Archive for November 10th, 2009

Connected Planet Podcast: Z-Wave on home energy management

Home energy management is an essential part of plans for the electric grid’s make-over. It’s already being done at an application level, but there are still issues to be worked out, including standards to bring together numerous players. Connected Planet spoke with Z-Wave Alliance chairman Raoul Wijgergangs about how the market is shaping up.

Apple beats Nokia for world’s most profitable handset-maker

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) may still claim the largest global market share, but Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has overtaken it as the world’s most profitable handset vendor in the third quarter of 2009, according to Strategy Analytics. The one-handset wonder pushed Nokia into the no. 2 slot, as Nokia’s margins were hit hard by both the economic downturn and a stagnant presence in the U.S.

The firm estimates that Apple’s iPhone operating profit came in at $1.6 billion in Q3, while Nokia recorded only $1.1 billion in operating profit. “With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, the PC vendor has successfully broken into the mobile phone market in just two years,” said analyst Alex Spektor in the research note.

It is not all bad news for Nokia. Even with falling profits, it managed to capture 37.9% market share and ship 16.4 million handsets in the third quarter. Strategy Analytics said that focusing on the U.S., Apple’s high-profit home turf, will be the key to recovering in 2010, but that won’t be an easy fight. Nokia’s profit margin for its handset division has been shrinking during the entire 2009 global economic downturn, and the handset-maker is also facing increased pressure from Google Android devices and other new high-end smartphones planned for the rest of the year and into 2010.

How Verizon takes share from cable, satellite

Data from the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications offer a rare level of detail into the way Verizon takes share from cable and satellite providers, pointed out Craig Moffet, senior analyst with Bernstein Research, in a research note today.

Verizon added 81,000 FiOS subscribers in Massachussetts last year (up from 66,000 the year before), while Comcast lost 31,000 subscribers there. Comcast lost 46,000 subscribers where FiOS was available and gained 15,000 subs where FiOS was not available. Moffett estimated that stolen share from satellite providers accounted for 43% of Verizon’s gains, though he pointed out that Massachusetts may have a below-average number of satellite subscribers, suggesting that Verizon may be taking greater share from satellite providers elsewhere.

“Broadly speaking, the results confirm the expectation that Verizon’s video gains are likely to peak this year and next,” Moffett wrote. “Incremental passings are at peak levels, while the base remains relatively small. We would expect subscriber growth for Verizon — and subscriber losses for Verizon’s competitors — to decelerate quite rapidly thereafter.”

Why VoIP 2.0 companies are suddenly in play

We’re still in the realm of the rumor mill, but speculation that Google has a deal in hand to acquire Gizmo5 and another rumor today that VoIP widget and backbone player Jajah is mulling through $400 million (!) offers from O2, Cisco and Microsoft seem to point to a coming run on VoIP start-ups.

It remains to be seen if these rumors, let alone this purported trend, come through. But as we’ve reflected in the past (back in September when eBay sold off Skype to investors for $2 billion), the success of mobile apps as a distribution mechanism for mobile VoIP client software, among other developments, seems to have given the VoIP market the push into the mainstream it’s long been hoping for. more

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