All they do is provide content?
Yes - M$ is a significant threat to carriers
Maybe - But who cares I can switch carriers
No - BM controls the network so M$ is not a threat
BCE and Microsoft have a relationship where Microsoft via MSN provides content services to Sympatico and Bell Mobility. Rogers has a similar relaionship with Yahoo. I have been saying for a while that Microsoft scares the hell out of me - seems to me that anyone that partners with Microsoft either eventually gets assimilated or they die.
All I can think of is the OS collaboration that Microsoft had with IBM in the early 90s. Their goal was to develop the next generation OS. After years of working together Microsoft pulled out after they learned everything they had to learn. Microsoft then launched Windows NT and IBM launched OS/2. We all know who won that battle.
If Microsoft was able to take advantage of IBM who is to say that they will not take advantage of the carriers that they are in relationships in. Microsoft has to grow. Mobile is the next step and Microsoft will do whatever it takes for them to turn carriers into a "dumb pipe".
Read the two articles below:
Microsoft free internet voice service challenges Vodafone
Trying to downplay the havoc Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile will wreak on the mobile telecoms industry, Ballmer chose a topical Valentine's Day theme for his announcement. "I love the mobile industry and I love our operator partners, and I want to have that message precede all we're about to show," Ballmer said in Barcelona. He went on to demonstrate how a mobile phone running Windows Mobile can be used to make a free voice call over the internet. Ballmer told the audience: "That was a VoIP call." But Ballmer's announcement may be closer to a St Valentine's Day massacre than a love letter for the mobile operators concerned.
Microsoft's Mobile Maneuver
Think of the computer business today - who extracts the most value from computer systems today? Think of how much profit the hardware manufacturers make and then think about how much profit Microsoft makes when it sells Windows and Office!
Think about the following - Why was Microsoft so eager to kill off Netscape - especially when the browser does not earn money?
The Rogers/Yahoo relationship is not as dangerous as the Bell Mobility/MSN relationship because the Rogers/Yahoo relationship is not as asymetrical in a market power sense as is BM/MSN.
The most important drawback to the Bell Mobility / MSN relationship is the fact that Bell Mobility can't do anything with other players such as Yahoo and especially Google. Google is doing many wonderful things days but you don't see anything by Google officially on Bell Mobility handsets (see the GLM on a920 threads).
Carriers might think that they hold the customer relationship but Microsoft will hold the customer relationship across many platforms via Hotmail/Passport. Microsoft will know more about the customer than the carrier ever will.
Final Thought = Why is it sympatico.msn.ca and not msn.sympatico.ca?
Last edited by wireless-wizz; 02-21-2006 at 07:21 PM.
All they do is provide content?
I don't think Microsoft has any desire to get into the cellular game.
I think Microsoft partnered up with Sympatico to help MSN out though.. being third to Google and Yahoo has to hurt Bill's pride and the relationship with sympatico means that a large percentage probably use MSN as they don't bother to change their browser's home page.
My hubby was designing a web based forum for the 310 bell crew and found out it had to be programmed using some microsoft programming language even tho it was junk- because of their alliance
I think it goes way deeper than just content...
"The medium is the message"
Convergance is very complicated but no, I dont think that Microsoft is going to pose any major threat to BCE in the near future...
very very interesting reading and a great topic...
I will have to check those websites out for a report I am doing in my Mass Media class
Sorry so long- I would link to it but I nolonger have the link- I had this saved to my hard-drive
CONVERGENCE: SYNERGY OR DISASTER?
by: BY JULIAN AYNSLEY
'The medium is the message.' (Marshall McLuhan)
Maybe McLuhan was so far ahead of his time that we weren't really able to 'get' him until now - maybe what he really envisioned was a world in which the owners of the media also owned the messages...
All such revisionist musings aside, there is, in retrospect, something about the remark that bears a somewhat eerie hint at precognition, one that further reinforced its unmistakable resonance with then Bell Canada Enterprise CEO Jean Monty's statement, at a company investment conference in May 2000, that 'connectivity' companies had to own 'content'.
He wasn't, and isn't, alone; many other corporate barons began to think along the same lines during the past decade. The mergers seem to be everywhere - Time Warner with Turner (and now AOL); Disney and ABC; Viacom and CBS; Bertelsmann and Random House, etc., etc.
To those who are attempting to forge these new aggregate media structures, there are some compelling reasons why the acquisition of varying media platforms is appealing.
For one thing, newspaper writers and editors can be used to fill the requirements of television news. (In a way, this is only partly new; despite the arguments about the 'immediacy' of the electronic medium, radio and television newsrooms have always been piled high with the first edition of every paper going.)
