Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jim Crowe plays Futurist again

Jim Crowe, CEO of Level3, stopped by the Silicon Flatirons confab to speak about "long-term trends in communications that had several key takeaways, among them":

  • Internet video use is here to stay, and will only increase going forward.
  • Bundling services with devices is yesterday’s strategy.
  • Legislators and regulators are right to be concerned about the potential for monopolistic practices by AT&T, Verizon and cable companies.
  • Net Neutrality violations could be handled better by the FTC than the FCC. [GigaOm]
The thing that amazes me is how people in telecom still revere this guy. If he is such a futurist, why hasn't L3 had a better record? As far as I can recall, L3 had one black quarter (and that was obviously a fluke).

I have seen Crowe speak at a Comptel event in Orlando. There are many much better speakers. And his "trends" aren't exactly A-Ha's. Read any trade journal to see pages on internet video and the coming exaflood. You have read here many times that "Truth in Advertising" enforcement (at the FTC) would be sufficient for NN.

Bundling is not going away. ATT's SIM Card only offering may seem like the start, Bell-Heads want ALL of your money and to lock you down. It is a marketing strategy that has survived for a long time. In Seth Godin's book, Meatball Sundae, he explains that bundling is nothing new:

  1. What is the Yelow Pages but a bundle of ads and fliers?
  2. What is the mall but a bundle of stores?
Bundling is around to subsidize loss leaders. If Bundling goes away, so would loss leaders. That means everyone would pay full price for a phone. I doubt it, but we'll see. First, let's see if Jim Crowe gets this prediction right, "Our second objective is to achieve sustainable, positive free cash flow as soon as reasonably possible. As such, we expect to be free cash flow positive for the full year 2009." [cnnmoney]

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