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Why Apple Needs Beats (even at $3bln)

Is there really a tech bubble?

If Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion didn't settle it for you, then Apple's decision to buy Beats audio for $3 billion should do the trick.

Fact is, Apple needed to buy Beats. Even if it meant shelling out $3 billion to do it. Check out my video to find out why. And what might lie ahead.


In Apple's Cross Hairs

Apple gave developers an awful lot to work with today at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and many left happy - or at least happier than they were when they got up this morning. But much of what Apple announced on-stage was designed either to keep the other Titans of Technology off their turf, or to add a new feature to attract consumers from the other Titans' platforms.

Indeed, these are just the latest volleys in a high-stakes match for consumers' hearts and minds - and, ultimately, their wallets. The chart above summarizes some of Apple's moves today, and who they impact most. As well, I've thrown in some speculation on what might happen next as a result.



Chrome's Prospects? Ask Microsoft

A year or so ago, clients first started asking me what I thought of the prospects for Chrome OS. What I told them was this: if you want to know about Chrome’s chances, then find out what Microsoft is up to. After all, it was Microsoft’s missteps that gave Google’s cloud-centric PC platform the gaping hole in the desktop market to drive through. And it is the software giant that has the power to mute Chrome’s outlook by righting the badly listing Windows ship.

Clients still ask the question today. I still answer the same way, though the range of possible outcomes is better for Chrome than it was last year — and worse for Windows. A healthy Windows would still pinch the spread, but it could no longer eradicate Google’s upstart OS like it could in 2012.

In a year, I might still be giving the same answer. But the clock is ticking. 

Read the full column on TechPinions ...



Qualcomm Races to Fix Wireless Crunch

Qualcomm conducted a hyper-dense small-cell trial deployment at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race this past weekend, delivering 43 times more capacity than what Sprint currently deploys at events. 

Qualcomm said it chose the Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway because it's such a challenging RF environment with high demands on capacity from the nearly 70,000 fans as well as racing teams and PIR personnel. Hurdles such as battling reflection from the bevy of hauler trucks added to the typical challenges of providing coverage to a highly attended outdoor event.

Sprint typically supports wireless data capacity needs at NASCAR events with Cell on Wheel units, or COWs. For this event, Qualcomm deployed 31 small-cell base stations. In addition to dramatic capacity improvements, there could be cost advantages to Sprint in deploying compact small cells rather than COWs as well.

Many believe that small cells will play a critical role in solving the impending data capacity crunch, as demand for wireless data continues to grow many times faster than 4G alone will be able to provide. Qualcomm calls this the "1000x Challenge," as it forecasts that data demand will multiply 1000-fold by the end of the decade. You can find my white paper on topic HERE.



Is Fitbit the New Abdominizer?

Are wearable fitness trackers really a game-changing phenomenon? Or are they just the latest in a long line of gimmicks designed to snag money from the wallets of people who really want to get in shape but never seem to? 

I’ve been of the mind that an awful lot of the devices will be sitting with the Shake Weight on the treadmill-cum-clothesline in the study. But I'm starting to change my tune.

I’ll submit that my position may be colored at least in part by the wearables hangover I’ve been nursing since CES last month. The manic rush to strap sensors onto body parts and embed them into other connected devices at times felt more like parody than plan. It reminded me of the days before the dot com bubble burst – on a much smaller scale, of course – when all you needed was a PowerPoint deck and a sock puppet to secure enough funding to run Super Bowl ads.

By the time I flew out of Vegas, I'd coined a new acronym: IoC, or Internet of Crap.

No doubt, there is an awful lot of IoC out there. But it's not all IoC. There are Amazon.com's out there with the Pet.com's of the wearables era.

So which is Fitbit? Read my entire column HERE.