Telco 2.0 News Review

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Telco 2.0 News Review

Google results are out for Q3, and they show revenues of $7.29bn, up 23% year on year, and profits of $2.17bn, up from $1.64bn year on year. Traffic-acquisition costs (the money Google pays out to upstream customers) were $1.81bn, up from $1.56bn year-on-year, but are stable as a percentage of ad revenues at 26%.

Connected Planet notes that Google confirmed YouTube has gone into profit, and points out that Google also put a number on its mobile activities. They are forecasting $1bn of mobile revenue this year, mostly from search-based advertising (no surprise there) on Android devices, which may be a slightly bigger surprise.

Another financial highlight was Google's CAPEX bill, which showed the company pouring cash into its fixed investments. Google historically tends to build early and often, and this quarter it got through $757m in servers, sheds, and the like. That's more than it has spent in any quarter since the beginning of the world economic crisis - Google CAPEX last reached these levels in early 2008, when the company was building three enormous data centres it announced in the summer of 2007.

This probably has something to do with a gigantic project in Finland using sea water for cooling. Data Center Knowledge has a telling chart and much detail - Google's investment spending was practically shut down during the recession, and it's now plunging again. Specifically, construction of a monster-sized facility in Alabama was halted entirely. That project may now be revived. Also, Google data centres are designed in order to be expanded quickly, so they may be about to launch a round of upgrades across the existing 37 sites.

If that wasn't enough data centre for you, check out CapGemini's new outsourcing base, with pictures of a remarkably interesting shed.

Microsoft launched its new Windows Phone 7, to relatively favourable notices. Nothing like the enthusiasm that anything in the Apple, Android, or RIM lines would evoke, or even that for the Nokia N8, but at least it wasn't a merciless panning. HTC is, of course, the main vendor, but as the Informer points out, they shipped 5.9 million devices in Q2 - and only 3 million Windows Mobile handsets shipped in Q2 in total. Android has transformed HTC's business, and will keep doing so - here comes their first low-cost 'droid.

Microsoft has made a rather odd decision, however - vendors have been warned off doing Phone 7 tablets. Apparently there's yet another Windows coming for them. So there's Windows Phone 7 for phones only, except if you intend to do anything useful with them in which case you need Windows Mobile 6.5 still, and if the touchscreen is big enough, you need a yet-to-be-determined different version of Windows, and if it has a big screen and a keyboard, probably just Windows Windows. All clear so far?

The Register asks if the point of WinPhone might be to be a carrier's OS, and concludes that there is no point in having a carrier's OS. They also refer to "the Linux" rather as some people say "the Google".

They may have a point about carriers and OS - Vodafone does it again! To recap - they decided to push 360 to iTunes and the 'Droid Market as an app, but then also decided to force-upgrade all their recent Androids with it. Now, they've issued new Ts & Cs that ban their subscribers from removing it. With hilarious consequences...

Apple's main problem appears to be managing expectations at the moment. Results are coming up, and everyone thinks their profits are going to double at least. The Apple bulls' next target is to see the shares go high enough that Apple becomes the biggest US company by market cap.

Nokia power users rejoice - you can now dual-boot your N900 phone with both Maemo Linux and MeeGo. If you really want to. Actually, you would have a good reason to - MeeGo announced this week that it now supports telephony.

But you might make better use of that time reading this exhaustive investigation into Nokia's problems, which pins them on Jorma Ollila's decision to chop the phones business into Enterprise, Multimedia, and just Phones. This, they argue, led to constant in-fighting between the divisions, product proliferation, and a lack of strategic focus on Symbian, which ended up being nobody's child.

On a parallel note on OS Ecosystems, the NYT argues that the greater diversity of Android devices will help it outstrip the iPhone.

In the last couple of weeks, as well as the CEO change and Vanjöki's resignation, personnel moves at Nokia included the departure of a top user-interface designer and the recruitment of another design guru from Palm. All is now clear - the Nokia designer, Ari Jaaksi, is off to take the Palm guy's job at Palm while the Palm guy takes the Nokia guy's job at Nokia. And the EFF hates them.

