Earnings disappointments this week from Intel Corp, Microsoft Corp, Google Inc and AMD underscore how Silicon Valley, both the old guard and new, is struggling to profit from consumers' waning love affair with the stalwart PC and infatuation with mobile -- the most significant tectonic shift in the industry since the advent of the Internet.
That bodes ill for companies reporting next week that are highly leveraged to mobile advertising and services -- most famously Facebook Inc, which raised a tumult by warning about over-inflated expectations of its mobile business just before its seminal IPO.
Amazon and Apple Inc are expected to fare better, analysts say. Apple, which reports Thursday, is struggling with capacity constraints and supply hiccups -- but analysts contend that's a good problem to have because it's spurred by raging mobile hardware demand.
Amazon and eBay Inc, meanwhile, are succeeding in reaching consumers through mobile devices, particularly Amazon with its cut-rate Kindle Fire tablets. About 800,000 shoppers made their first-ever eBay purchase through a mobile device. More...
Comcast will get $2.3 billion for the sale, the companies said today in a statement. Other members of the selling group are Time Warner Cable (TWC) Inc., which gets $1.1 billion, and Bright House Networks LLC, which will receive $189 million.
Verizon Wireless and rival AT&T Inc. (T) are seeking to add airwaves as consumers increasingly use mobile devices to watch video and browse the Web, requiring more capacity. AT&T is struggling to gain regulatory approval for its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, part of the Dallas-based company’s strategy of gaining spectrum.
At the Open Mobile Summit conference last week in San Francisco, a panel of carrier executives and wireless industry experts discussed the revenue-generating opportunities of offering 4G service.
This is a big concern for carriers, since their costly move to 3G networks a few years ago appears to have financially benefited other players in the mobile industry (such as Apple) more than the carriers themselves.
There are some obvious ways that carriers plan to make money from their 4G networks. First, these networks will allow wireless carriers to sell more data -- a key part of their business model as most U.S. carriers move away from offering unlimited data plans.
Also, current FCC net neutrality rules allow wireless carriers to selectively "fast track" delivery of online content and services. Most likely content and service providers, rather than consumers, would end up paying for such paid prioritization.
Still, despite heavy marketing, 4G phones and services haven't been easy to sell to the average mobile consumer. As Scott Devitt, a consumer Internet analyst with Morgan Stanley, noted: "For most consumers, the value of 4G is not really clear at this point -- except for watching mobile video."
Consequently U.S. carriers are starting to look hard at less-obvious ways to demonstrate the value of 4G to consumers. More...
- Russia, the Internet and a new way to wage war?
- Obama Says U.S. Ready to Act Against China Over Hacking
- Cybersecurity: The glitch in the U.S.-China relationship
- Here’s How Brazil Is Giving Every Citizen Free Mobile Data
- U.S. researchers show computers can be hijacked to send data as sound waves
- OPM hack's unprecedented haul: 1.1 million fingerprints
- U.S. data hack may be 4 times larger than the government originally said
- Net neutrality is here. What it means for you
- US net neutrality rules to go ahead
- Cyberattack Exposes I.R.S. Tax Returns