In any case, that connection is now a direct and official one at CanWest Global, where the print journalists outnumber their television counterparts. (Currently, the most high-profile and contentious Canadian example of such cross-media expansion is perhaps the CanWest takeover of the Southam newspapers. Purchased from Conrad Black in 2000 for $3.2 billion, they turned CanWest Global Communications into Canada's dominant newspaper owner.)
Moreover, there are other benefits stemming from the takeovers; sales departments also gain an advantage, as they can sell space for both the print and electronic holdings of a given company.
Finally, there are cross-promotional opportunities as well, with each of the media being able to promote the other, simultaneously heightening exposure and reducing costs.
In other words, convergence is all about Buckminster Fuller's term 'synergy', where the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. The simplest expression of synergy can be found in Viacom's purchase of both Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster Video, a move which allowed the parent company to benefit from both the theatrical and video releases of its products.
It sounds good in theory; convergence is mainly about management, and from that standpoint, those reasons seem sound. Nonetheless, it may well be that these appealing convergence strategies are not all that they seem, and may well do considerable damage not only to individuals, but to the businesses attempting them and, ultimately, to society at large.
Blurring and Branding
For one thing, the innocuous term 'cross-promotional' is just the tip of the iceberg, (and in this instance, the iceberg metaphor is particularly apt, given the somewhat chilling aspects of the remaining ramifications); the 'merged, converged and synergized' media machine thusly created also generates an extremely dark matrix within which lies a host of potential abuses.
One of the abuses already being experimented with is the further convergence of advertising and program content. As Naomi Klein pointed out in her book No Logo, this means the complete blurring of advertising and culture to the point that programs themselves become mere vehicles for brand advertising.
In Britain, the pharmaceutical chain Boots now owns a television channel dedicated, naturally, to health concerns. But wait...the programs it broadcasts are actually advertising vehicles in which the 'information' portion is contained within the ad itself, a complete 'flipping' of the traditional relationship between program content and advertising.
Similarly, the practice of using various products in films in exchange for indirect advertising dollars has also been 'enhanced'. The animated film Food Fight, for example, was created as a brand vehicle first and an entertainment product second.
Advertising has always been the life blood of any network or publication. But, even in the days when the information portion of a newspaper was referred to as the 'news hole', it was still understood that editorial and advertising were separate beasts. Moreover, the same could be said of the networks. But no more!
Of course, in the unregulated business mindset, there's nothing wrong with this; 'content' is just another product. To this group, homogenization is attractive and more easily manageable; people become 'suppliers' or 'content providers'.
For one, I find myself just as offended by the term 'content provider' as I used to be when the fringe left referred to artists as 'cultural workers.' (There's something equally degrading about the mindset of both groups; the left wants to refer to artists as 'cultural workers' out of a misplaced sense of egalitarianism, while the right doesn't want its 'content providers' to get any grand illusions about the nature or value of their talent.)
To both groups, Beethoven, Nine Inch Nails, Shakespeare and Sidney Sheldon are all just 'cultural workers' or 'content providers.' (The right is just a little more concerned with marketing them.)
Here's where the whole convergence picture starts to look increasingly ominous. When content becomes a mere product, there's no guarantee of a steady supply. In other words, when organizations become too big, they also start to wield enormous influence - 'influence', as in censorship.
In a further encroachment upon the traditional relationship between producers and consumers, some large chains such as K-Mart insist upon pre-screening magazines on a month-by-month basis. Anything that isn't 'family' material is then de-listed for that month. The magazines co-operate; failure to comply can result in a magazine being permanently discontinued.
The same 'family-material' bias at Blockbuster Video has resulted in many studios having cut the production of films which would be rated NC-17. As Klein pointed out in No Logo: 'Such censorship, in fact, has become so embedded in the production process, that it is often regarded simply as another stage of editing.'[!]
So, when business people start blurring the line between information, advertising and entertainment, and even deciding which products will be allowed to reach the consumer, is it not to be expected that news programming will be similarly afflicted?
Journalism Under Fire
Some years back, Pierre Berton grilled John Bassett as to whether or not the latter was using his newspaper to reward his friends and punish his enemies. Bassett's response is legendary: 'Why else,' he asked, 'would anyone want to own a newspaper?'
It was an honest and amusing answer, especially with respect to the much greater diversity that existed among the various print and broadcast interests at that time. Today, it would not have nearly so humourous or 'folksy' a ring to it.
The enormous influence of size and money is too easy to see. In Italy, the wealthy Silvio Berlusconi used his influence to create an instant political party. Controlling three television networks, he was also able to get elected Prime Minister, ultimately controlling the national network as well.