The good news, such as there is, is that NSN has landed a whopper of a contract to build out 60% of Vodafone Essar's 3G network in India. The remaining 40% goes to Ericsson. NSN also has the contract to build LightSquared's US wholesale LTE network. It looks like the devices side of Nokia is on board, as well - they're planning to make device radios that will support the half-and-half mobile/satellite L-band oddity.

Mobile-satellite operator TerreStar is running out of cash fast - it's also $100 million in hock to a hedge fund that lent it the money to build a second spaceship. That's only the beginning - in all there's about $1bn of debt, the company lost $200 million this year, and there's a total of $15m in cash on hand. But that hedge fund is also a shareholder. It happens to be none other than Harbinger Capital, Philip Falcone's company and the major investor in LightSquared.

Broadcom has acquired a company that designs dual-mode LTE/WiMAX chips.

Wired interviews the CTO of Ruckus Wireless on the possibilities for the TV whitespace spectrum and advanced 802.11 radios. He's cautiously positive and points out that there's a troublesome negative correlation between data demand (concentrated in town) and whitespace availability (concentrated in the countryside). Brough Turner explains why the spectrum is useful and why you should care.

Philip Sheppard @ 3UK is showing off the size of 3's radio network, with a Layar augmented reality app that picks out the base stations from the cityscape and highlights the ones added since 2007. Unfortunately, if you want the app (and we do) you need to get a job as a CSR in a 3 retail store. Curses.

Clearwire is selling chunks of spectrum - Connected Planet wonders with good reason if it's not essentially selling its future. Verizon Wireless denies any interest.

The government of Taiwan wants to spend $215m on its WiMAX development plan, almost entirely in order to support its chip exporters.

Merger rumour of the week - AOL to buy Yahoo! the week after Time Warner confessed the merger was the "worst deal in corporate history". TelecomTV points out an obvious flaw - AOL would need to lever up and bring in several other investors, as it's actually a much smaller firm than Y! and arguably one with even worse problems. Yahoo! has a decent search engine, a significant advertising business, a variety of social applications and utilities, and quite a reasonable developer platform. AOL has Advertising.com and that's really about it.

Yahoo!, after all, is a huge Web 2.0 operation that makes money. When Jack Welch ran GE, they had a policy of only getting into any given business if they were certain of being the biggest or the second biggest player. Yahoo! is the No.2 in search, so if they can keep ahead of Microsoft's Bing they can at least follow Mr Welch's minor rules for now, although becoming the No.1 may be trickier...

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Bing wants to show you links that your Facebook contacts have shared in your search results. Nothing could possibly go wrong with the multiple levels of personal data disclosure there, could it?

Skype 5.0 is here (unless you're a Linux or Apple Mac user - some of us haven't had an update since 2.1) - it brings with it a shower of new features including a tabbed user interface and close integration with Facebook. As well as pulling in your updates and cross-referencing your contacts list, it lets you push events out from Skype to Facebook. All done with the magic of OAuth. In a way very unlike Facebook, though, you've got to explicitly choose to import Facebook contacts into Skype or to export Skype contacts and events into Facebook. Here are instructions on how to eliminate all traces of Skype-Facebook interaction.

They've also signed up KDDI as a network partner, using the thin client/SIP.skype.com model. That's quite a network partner...

Phil Wolff, meanwhile, has some thoughts about what Skype could do as a trusted data broker and VRM provider. It parallels a lot of Telco 2.0 thinking on this - with the important difference that Skype isn't a telco.

Voxeo launched a plugin for the popular jQuery JavaScript framework that provides an extension voice API for applications in the browser. You can use their Tropo.com platform, or in fact anything you like for the SIP connectivity.

YouView/Project Canvas CTO Anthony Rose gives more details of the project; Sky waits until the last possible moment to cry to OFCOM. Canvas better be good - the UK is still 18th in the world for broadband. And the FCC makes minor changes to the US cable TV regulatory framework.

O2 UK presses the button on location-based advertising by SMS.

The printers that know what you print and censor it. Detecting propaganda memes on Twitter. Anonymous hacks the MPAA. Total mobile surveillance: there's an app for that. GetJar struggles to distribute enough pig-squashing games. JavaScript's flaws - "Plus, I had to be done in ten days or something worse than JS would have happened. Something like PHP only worse..."