Why the Verizon iPhone Doesn’t Spell Disaster for AT&T

Could it be true? Is Verizon REALLY fianally getting the iPhone this time… really? According to Mashable.com, even if they do, it won’t mean the end for AT&T. Some customers won’t be able to afford to jump ship and others may not want to do so. As for me, I’m not getting out of my contract until AT&T gets the iPhone 5 and launches their 4G network! If they make it worth my while and one has to assume that a Verizon competition will do just that, I could come out ahead. Oh, and if AT&T gets their 4G network right, it’s a wrap for me… I’m staying put. All eyes are on this new deal… let’s see what happens.

Amplify’d from mashable.com

Verizon is about to deliver a blow to AT&T when it ends the network’s exclusive hold on the iPhone, but it definitely won’t be the end of the world for the second largest carrier in the U.S.

Earlier this week, Verizon announced a press event next Tuesday in New York City. All signs indicate that Verizon will introduce the iPhone on its network and launch it in the next few weeks. At this point, nobody should be surprised: it’s Apple’s worst-kept secret.

Since the news broke about Verizon’s event, there has been no shortage of media reports about the potential negative impact of the Verizon iPhone on AT&T. Some of it has devolved into (justifiable) AT&T bashing, and some predict that it’ll be a major or even mortal blow to the nation’s second largest network.

Let’s take a step back and keep some objective perspective, though. While the Verizon iPhone will have a negative impact on AT&T, it’s not going to break AT&T’s back. The network has been preparing itself for the loss of its iPhone exclusivity contract for a long time. It’s ready to do battle with Verizon.


Huge Switching Fees


While a group of early adopters are likely to burn their contracts and switch to Verizon on day one, the vast majority of people will not. The reason is that the switching costs are simply too high.

AT&T made a smart business decision last year: they bumped up the iPhone’s early termination fee. If consumers want to switch, the first fee they will have to pay is the ETF, giving AT&T even more money to pad its profits.

The second fee is the cost of the Verizon iPhone. The AT&T iPhone 4 is based on UMTS 3G technology, while the Verizon iPhone will be based on Verizon’s CDMA 3G tech. The result is that consumers will have to buy a new iPhone and a new contract. While they can sell their AT&T iPhones, it won’t offset the cost of a new contract and it definitely won’t offset the cost of that early termination fee.

While some consumers can afford to switch, the vast majority don’t have that kind of money and are on family plans that they won’t abandon immediately.

There is at least one more switching fee for AT&T users who want to jump to Verizon: the switch from UMTS to CDMA. UMTS is a more prevalent 3G standard for a simple reason: it’s a better technology. AT&T actually does have the fastest 3G network in the U.S. and it does have the advantage of being able to send and receive data and voice at the same time, while the Verizon iPhone will not be able to do data while on a phone call.


We May Hate AT&T, but It Has a Response Plan


Of course, people will rightly point out that a faster 3G network means nothing if you can’t even connect to 3G in the first place.

Verizon has a lot of advantages over AT&T. It has the largest 3G network coverage in the U.S. More importantly, it doesn’t have the distinction of being the nation’s most despised wireless carrier. I basically gave up on my iPhone at CES in Las Vegas this week and relied on my Verizon Droid 2 instead. It’s utterly embarrassing that AT&T still has these kinds of problems over three years since the iPhone’s debut.

Oh, and the Verizon iPhone will reportedly offer unlimited data as a slap in AT&T’s fast.

That’s not enough to take down AT&T though, and the carrier is ready to fight back against the Verizon iPhone threat. When the iPhone 5 rolls out sometime this summer, both networks will pull out all the stops in order to get consumers. Price cuts, heavy advertising and incentive offerings will be plentiful later this year. Verizon is going to take some AT&T customers, but it won’t get them without a fight.

At the same time, AT&T is stocking up on some powerful phones to complement the iPhone. Motorola debuted the ATRIX 4G at CES last week, a 1GHz dual-core processing beast that sports a 960×540 qHD screen, a 1,930mAH battery and a full GB of RAM. It even has a dock that lets you use your Android phone and a full version of Firefox on the same screen.

It was the best phone to debut at CES, and it is exclusive to AT&T.

The carrier will try to pull away happy Android phone users from Verizon and other networks with competitive contracts and a new line of ridiculously powerful phones. With phones like the ATRIX, Verizon won’t be having all the Android fun.


The Bottom Line


The bottom line is that AT&T isn’t going to be hemorrhaging users on Verizon iPhone launch day due to switching costs, and AT&T has strong profits and a strong line of phones coming to market this year that will keep it competitive, including the iPhone.

The Verizon iPhone isn’t likely to change the fate of either company. Instead, the future of both carriers will depend on the speed and strength of their 4G network rollouts. Verizon has started its 4G rollout and AT&T will begin its 4G launch later this year. AT&T’s past sins could be forgiven if it succeeds in rolling out a reliable 4G network, but failure could cement its rather poor reputation.

Yes, the Verizon iPhone will negatively impact AT&T. However, to say that it will put AT&T on the ropes is just silly. The intense battle between these two carriers is going to play out for years to come, and both have tricks up their sleeves that will continually change the rules of engagement.

Read more at mashable.com

 

Apple Updates Ping, Makes New Social Network More Useful… so they say

“On Saturday, Apple pushed out an iTunes update (to version 10.0.1) that adds, among other things, the ability to use Ping within your own iTunes music library. Before, you could only “like” and comment on music found within the iTunes Store, but now there are “Ping” buttons found within your own music collection, too.

In the new iTunes, when you hover your mouse over a song in your library, a “Ping” button appears. When clicked, this button allows you to post that track to your Ping profile or visit the artist’s profile page in Ping, where applicable.”

