The Cultural Phenomena of Technology

It is one of those things that begins with a whisper and then continues to grow louder into the wildest of crashing waterfalls. Sometimes it confronts us in a very direct way and other times it sneaks up on us spreading like a virus throughout society. It penetrates our lives and influences others around us. The beneficiaries are our day-to-day modern society that adopts them and adores them. The victors are the people and the companies who make them. In fact we can quantify the victors with the monetary term of billions of dollars.  Those who try to stand in the way of these cultural phenomena’s are simply pushed aside and deemed not relevant.  We deem these to be the companies we refer to as competition.  In the industry this is a big deal and though sometimes accidental many times it is brilliance, such as Steve Jobs.  In the end it is about creating emotional connections and  not negative emotions but positive ones.  Looking through history there have been some big moments (and winners).

The first I remember of this type of phenomena was the build up to the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 95.  It was funny at the time as the product was continually being delayed.  When the name was announced people even began to wonder if it would even ship in 1995.  But at the time Microsoft was the darling of the industry.  Even when it seemed destined to fail in the end it always seemed to succeed.  Windows 95 would turn out to be the greatest testament to the ability of the company to succeed.  When the product finally shipped it was to mass hysteria never seen in the industry.  People lined up at midnight waiting for doors to open to a new world of wonder. It brought the idea of technology into everyone’s home.  It was exciting and a fulfillment of a vision that Paul Allen and Bill gates had as young boys.  It was really the dawn of the new age of technology and every significant technology launch has been compared to the launch of Windows 95.  The main competition, Apple, could only sit, watch and wonder, “it should have been us”.

The second phenomena that occurred I did not become familiar with until, then CEO of Novel,l Eric Schmidt left his post and joined a small company known as Google.  Google was a search engine provider and certainly not the first, but it would turn out to be by far and away the most successful.  It was not long before it seemed everyone was searching the web with  Google, as it was far superior to what was on the market.  Google’s impact beyond the technology was it changed the market dynamics and how companies made money.  They were in many was also the first to demonstrate you can not only make money on the web, you can make tons of money on the web.  The growth of Google was so accelerated it was almost hard to comprehend.  While they are making all this money they also became part of our cultural linguistics as Google became a verb.  By the time Microsoft finally launched a technological viable competitor in Bing, they were no longer visible in Google’s rear view mirror

When the iPhone stated to be discussed the whispers started early and grew loud and clear.  I had a friend working at AT&T at the time and he said everything at the corporate office was driving towards the launch of the Apple iPhone.  When the iPhone launched in 2007  it would turn out to be a huge success on many fronts, from the device to the apps, creating a new market, a new ecosystem.  As time went by what was amazing to watch was the extremely personal relationship that would develop between people and their technology.  People really get addicted to these phones and it more or less becomes an extension of the individual.  One thing Apple was always great at was creating a product that fostered loyalty.  The iPhone would do this in spades.  So much changed with the iPhone in how we as a society interact with one another, the iPhone was a truly powerful technical and social breakthrough.

It is difficult for companies to compete against these type of movements in a direct head on manner.  Microsoft has more or less tried this with Bing against Google and not seen very good results.  The biggest challenge is not the market share but the cultural awareness they are up against.  It is not even a technology gap so much as the successful technologies of today are internalized by users, who purchase and use certain technologies without much thought.  It is as if they are predisposed to certain choices, they are conditioned . It is hard and I have yet to see a marketing plan that says with our latest release we need to brainwash society and condition them to use our stuff.  I would be most entertained if someone would try doing this as I think it would be an eventful exercise.  As we have learned over and over again just because you have the better technology does not mean that you win.  Part of the challenge when competing with these social titans is that it is not good enough to create a better technology because even if you do, you have to ask, “Now what?”.  You need not only a better product but a better vision.  Vision should proceed the product, not follow it.

