a whole lotta goats.
It’s funny that I read this just after listening to the guy from AT&T considering his company has major aspirations in the mobile entertainment business and in iptv. This is death from below for companies like AT&T, the capabilities of technologies well out of their control that don’t rely on their infrastructure.
TiVo just released version 2.3 of TiVoDesktop. This version is a long awaited upgrade which includes the ability to schedule transfers as well as the capability to convert TiVo recordings into a format that mobile devices such as an iPod, Treo & PSP can play.
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I missed most of the first panel on this topic, but Eric Shepcaro from AT&T is on stage with Kevin Werbach in a one-on-one interview.
I think it’s interesting that Shepcaro begins his talk by talking about how the Internet was predicted to be the death of the telco but “we’re still here and doing very well”. Interesting because in spite of this great innovation none of the telcos have done anything truly innovative to leverage.
Basically he is saying the network is at the center of everything and their business is about services around the network, which I presume means THEIR services as opposed to services from anyone else.
I was waiting for him to bring up iptv, he just did as evidence that they are friendly to partners in their ecosystem.
Kevin just asked how Skype and the fact that they don’t need all the infrastructure that AT&T pitches as their value creator. Shepcaro responded that customers want bundles, and then for whatever reason he threw out the need for a security service. He acknowledged that customers ask about Skype, business customers specifically. Ah, now he throws in the customer acquisition costs
Kevin asked if the cost of basic voice connectivity is essentially going to zero. Shepcaro acknowledges that it is going down but not to zero. Again, he talks about an “interactive communications experience” which I guess is a codeword for bundle. He ducked the question in my opinion.
Net neutrality. “The concept of net neutrality is well misunderstood” Shepcaro responds. He also commits that AT&T isn’t going to get in the way of anyone doing what they want to do on the internet. He threw out the analogy of “I can choose to get a package in a week or pay a premium to get it in a day”, which is really outrageous because on the internet I am getting the package “in a day” right now and not paying a premium for it.
This interview is turning into a version of a live press release. This guy really isn’t interested in discussing the issues being presented, he is primarily defending AT&T by talking about how great they are. Just once I’d like to hear him say they could do better on something other than “we’re misunderstood”.
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There’s a lot in these new rules from AT&T not to like, but with regard to the “legal process” issue I think they had to take this move because of the legal rock-and-a-hard-place they were in with regard to consumer privacy laws and legitimate government law enforcement and homeland security actions, although you could also say that legitimate government actions would trump privacy laws in the strictest sense.
Irrespective of the legal debate, there is a really interesting implication about the concept of ownership for many of web 2.0 consumer services that we have seen develop in the last couple of years. Take Flickr as an example, their business is photo storage and photo sharing via metatags. Without questions, I own the photos that I upload to Flickr and can take them with me (copyright) but what about the tags that I apply to them? Does Flickr own the metadata that has been created on top of my photos and can they legally use that metadata any way they want, including a manner that is perceived as anti-competitive?
Finally, there is much commentary about the provisions enabling AT&T to track television viewing (in anticipation of their IPTV aspirations) but honestly I don’t see what the dustup is about this considering that millions of people don’t have a problem with Tivo doing just that.
The new policy says that AT&T — not customers — owns customers’ confidential info and can use it “to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.”