This is all well and good but if I don’t have anyone to “Ping” with why bother? I life Apple but with like most of their goods and services, you have to wait until version number 4 before you can really get a fully functioning product. I’ll check back in on Ping after the Christmas holidays.

Amplify’d from www.readwriteweb.com

When Apple launched Ping, its new music-focused social network found within iTunes 10, the response was decidedly lukewarm. The effort felt incomplete, as if its social features had been rushed out the door before the service was fully built. Ping lacked the most basic functionality, including the ability to rate non-music purchases and an inability to take into account your own music ratings. It also lacked personalized recommendations for artists to follow (apparently everyone likes Lady Gaga) and, at the last minute, Apple pulled Ping’s Facebook integration, too.

Still, we cautioned that disappointed new users shouldn’t give up on Ping yet – the features it needs to be successful aren’t beyond Apple’s grasp. And this weekend, Apple added two new features that prove the company isn’t giving up on Ping yet, either.

Read more at www.readwriteweb.com

 

Apple-Facebook Friction Erupts Over Ping

As if Steve Jobs fights with Adobe Flash aren’t enough, now he’s in the ring doing the tango with Facebook. This time regarding Ping, his music social networking site.

I joined Ping last week after I sat in on the much anticipated live, world-wide Apple press conference. I am not happy with it because I find it to be… well… not very social. I have NO ONE checking me our or my music. At this point you can color me red hot. I LOVE music and I LOVE sharing my tastes with others so you know I’m just a little salty about this. Meanwhile, I see some Ping members with over 30,000 followers already and they aren’t even musicians, I mean really… it’s been less than a week and 30K followers already… how can this be… where are my people? But I digress…

I joined Ping because I wanted to commune with my fellow music lovers. I signed up and then waited for the thousands of people Jobs said would be flocking to my side out of the 160 million iTunes users. You know what I got? Not one single person following me. Wait, that’s not true… ONE person is following but he hasn’t engaged with me and we don’t share the same share the same tastes in music so there you go.

Could it be that Apple really needs the Facebook interface? Will I have better luck out of a pool of 500 million users rather than a mere 160 mill? Or, will Goggle and Facebook continue to join forces in an strange sort of combined power play to push Apple and Ping out of the way for good. Will Johnny get Adobe Flash on his iTouch? Will Sally be able to share her songs from Ping on her Facebook page? Will Danielle get any followers on Ping? These and other important questions will be addressed next week on “As the Social Network Turns”.

Amplify’d from bits.blogs.nytimes.com

If it is true that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, then Apple and Facebook ought to be friends. Their common enemy, of course, is Google.

But Apple’s entry into social networking with the iTunes music social network Ping on Wednesday, has made them frenemies (or friend-enemies). And like with all frenemies, issues need to be worked out.

After introducing Ping on Wednesday, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, was asked why Apple built its own social network, rather than, say, build services on top of Facebook, as other music sites have done. Mr. Jobs, who was strolling around a demo room where reporters could try Apple’s new products, said that Apple considered that and held discussions with Facebook, but that the social networking company’s terms were “onerous.”

Still, Apple used some of Facebook open programming interfaces to allow users to find their Facebook friends on Ping. But that stopped working on Thursday.

Why? Facebook blocked Apple from that because Ping had the potential to send so much traffic Facebook’s way and cause “site stability” and “infrastructure” problems, according to people familiar with the situation, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they did not want the friction between the companies to escalate. Facebook insists that businesses that send a lot of traffic to its servers first work with the company to make sure those problems can be handled smoothly, these people said.

In a statement, Facebook said: “We’re working with Apple to resolve this issue. We’ve worked together successfully in the past, and we look forward to doing so in the future.” Facebook did not specify what the “issue” was.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ITunes has 160 million users, according to Apple. But since only a small fraction of those users have enrolled in Ping, it is not clear how Apple could have exceeded Facebook’s limits for traffic. In its Developer Principles, Facebook says that developers who exceed 100 million calls every day must contact the company because they may be subject to additional contract terms.

It is also not clear why Facebook did not call Apple to resolve the issue before it pulled the plug on Ping connections.

In the meantime, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been testing Apple’s social network, opening his own account on Ping. So has another Mark Zuckerberg, whose profile says “It’s true, I invented Facebook.” One of them is fake. From the looks of it, the one that doesn’t have a picture and doesn’t boast of having invented Facebook is the real one, as that user is connected to at least one other Facebook executive, Bret Taylor. Mr. “I invented Facebook” appears to have no connections to other Facebook execs.

Read more at bits.blogs.nytimes.com

Facebook’s privacy policies hit a language barrier

The privacy issue… and the issues around privacy continue to grow.

Amplify’d from news.cnet.com

McDonald’s. Blockbuster. And now Facebook? The social network and its controversial privacy policies are teeming with new complications as regulators overseas increasingly start to regard them as a suspicious, Americanizing import.

This week, data protection officials in Hamburg, Germany, sent a menacing missive in Facebook’s direction, accusing the social network of partaking in illegal activities by retaining data about people who aren’t members of the site but whose contact information may have come into its possession through members’ e-mail importer tools. Last year, the privacy commissioner in Canada put significant pressure on Facebook to simplify its privacy controls, citing concerns that were pulled back into the spotlight when a Toronto law firm filed suit against Facebook this month, for which it’s seeking class-action status.

There will be more incidents like these. Facebook’s privacy policies, however maligned by advocacy groups, have thus far held up decently well in the U.S.; a coalition of senators who called attention to the amount of data that Facebook shares with third parties quieted down when the social network made some modifications. But more than three quarters of Facebook’s users live outside the U.S., in countries where laws are different, and where lawmakers are much less likely to agree with the Facebook concept–or even the American concept–of online privacy.

Read more at news.cnet.com