I am waiting for the next phenomena and it may be just around the corner.  We are nearing the age of the robot and I am warily awaiting the device that becomes a consumer phenomena.  It may also be something not so dramatic.  It could be a new social networking innovation.  Perhaps Google Glass is bigger than we think or know?  All we know is software is becoming pervasive in nearly everything we touch.  As Bill Gates said, “It is where the magic happens”. Like all things in tech it is not predicting the future, but timing it.  For any company the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is to become a necessary fabric of society. To be wanted. A basic, necessary and powerful human emotion.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann May 29, 2013

High Tech meets Fashion

Back a while in history, a little post dot com boom, Microsoft Research and Development came out with a new gadget that used the FM airwaves to communicate with a watch.  It would be released and received some love in the press.  It was called the Microsoft Spotwatch. It was an interesting idea at the time.  In an odd way it made sense.  With digital watches I had never really considered it or thought of it as a tiny user interface.  But I guess it really was a “mini” UI.  Since Microsoft at the time was all about owning the user experience it made sense and, for the first time it seemed Microsoft R&D had actually made something, like a real product coming from our vaunted and well-funded labs.  That is a basic tenet of R&D.  Create.

Not long after, while walking the halls of Microsoft, one of our geeky employees was actually wearing one.  It was actually kind of hard to miss, since it was so big.  It was not pretty, rather big and black.  It was like a giant Timex watch.  You could sort of interact with it.  Find weather and simple items like that.  However as a project did not last long.  Thinking back on it, it was just a little ahead of its time, by a decade.  There were other similar projects like this.  I was at CTIA Wireless in Orlando and Siemens had made a watch you could stream video to.  The guy showing me the demo said there was no commercial viability to the watch, they just wanted to prove it was possible.  Projects like the aforementioned two, though seemingly silly and not viable at the time of development are often a window of opportunity for the future.  The problem with invention is often the inventors do not think big enough or long-term enough.

Probably the technology that is most on the forefront of this shift to technology engaging the world of fashion right now is Google Glass.  It has garnered a lot of press and created come controversy.  The 5-Point Cafe in Seattle banned Google Glass from its establishment saying essentially it violated the privacy of its seedy dive bar status (FYI I highly recommend the 5-Point, good food, good drink).  I am not convinced it will take off, but it does create a new method of communicating with the internet.  In a world where we are increasingly mobile I can now be walking and talking with no device in my hand.  The glasses themselves are not aesthetically perfect, but they are not horrible.  Not like the SPOT watch.  You can see eventually they will be pretty slick, maybe not even noticeable.  The power of technology is it seems to always get smaller, until eventually it is vapor.

Returning to our watch theme, of late Apple has been on the press with a Apple iWatch.  Are we going back to the future?  I have been searching for what this device would look like and the good news is it promises to be much smaller and I hope with Apple’s obsession with great design it should be pretty slick.  Bigger question for me is do I really need this in a watch?  If it is simple and elegant I could see a lot of simple scenarios where this could be of valid use, beyond just checking the time.  I could have local weather mode.   Find the nearest taxi.  Communicate with my robotic vehicle.   Could be my communicator all Star Trek.  If I could talk to my watch I could all of a suddenly have a lot of clever uses.  Siri on my wrist?  I see this happening.

At South by Southwest Google was showing off Google Shoes.  A shoe that can collect information as you run.  This made me think more of the latest buzz word in tech, “Big Data”.  Everything that moves is collecting information.  Why not shoes?  You could see pursues as essentially a big repository of data. Wallet? Data.  The question will be can we make the technology into an accessory that is either unnoticed or looks sleek and something I want to wear.  If you watch “Project Runway”, designers are very creative people so the idea of technologies like Big Data, Robotics, and Search meeting Karl Lagerfield, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein is more science than fiction.  It will be geek meets chic.

Finally there is already a website that addresses these scenarios (are you surprised?).  You can go to FashionTech.  there is also a battle heating up between Google, Nike and Jawbone in the field of what is being called wearable tech.  I prefer fashion tech because if it is not in fashion most people will not wear anyway.  There is no question we will be connected in new ways via the clothing we wear. These things are happening in front of us.  It has made me think that the trend of the dying  PC is not  quite as we may think.  We are simply moving from a world where the computing power which was once centralized and tied to our desktop is now being distributed into a multitude of devices and fabric.  Erich Schmidt, Chairman of Google once said, “Every human will be ten IP addresses”.  It does not sound so far off now.  We have a wrist watch, sneakers and glasses so I already can count three IP addresses.  Seven more does not seem that far off.  You won’t connect anymore to the internet you will wear it.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann May 7, 2013

