia - Telco 2.0 News Review

[Ed. Seven weeks and counting to the brainstorm in Silicon Valley, 19-20 March 2013, and then on to our European Brainstorm, 5-6 June 2013. We’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress for which we can offer discounted passes - email us at contact@telco2.net to find out more.]

It’s results week! Apple reported record revenue and sales that were just above expectations, but earnings per share were down marginally, for the first time in a decade, so the market gave them the bird, off 10%. Tim Cook’s earnings call emphasised China and tried to dish the rumours about cuts to semiconductor orders.

Cook’s full remarks are here. He argues that iPad Mini sales were constrained by supply-chain restrictions, and that sales of iMacs were hit by customers holding off ahead of the launch of new products. Horace digs into the numbers, breaks out accessory sales (weirdly, accounted for as “music” at Apple), and concludes that the iPhone’s ASP is basically constant over time since 2009, while the iPad’s is being eroded. As iPhone volumes are only going up, this means nothing but good news for Apple.


Interestingly, he also argues that this is because the carriers are willing to pay for the newest iPhones in order to create and retain high spending power users. AT&T’s Q4s show that they shipped more smartphones - 10 million - than any US carrier has done before, but it’s less clear that the strategy is working, as their bottom line was essentially flat (up 0.2%). Similarly, Verizon’s smartphone penetration is now at 58% and postpaid net-adds at a record high, but the company actually lost money, although this was accounted for by pension contributions and repairs after Hurricane Sandy.

Meanwhile, Google’s Q4s turned out to fall under “pretty good, really”. Samsung’s were more like “superb”, although their guidance for 2013 is conservative. Huawei’s net profits were up 33% on revenues up about 8%, and its thriving cheap Android business is outshipping Nokia.

Nokia, for its part, announced a pre-tax profit for Q4, partly by including all sorts of things like the sale of the head office buildings and a dib-in-the-hand from Microsoft, and the final run-off of Symbian. However, the news is good; smartphone ASPs and shipments are rising, the Ashas are doing good business (Nokia reclassified some of them from featurephones to smartphones, but you can’t blame them now some of them have 1GHz CPUs), and NSN sales were up 5% and making money.

It’s still a a net loss over the full year, but at least it’s progress, and the company’s not burning cash any more.

You will spend 43 days of your life on hold, claims a survey commissioned for an SMS response firm (Talkto). Obviously, it’s time to demand Voice 2.0. The field is going through a wave of activity and creativity at the moment.

Rethink Wireless’s Caroline Gabriel discusses the AT&T Call Management API, powered by old allies Voxeo Labs’ technology. The long standing VoIP Users’ Conference reports on 8x8’s Virtual Mobile Office, which provides something like Vodafone OneNet as an Android OTT app and a web application.

SendHub, which started out as an SMS platform, has evolved into a broader business voice solution, and it’s just launched a new web application permitting IT managers to provision and generally look after installations of hundreds of lines.

T-Mobile USA launched HD voice nationally earlier this month, and now they’ve launched a business-focused unified comms product. Buying MetroPCS’s VoLTE team seems to have injected enthusiasm into the company.

IBM has integrated HarQen’s transcription/annotation solution into its Connections conferencing and enterprise social product.

Hushed is an Android app that lets you instantly grab a temporary local number when you’re travelling, using Twilio’s API for the teleplumbing.

The Twilio blog has a really interesting use case of Call Centre 2.0 at a British payments start-up, plus this post with more #CC2 use cases and an invite to a webinar with Forrester and Twilio developers.

Meanwhile, the snow by text project was literally up our street.

Here’s an admittedly frivolous use case that mashes up DTAG’s Voice 2.0 and M2M APIs. The first of those is Voxeo, while the second is a new-to-us M2M start-up, spun off from NSN. Watch the video:

The OnSIP blog has a handy introduction to WebRTC and SIP in the HTML5 context.

Up in the cloud, Google’s data centre CAPEX just spiked to $1bn in Q4, $3.27bn for the full year. This is the second biggest quarter for capital investment in Google’s history, after Q4 2010 - but that was when the purchase of 111 8th Avenue hit the books, inflating the numbers by some $2bn. In terms of infrastructure, then, this may be the biggest ever. What are they planning?

Interestingly, they’ve also released much of the Cloud Platform (i.e. App Engine and related) code on GitHub.

Here’s some more from Wired’s Cade Metz on Facebook and their ARM-based servers. Intel, meanwhile, showed off an Open Compute server rack that uses optical fibre rather than electronics for I/O.

Rackspace is planning a 10MW data centre “somewhere in England”.

Not one to miss: Netflix’s VP of content delivery will give the keynote at Dan Rayburn’s shindig in May, speaking on their Open Connect private CDN.

Meanwhile, Netflix and YouTube propose a new standard for chucking video from a computer to a big TV. You might be surprised to find that we need another standard to do that, but the more interesting point is that pure web players are now dictating fairly deep hardware design.

ReadWriteWeb visits YouTube’s new production studio.

Here’s an interview with Marissa Mayer. Discussion here.

The French government has commissioned a report that suggests taxing companies who hold lots of personal information. This is of course framed as being about the Americans, but if it were to be implemented it would surely hit France Telecom like a hammer.

A Facebook storefront company has given up. Wolfram Alpha lets you scare yourself with Facebook data.

Nokia is giving music streaming another go (remember Comes With Music?), this time with a subscription model.

And the BBC R&D blog will be publishing some interesting video interviews.

Julius Genachowski challenges the industry to get the first gigabit broadband services into 50 US states by 2015. So far, 42 communities in 12 states are there. The Voice of Broadband points out that among other people and organisations, Google suggested to the National Broadband Plan process that it should fund gigabit testbed projects, four years ago. The good news is that some of the broadband stimulus funding is still available; the bad news that a surprising number of US states and communities now have laws banning non-RBOC broadband.

France Telecom’s CFO says they’re hoping to up prices when LTE launches, after the experience of launching EE in the UK. As the British 4G bidding starts, EE has announced some more reasonable LTE tariffs, in anticipation of the next entrant.

Meanwhile, the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport is putting together teams of specialists to help rural broadband projects.

The interminable dispute about Cukurova Holdings’ stake in Turkcell may be about to be settled.

Telstra is the latest telco to set up an internal OTT team. Telefonica, the first to do so, has a new M2M platform that emphasises localisation, and keeping your data in the country where you want it.

Meet the Yolo, Intel’s Android 4.0-based smartphone for Africa, which is heading for the Kenyan market. The specs are interesting:

Based on Intel’s reference design from CES, it’s an entry-level device that comes with a 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 400MHz GPU, 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 4GB of internal storage, microSD expansion slot, while Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is running the show. Size wise, the Yolo measures 110.5x61x12.6mm and has a weight of 132 grams. As for the price, Safaricom will sell this baby for 10,999 Kenyan shillings, or some $125.

That counts as “entry level”? Meanwhile, the first Firefox OS handsets are here for the developers, and one expects a rush for the freebies at MWC in a few weeks’ time. Here’s a report back from a recent Firefox OS hackday in London. Further, MWL has video of Ubuntu Linux for smartphones.

HTC’s latest idea is a smaller phone to go with your other phone. More BlackBerry 10 leaks. Is Windows RT doomed?

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