Monday, 03 August 2009 05:00

Anecdotal thoughts for discussion

We are already back in a bubble, literally months after popping the last one...

  1. China is using stimulus steriods to pump up manufacturing through lending, literally recreating the bubble that brought down the west, thier major trading partners. Bank asset and loan quality, corporate balance sheet stabiity and real asset valuations are bound to suffer as a result. The question is when will it be apparent. The Chinese government was never known for its freedom of speech and transparency policies.
  2. The US equity markets are out of control, rebounding from a slump that was caused by problems that still exist. Yes, the goverment headed off calamity by laxing many of the symptoms, but the root causes are still embedded in banks' balance sheets. See FASB tries to close Pandora's box for ideas of what my happen next or see "The Great Global Macro Experiment, Revisited" for why this cycle (in bullets one and two, here) must go on and on despite everyone knowing the inevitable conclusion.

On the consumer technology front...

  1. Google is an interesting and high growth company, but it may be maturing in many of its primary revenue driver markets, which is probably by they are aggressively expanding into others, primarily that of the telecomm and software giants. There recent beef stemming from getting their Google Voice app rejected from Apple's app store for the Iphone is interesting. Anti-trust issues show Apple is now the Goliath, and not the David (see Why The FCC Wants To Smash Open The iphone). In addition, an app like Google Voice easily obsceleces services from overpriced Verizon and ATT. Hmmmm. Another paradigm shift is coming, and services that previous carried heavy upfront costs but large margins are now relegated to the old school by access to the universal network known as the Internet. We do not have broadcast TV, satelite or cable in my home. All media is consumed through the Internet, at the time and convenience of our choosing. We all overpay for cell phone service, when we should be consuming both voice and bi-directional video services through the data network, with low cost software such as Skype or Google Voice replacing cell phone minutes. Telecomm and cable TV margins, beware (see my File Icon CVC Intelligence note for evidence of this happening already).
  2. Google is also moving in on MSFT's app space, which is scary for MSFT for sure. Here is a secret though. MSFT makes a better search engine than Google makes an office suite. Try Bing, if you like Google search, you will love Bing. The recent team up with Yahoo may also mean that market share will now start coming out of Google vs. being taken from Yahoo. Watch out Google, you are now big enough where the only place to go is down if you're not careful.
  3. The Apple Iphone is a cute device with a superior user interface (hardware/OS/UI integration) and multimedia integration, but is near useless for hard core business application. I see Apple is working on that, but at the same time their competition is honing thier skills on UI and multi-media. Unfortunately, they lack Apple's marketing acument and penchant for sexy designs. I wonder how long that disparity will last. It is obvious that Apple is not going to wait around to find out. I recently purchased an Ipod Touch 2G to use as a high end remote control. It is quite capable once jailbreaked (PS, I am not a big Apple fan at all). Rumor has it that their nest generation Ipod in September will have a mic and a camera. Here comes full fledged telephony over a wifi network, hint: Google Voice. Of course, Apple can come out with their own telephony app, but that will definitely piss off their telecomm partners who subsidize the Iphone by an enormous amount.
  4. Then there is the Apple Tablet, which will essentially be a big Ipod touch. This threatens the Amazon Kindle and the netbook market simultaneously. Apple's penchant is superior UI, hence user experience. Their marketing and sexy design don't hurt, either. The danger for Apple lover's here is that the Windows based devices may finally catch up with the release of the lightweight, Windows 7 OS, out in a few months. It would be foolish to assume that no fancy, tactile/touch enhanced hardware will be released with this new and significantly improved OS.
Last modified on Monday, 03 August 2009 05:00