Microsoft – Threats and Opportunities

It is an industry legend and the company, along with Apple that started the PC revolution.  It brought technology to our desks and to our homes. It created a lot of young millionaires.  It was a shining star in the technology industry.  That was now what seems a long time ago. The Microsoft of today is one  that is a lot different from the one I joined in 1991 as a young, wide-eyed, fresh out of college customer service representative.  Then everything was new as PC’s were just starting to take off.  We were wiping out the typewriter.  In those days we were still talking about our different lines of business at Microsoft in terms of making our first billion.  Today Microsoft has annual revenues in excess of 70 billion.  Despite this growth, at times Microsoft can appear like an old and tired company.  One longing for a past glory, a glory that likely will never come again.  When you look to the horizon there are storm clouds gathering that could lead to catastrophe, but at the same time there are opportunities that could lead to greater horizons. Let’s have a look at what those different threats and opportunities are.

Google:  No company has the potential to hurt Microsoft more than Google.  They are threat numero Uno.  Ray Ozzie addressed  this in one of his first memo’s at Microsoft.  Google was using its ad revenues derived from search to fund software development projects, like business productivity applications.  Google  was changing the playing field and redefining the competitive landscape.  Google’s bet is pretty simple.  We live in a connected world, a world that is getting evermore connected with each passing minute.  If we assume we will have ubiquitous connectivity 24/7, whenever and wherever we want we need a simple device that can connect us, ala a Chrome Book (kills Windows).  Then you just need some cloud based applications for business productivity like Google Docs (kills Office).  Then you have just shaved off $25 billion in Microsoft’s earnings.  Not to mention ISV’s would flock to Google and the city of Redmond would file for bankruptcy similar to Detroit.  I assume someone in Redmond has figured this out, but these days when Microsoft is competing on so many fronts it seems hard for Redmond to prioritize.

Three Screen:  One of those great ideas that at a high level made and still makes sense.  Who can provide an experience for the PC – Phone – Television and it is all integrated?  Microsoft has the teams and technology to do it.  When this was first discussed it was around 2007.  The problem?  The TV platform was still nascent and Windows Phone 6.0 was a piece of junk.   Microsoft has since then released a new user experience in Windows 8, added a compelling tablet, and now have a competitive smart phone.  What is missing is TV, the holy grail of user experiences.  The three big companies – Microsoft, Google and Apple are all trying to create an experience that changes the consumer paradigm.  This is a big bet by all involved but the rewards could be immense.  If one figures out the TV experience and then can seamlessly integrate with other devices, well then the world will be their oyster.

Apple:  The obvious villain.  Microsoft versus Apple.  Gates versus Jobs.  Despite all its recent success I think Microsoft’s failing here happened because of one single reason:  Microsoft was not focused on the consumer.  They became like the Republican party and did not understand basic demographics.  While Microsoft was focused on the enterprise a new generation of consumers was being born and raised, with technology present from the first day they opened their eyes.  In the old days the belief was you were a software company or a hardware company.  Apple changed that school of thought and created a new market, an experience company.  Though I maintain Google is the biggest competitive threat, I think what Apple did really hurt Microsoft as a company. Not just financially but psychologically   It seemed every time Microsoft tried to say anything negative about Apple they looked foolish.  The “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad campaign was so dead on and the response from Microsoft was so minimal.  Apple humbled Microsoft and remains a significant threat to their future.

Enterprise Customers: If you can think of one major impact Steve Ballmer had on Microsoft it was the transformation of the company from a consumer company to an enterprise company.  It made sense from a Steve standpoint.  Enterprises sign large deals to long-term commitments and provide a stable cash flow.  They are predictable.  Consumers are fickle and change directions quickly, loyalty is earned, but never guaranteed.  So the enterprise business has grown to tens of billions o f dollars.  That being said there still is room to grow in the enterprise.  Sharepoint became a billion dollar business and Lync looks like a sure bet to join that crowd as well. The Microsoft Azure Cloud offering could turn the corner and potentially be the largest new business.  An interesting area is consulting services.  Efforts have been made in the past to make this more of an IBM global services model.  This would go against Microsoft’s partner driven model, but these days that seems under threat anyway.  If they did do this I have no doubt this could be a multi-billion dollar business.  If Microsoft decided to focus on the enterprise excessively that would be a successful venture.  The risk of course if Microsoft ignored consumers they would be at risk, since so much of enterprise IT is being driven by consumers.