With size and visibility comes commensurate power. Indeed, there is an entire sector of the journalistic community, and the public at large, that feels increasingly threatened by the centralization of media interests, and for their own very good reasons: chief among these is editorial stance, or 'spin'.
Beyond the obvious, for example, that the CanWest papers will devote more ink to promoting Kevin Newman and Global Television, and that Bell Globemedia's The Globe and Mail will devote the same attention to Lloyd Robertson and CTV, there is a more fundamental shift in relationships; convergence also means that both are now in competition with the CBC! (Expect to see more criticisms and calls for the dismantling of Mother Corp.)
Is there any objectivity anymore? Izzy Asper's militant editorial edicts have caused an ever-widening storm among journalists, especially since he controls the only English-language newspapers in 14 Canadian cities, including Montreal. In this sense, convergence also means the diminution of choice, just like K-Mart's control of which magazines the people in smaller centres may read - K-Mart may be the only local outlet.
Beyond such direct interference is the indirect censorship that results when people want nothing more than to please the corner office; here the effects are insidious. Are we likely to get an accurate story about AOL Time Warner on CNN?; about Disney on ABC?; about Viacom from CBS? With NBC owned by a defence contractor (General Electric), are we likely to see accurate war reporting?
For that matter, with business interests as interlinked as they are in the U.S., are we ever likely to see a story on the long-planned Trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline, or its role in the current conflict? (About as likely as the odds of Britain's health concerns channel running a story on the dumping of drugs in Africa that are illegal in other countries.)
Clearly, the conflicts of interest are obvious, numerous, and serious. In Canada, we have, what the Toronto Star's Harmon Cetacea referred to as 'a half-hearted attempt by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to build a `firewall' between TV and newspaper newsrooms, in the case of common ownership.'
He concluded that it was the wrong way to go, both because it compromised editorial independence and because it might well turn out to be unenforceable.
News a Revenue Engine?
Have all the lines been crossed already, or is there anything worth protecting? Many think the decline began when the television networks became subsidiaries of other companies, and executives decided to start looking at news as a revenue-producing area rather than a public service.
In Canada, we've always thought differently. Certainly, news was never viewed that way at the CBC, although sports was always able to 'bump' The National, since it was, and remains, a monster source of revenue.
Even in the U.S., news was never traditionally seen as a revenue engine. Of course, that kind of thinking is out the window today. Now, if news or current affairs doesn't get the right ratings or demographic, they can be replaced altogether. (Who needs Ted Koppel if you have got a chance at David Letterman?)
Noam Chomsky long ago identified numerous deficiencies pointing to a corporate bias even in Nightline itself, vis-a-vis number of white interviewees vs. number of ethnics, number of men vs. number of women, time allotted to actual information between commercials, the pressure to reduce complexity to 'soundbites', etc., etc.
So was its near demise really that much of a surprise? Had its 'content', in fact, become so superficial, hollowed out, and pro forma - so much of a duplication of other productions that, in the eyes of the network executives, it was just another 'content vehicle' to be switched like a widget with any other that would capture a more lucrative target demographic?
The same principal has always been at work in newsrooms. Whereas a small private owner might sacrifice larger profits for the sake of journalistic quality, a publicly-owned company must answer to the shareholders. That's why shareholder-driven newsrooms are smaller and have fewer resources to concentrate upon the product.
Once news is seen as a profit centre, it's but a small step to skewing the content to suit economic imperatives, and the new convergence-driven companies have no shortage of them.
It begs the question as to whether anything will survive of the craft and culture of journalism as we knew it.
A Good, Hard, Second Look
So just who benefits from convergence?
Certainly not the public, who get fewer and fewer choices of thinner and thinner material, designed to make them buy more and more; certainly not the journalists, who find themselves under pressure from their employers to 'toe the line'; certainly not the many workers who are the casualties of the mergers.
Having gone into debt to purchase a number of related companies, the new owners invariably start to compensate by cutting staff and selling off other assets. (BCE cut 2,800 jobs at Bell Canada and 450 at Teleglobe and sold Excel, Inc., at a $2 billion loss.)
Many of the companies have also found that, after paying inflated prices for their acquisitions, demand for the various services has dropped. BCE will take an $11 billion write down this year, while AOL Time Warner will suffer an astonishing $54 billion (US), the largest in corporate history.
Further, and as a part of the fallout from the Enron scandal, potential investors are also taking a much more jaundiced view. They are, understandably, completely dubious of anything that smacks of 'elaborate' accounting practices, such as when a company posts a profit or a loss, depending on which way one interprets the figures. Not surprisingly, they are taking a 'just the facts' approach.