Xbox:  Whenever the subject of Microsoft futures comes up people inevitably say the Xbox is the future direction Microsoft.  Probably because it is the one group that has a cool factor associated with it unlike the other door knobs, called Product Groups at Microsoft.  With that being said if Microsoft wants to revitalize and market its three screen vision Xbox has inadvertently taken the lead as the platform to bring all three screens together.  Xbox rose at Microsoft because it operated outside the corporate structure.  They were not part of Windows or Office’s legacy.  They were new, fresh and exciting.  In my view they should own all things consumer.  However the rumblings I hear over in Redmond is they are being brought more into the legacy corporate fold.  If I knew what the grand vision.of doing this was I may support it, but since I don’t all I can say is “leave well enough alone”. I would have expanded their playground rather than constrict it.  I would brand as much stuff “x” as I could; Xphobe, XMusic, Xwhatever..would have used the logo, but that is an opportunity I think Microsoft will bypass.

Focus or lack there of:  One thing that I think kills Microsoft and maybe the biggest threat is just what seems to be a lack of focus and cohesive message from the company.  I remember in one week they had a big Windows Phone launch followed by the Xbox Kinect.  The Windows Phone got absolutely no momentum out of the launch.  If a kid hears you launch a cool new phone followed by a big announcement around Windows Server what are they supposed to think?  The marketing folk at Microsoft view this as two different audiences so they don’t intersect, but in the end they do.  IBM does not have this problem because everything they do is targeted towards the enterprise.  Could they split the company into a consumer entity and a enterprise entity and create a wholly owned subsidiary…called Xbox?  Retain ownership while spurring creativity? Increasing overall revenues with a new focused approach? Just a thought.

There you have it, in many ways it’s the “is the glass half full or half empty” argument  In many ways a threat is an opportunity it is just a question of how you attack it.  Could Microsoft do to its competitors what they are doing to it?  Sun Tzu, the Chinese author if the “The Art of War”., written around the 500BC period., wrote “when confronted by superior forces one must change the battlefield”.  This is what Ray Ozzie wrote about when talking about Google using ad driven revenues to fund software development.  Microsoft needs to do two things: Seize the opportunities and take the leadership position and embrace the threats to provide for a brighter future.  Another option would be for Microsoft to read about history because they are history.  Your call Microsoft.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann January 30th 2013

Technology History Mistakes and Opportunities

In 20 years in the technology sector I have seen a lot of both good and bad strategic decisions. At Microsoft I was with a company that was on the good side and then was on the bad side. I saw many competitors make what were poor strategic decisions. Decisions that in the end would either sink them or put them in a place of constant struggle for success or viability.  I thought it would be good to look back on some of my favorite “stupid” decisions made by companies in the industry.

Lets head to Utah for bad decision number one: WordPerfect.  This was a company that when the personal computer first came onto the scene quickly became the number one player in Word Processing.  Competing against other notable companies like Wordstar, Wang, and Microsoft Word.  If one thing killed them off quickly it can be summed up in the acronym GUI (Graphical User Interface).  When Apple launched the Mac, Microsoft used it as an opportunity to learn about creating software for the GUI.  WordPerfect on the other hand dipped their toes in the water and when they did not see the sales they wanted on the Mac, killed it.  As Microsoft became more enamored with something called Windows, WordPerfect dug their heels in and supported DOS, where they were a leader.  The problem being Microsoft owned both DOS and Windows and had more or less stated Windows was the future.  Towards the end the only thing WordPerfect had going for it was free technical support.  Sounds nice from a  customer perspective, but if you looked at the costs, not sustainable.  WordPerfect over time just seemed to disappear.

Apple actually makes the list.  During the period where there was no Steve Jobs.  Early learning here is Steve Jobs killed  himself off when he hired Pepsi executive, John Sculley.  Steve’s pitch to John was, “Do you want to change the world or sell sugared water”.  As Steve learned people who sell sugared water don’t change the world.  However they are master politicians which led to Steve’s ouster.  Apple would go through several CEO’s  before Steve returned.  Some like, Micheal Spindler would start to pursue a OEM model where they license the software, like Microsoft.  A nice form of flattery, but not in the Apple DNA.  Steve would come back, kill this plan, and we know the rest.

Next up we return to Utah and Novell Netware.  When the computer network first became popular, Novell was the dominant player for our file and print services.  However one stupid decision killed the company.  Why just a file and print server and not a app server to?  I remember I was in a meeting with Bill Gates and he went off about why Novell did not do this.  He was stunned that they did not have the foresight to see what was coming in the industry. In his view had they just added application services, Windows Server would never have garnered the market share it did.  A second more technical item was Novell had a proprietary protocol called IPX/SPX.  They did not support the dominant internet standard called TCP/IP. Eric Schmidt, when he was at Novell worked on fixing this, but then this startup called Google came knocking and he left for greener pastures (much greener as it turned out). As I am sure you all know this internet thing became rather large and Novell played themselves out of the market.  Oops.

As we entered a new millennium things would change.  My old company, Microsoft, which seemed to do no wrong would make plenty of mistakes in the new century’s beginning.  They might say search was a big mistake, but as I have said they never would have figured it out.  Google developed a new software business model.  They did a classic Sun Tzu, when faced with greater numbers change the playing field.  Probably the first blunder was the mobile phone space.  Though they might say they were successful prior to the iPhone I never saw it that way.  THe Microsoft strategy was a smartphone was a business phone and they went head on after RIM.  I never saw it that way.  I saw smartphone’s just a natural evolution of mobile phones and as more intelligence was put in the phone, the smartphone would be a consumer phone.  Then the iPhone launched and that was the end of the Microsoft mobile story.  I know they have this Nokia thing going on, but as good as the phone is, everything I am reading is it is too late.

Going back to search the big loser was Yahoo.  Jerry Yang had a dotcom success story, but was really just pushed aside by a competitor with a better search engine and a better business model.  Google ate everybody up in this space.  They proved the age-old business adage, revenue is king.  It was not long before Yahoo was on the defensive in everything they did.  Google was the tech darling and Yahoo had fallen into the worst place in the industry:  Yesterdays News.  Even when they got a get out of jail free card in the form of a massive Microsoft takeover offer they blew it.  Jerry Yang managed to convince everyone they had a future.  With the recent news of a massive layoff and reorganization, all is but lost. Jerry Yang will be a case study in graduate school, and it will not be flattering.  It will be along the lines on increasing shareholder value.  But then Mr. Yang is an engineer not a finance guy.

Amazon was not a likely candidate to be the early leader in cloud computing.  Next thing you know everyone was left standing with their pants of the ground.  Some rode the wave very well, companies like VMWare.  But across the lake the from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters a  Redmond based power was scrambling.  Google was also behind in this space.  When I look at Cloud based posting these days I see many references for people with experience in Amazon Web Services.  I am not sure I have seen one for Azure (Microsoft’s cloud service). VMWare is always in the conversation with its virtualization software, it is always a good place to be, “in the conversation”.  Most companies building out cloud services usually have either Amazon or VMWare, if not both, as part of their cloud offering

Finally there was the tablet phenom.  When Apple founder Steve Jobs announced Apples plans to make and sell the iPad, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying, “They will never sell those things”.  As it turns out they can sell those tablets.  In the last quarter they sold over 15 million of these items Steve said they could not sell.  In the meantime a slew of Android based tablets have hit the market and as for Microsoft, we wait for Windows 8.  Why do I feel like this will be the Windows Phone all over again?  When the new tablets hit the market will it be revolutionary or just another Tablet?  The market is already 3 years down the road and the company that changed people’s lives sitting on the couch and watching TV was Apple.  That is what technology has always been about, changing people’s lives.

In all the examples I have given one thing is clear.  To create these industry and societal changes it takes a leader who see’s beyond today and looks to tomorrow.  When we look at what I provided in each case we have visionaries that we all know Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Maritz, to name but a few.  In the also ran category you see companies always flat-footed and never embracing the future, but reacting to a race that has already began.  If you are racing Usain Bolt and you are slow off the starting blocks do you think you will win?  Even if you were that fast and physically fit you cannot make up a half a second in a sprint.  That is how today’s tech sector works.  Even if you were to catch up the industry has moved on to a new race.  To win you need to jump the gun otherwise you will be but a  distant reflection in the rear view mirror.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann April 9, 2012

What if the TV was intelligent?