The climate is uncertain; if the current state of BCE, AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal SA and Bertelsmann AG are any indication, the market could well put an end to this trend, at least for the time being.
On the other hand, the overarching global trend is toward size - of the world's top 100 economies, only 49 are countries, the remainder are multinational corporations. Even now, powerful CEOs are re-writing the rules of the global economy, in what John Ralston Saul calls a 'coup d'etat in slow motion'.
There's absolutely no doubt that many Canadian entities, including the banks, seek to emulate their larger international cousins in this global game of monopoly. To put things in perspective, we've got a long way to go - CanWest's revenues, about $1.6 billion (US), would have to be 13 times larger to be on any kind of equal footing with the larger global players.
So, what's it going to be? Will the convergence of media interests continue, and, if so, to what end? Certainly, in Canada, the 'megadeals' seem to have subsided for the present, although there are likely more deals in the offing, in the short term at least.
CanWest Global can service its present debt, but can't seem to pay it down. It will likely sell off their community newspapers, and possibly their South Pacific broadcast interests and could also team up with Rogers Media, which has a strong radio component.
Quebecor is still in rough shape and might well be looking at asset sell-offs as well, including Sun Media. Corus is still reducing debt accumulated during its aggressive expansion, and Alliance Atlantis seems to have a similar penchant for reducing expenditures.
CHUM seems fairly stable for the moment, but Bell Globemedia might just consider a partnership with Craig Broadcast Systems. Rogers will likely save its resources for its continuing rivalry with BCE, while Torstar may well be biding its time, and eyeing the CanWest and Quebecor newspapers.
While there's no shortage of theories about why convergence is logical and beneficial, we're still left with a lot of worrisome questions: Will the trend merely produce some simple and beneficial synergies, or further degrade television into one perpetual advertisement, and journalism into a kind of brand-name public relations exercise?
Even more worrying is the question of where 'synergy' ends and 'monopoly' begins. (Much of what has happened in the U.S. entertainment industry in the past decade would have been illegal before President Reagan's all-out assault on the anti-trust laws.)
Will the public stand for it? Will it all turn to ashes in the mouths of the corporate barons who seek such unification? To date, the answers seem none too promising for any of us.
Maybe it's time to separate the interests; to allow specialists their due; to let those schooled in a particular medium have autonomy within that medium. Maybe, in fact, the whole phenomenon of convergence will turn out to be nothing more than a massive experiment that proves, once again, that 'small is beautiful'.
Then again, maybe our governments and media barons will force it on us anyway.
Julian Aynsley is a freelance writer and director in Toronto. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally Posted by SweetCell
Actually, in the US there is word that Microsoft is looking into becoming a high-speed data MVNO... That may eventually spill over into the Canadian market...
I don't like that NT vs. OS2 comparison... because OS/2 was never designed as a consumer operating system - it was strictly a business operating system... it was priced as such, it was packaged as such, and IBM had an excellent run on the technology in jumpstarting a lot of mainframe migration - It made Microsofts early enterprise integration technology look like cheerios in a bowl of stale milk ;-)
Please Note: I do not work for Bell. I also do not work for any wireless retail outlet.
Do not ask me about promotions or offers from wireless providers.
No I don't think that's the reason - it's .NET and its development... It's what a number of government systems are basing their out-of-the-box self-service offerings on because of the ability to output Java, XML and pretty much any SOAP related technology right out of the box... They don't LIKE it, but try and find anything comparable and you'll be hard pressed to do so...Originally Posted by bikruca
You go with the greatest versatility - and .NET is a real cheap platform to develop on - I'm not a .Net'er and I'm having to deal with a governement which has decided to integrate SOAP using .NET and it's such a headache because they have their own lingo - so most of the time it's a terminology-language barrier... ug...
Microsoft knows that the real money is not in hardware but in software, services and content. The most important part of the value chain is the person that controls "the log-on" and the profile.Originally Posted by frankie5string
Microsoft muscles into enterprise mobile VoIP market
22nd February 2006
But for the VoIP and unified messaging industry, it shows that Microsoft is flexing some serious muscle in the coveted mobile enterprise market. "It's a recognition that they need to strengthen their value proposition, because the enterprise market is going to be more competitive for Microsoft as the alternatives are becoming real," said Jon Arnold, principal of VoIP analyst firm J. Arnold & Associates. "The Outlook database is really the care DNA of everything that's going on in the enterprise . . . but the key for Microsoft is that they're not cut out of the loop."