In recent weeks all the focus has been on the life and legacy of Steve Jobs. Rightfully so. With the release of his biography a lot of interesting questions, quotes and comments have come forth.  Some are the typical stuff of Hollywood gossip rags, but a lot has to do with the clarity of  his visions  for the future.  One area I have found particularly interesting is the area of television.  We have seen the Apple TV offering but it falls far short of a satisfying experience.  Augmenting a TV rather than replacing the television.   I am sure he would be the first to say the initial Apple foray in television was less  than stellar. But then this is Steve Jobs and his visions were always far grander.  His comment regarding Apples intent around the television in the forth coming biography highlights this point “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. “It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.” What if he did?  How many of the people on this planet own a TV and what if the existing TV experience was significantly enhanced?  The television has been augmented with devices but the core TV has changed little (OK…I do love Flat screen…that was cool).  If Steve is correct, yet again, we could be looking at a new era of television viewing experience.

To be clear this area has been traveled many times before.  When I first started in the industry and as I wrote earlier this was a big area of opportunity before the internet.  The problem was the world was just not ready at the time.  With all signals to the television now being sent in digital format that is changing.  We now have services being streamed across the internet like Netflix and Hulu.  Our access to content provides us with hundreds of channels to choose from.  However for the most part our experience has been complicated as we have a choice between satellite and cable services, a Tivo box, blue-ray player, HD content, etc,,  Going into anyone’s house and trying to turn on a television can be an adventure.  Try finding the correct channel changer.  Takes time.  Perhaps the time is right to rethink the whole television experience.

If you think about your television it is just a giant monitor like a PC.  But to date it has not seen any significant enhancements despite all the new gadgets we can attach to it.  As we add new devices and functionality we seem to be adding new complexity.  A fried of mine bought a new LCD a few years back with a Tivo.  His comment to me was “It would be helpful to have better guidance in the setup as to what you need”.   After three trips back to the retail outlet he had a functioning entertainment system.  What happened to I plug the TV in and attach my cable and off I go?  Don’t get me wrong despite these complexities people love their entertainment.  In the end they put up with it.  However if someone came up with a better user experience that took television to a whole new level  people would gravitate towards that offering.

To date most of the efforts have been on the set-top box and providing new digital services.  At Microsoft this was tried several times.  The cable providers have done this.  Though some of the demo’s I saw were pretty cool, for the most part it appeared to be one more controller.  One more thing to hook up and one more thing for the cable provider to charge me for.  The solution for some was a universal controller.  Go to “x” site and download the latest software and let it walk you through setup. Having spent enough time in geek land we can all vomit in unison now (Steve Jobs, RIP, I am sure will vomit with us).  People get tired of going through set up’s asking a bunch of questions that they usually do not understand.  God knows my wife asks me all the time.  Go ahead install those DLL’s.  What do they do?  I have no f^%^ing clue!  All I know is if you say no, the app will not install, it will abort.  Why they hell ask someone in the first place?  Who are these programmers and do they speak a recognizable human language!?!?  Ok, my rant is over, sorry I digressed.  But do I want this on my TV?

In my earlier Steve Jobs quote he said, “it will have the simplest user interface you could imagine…”.  What is the UI?  it’s the TV.  In the age of digital your television screen is a big user interface.  With enough real state to make the old Win95 screen look meek and pathetic.  For those who have followed my blog you may remember I managed some of that Windows 95 real state (Prodigy ISP).  However unlike Windows95 I doubt the current Apple leadership would sell AppleTV real estate.  I wouldn’t be surprised is Steve Jobs made sure to forbid it before he passed away. There is the ability to display a lot of useful information on these large flat screen televisions, why not use it?  Just keep it simple stupid.

If Apple has plans and made headway in changing the overall television experience the opportunity is huge.  As was stated Apple would tie all this together with both existing Apple services (iPad, iPhone etc..) and new Apple services (iCloud) .  Show your family vacation in the TV, while streaming from your iTunes music library.  Stream movies easily to the television.  If the user experience is simple to set up and easy to use people will gravitate to it.  If it has iPhone marketing behind it how much will a cable or satellite provider pay Apple for an exclusive agreement?  How many new subscribers did AT&T attract because of the iPhone?  If it’s a game changing experience the value can quickly get onto billions of dollars.  People don’t buy televisions as often as Smartphones.  If it is a success the idea of competitors playing catch up is not going to be an appealing job opportunity as people will be unwilling to switch,.  We have talked in the industry about digital convergence for years and it’s still early but the television transformation will be here soon.  I, for one, cannot wait.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann November 8, 2011