MarketLine Blog

Posts about Communications

Piracy: The social acceptability of theft and its effect on the movie industry


Internet piracy has been around almost as long as the internet itself. Communities exist, consisting of millions of web users, which are dedicated to sourcing, converting and sharing valuable copyrighted material. Some – The Pirate Bay – were the inspiration for political parties. Others – Megaupload – were responsible for accelerating the fortunes of a small group into the billions of dollars. But all major sites have been in the spotlight for a decade, coming and going, constantly switching web hosts from Sweden to Somalia to Costa Rica, managing to… Read more

Trouble at Twitter: Profit still elusive


Twitter, the micro-blogging social media platform, is struggling. In a week that reminded us of the cost of missing the boat in the tech world, as Yahoo is sold for $5 billion, a mere 25th of its peak value, Twitter released its Q2 results. What they showed was a platform hampered by virtually stagnant growth, and a company that has yet to make a profit, despite being well on its way to ten years old. Twitter makes its money by charging advertisers to boost the visibility of tweets and videos…. Read more

Uber & Didi Chuxing: Uber gives app in China


Uber’s once seemingly irresistible march to world domination has suffered a setback as it agreed to merge its business operations in China with local competitor Didi Chuxing. Uber had been employing the practices that served it well elsewhere, by engaging in subsidizing of rides and drivers’ income to gain market share. However, in China a domestic ride sharing incumbent made from the merger of Didi and Kuadi in February 2015 (later renamed Didi Chuxing) could match Uber’s financial power, as it drew backing from Chinese internet companies and Apple. The… Read more

Xiaomi, not the Apple of China


2014 was an important year for Xiaomi, it saw the company become the world’s most valuable technology start-up, triple its phone sales, become the world’s fourth largest smartphone seller, more than doubling its revenue, and saw it expand to a number of new markets including India, the world’s third largest smartphone market. What makes the company’s performance all the more remarkable is that it has achieved this in less than five years of existence, and without a presence in any Western markets. A number of factors have contributed to this… Read more

The open source and graph database revolutions


The Oracle relational database is the world’s most popular enterprise database software and makes up a substantial part of the company’s software and cloud revenue segment. The revenues for this segment in the financial year ended June 2014 were $29.2bn. Improving on the relational database format is therefore likely to create high levels of income for those companies able to develop and distribute such a product. Graph databases have the potential to disrupt the dominance of relational databases. Large organizations are increasingly concerned with the ways in which the information… Read more

Tumblr pressing play on video improvements won’t worry YouTube


The media networking and blogging site Tumblr have made some upgrades to their native video-player in a bid to boost revenue and keep up with their rivals. There is speculation however that Yahoo! plans to use its acquired blogging site to rival YouTube’s iron grip on the video streaming market. If this is indeed a secret ambition it is surely doomed to failure. Yahoo! bought Tumblr for $1.1bn in 2013, its revenue was $13m, now Yahoo! CEO Marrisa Mayer has announced Tumblr is expected to hit $100m from advertising revenue… Read more

Did Phones 4U fail to pick up the signals?


On 15 September 2014, Phones 4u went into administration. The United Kingdom-based mobile phone retailer had more than 700 high street outlets and a workforce of nearly 5,600. However, when network operator EE announced that it was not going to extend a supply contract with the company, its business model became unworkable. Phones 4u started life as a wholesaler of cellphone handsets called Midland Mobile Phones, founded by entrpreneur John Caudwell in 1987. The Caudwell Group entered the cellphone retail market in 1996 under the Phones 4u banner. Phones 4u… Read more

Samsung aiming to take bite out of Apple’s tablet dominance


With the launch of its Galaxy Tab S, Samsung has signaled its intent to take on Apple head-on in the premium tablet. Priced at the same level as Apple’s flagship iPad Air the Galaxy Tab S could be the Korean company’s last attempt to compete with Apple at the higher end of the tablet market. If rumours are to be believed, Samsung may exit the high-end tablet market if the Galaxy tab S fails to make significant inroads against the iPad. Although Samsung has been able to compete effectively in… Read more

BlackBerry: clinging onto consumers through BBM


BlackBerry’s dire financial results have dominated headlines over the past year, leading to speculation about its future as a business. BlackBerry 10, its latest operating system, has failed to recapture the consumer market, and recent rumors of the company exiting the hardware market, have been circulating. Although it appears that BlackBerry has lost the consumer hardware battle to Apple and Google, there remains one artifact of its original popularity: BBM. As discussed in the MarketLine Case Study, BlackBerry Limited: Does it have a future in the consumer market?, BlackBerry is… Read more

Four major mobile networks in the UK put to the test


RootMetrics, a mobile coverage mapping analytics company has released its report on the UK’s mobile network performance. All four major networks in the UK, Vodafone, O2, Three, and EE were all included in the report. EE was the clear winner overall, performing better than all other networks in each category measured, whilst Vodafone ended in last place overall and also in each individual category apart from one. The company tests three main factors: mobile internet testing, call testing, and text testing. The mobile internet testing was based on performance, where… Read more

Tim Cook needs to take a bite into Apple’s innovative core


Following his death in October 2011, Steve Jobs was always going to be a tough act to follow. He was named CEO of the decade by Fortune Magazine in 2009 and turned a loss making company into the world’s most valuable one. The increasing sales revenue the new CEO, Tim Cook, has managed in a more competitive market, saturated with similar products, is therefore very impressive. Selling 150m iPhones in 2013, compared to 72m in 2011 is no mean feat, either operationally or in terms of obtaining the sales. However,… Read more

Microsoft’s new CEO – opening the window to a fresh start?


Microsoft’s newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella faces a number of challenges as he takes over leadership of the technology giant. In recent years Microsoft has been criticised for failing to adapt quickly enough to technology trends such as the switch to mobile. Microsoft has been criticised for being too reactionary with its new technology products, and for bringing new products to market too late to be able to secure a large market share. This has been partly blamed on the company’s need to be more conservative than competitors to appease… Read more

giffgaff: Replacing traditional telecoms business model with co-created products and services approach


Despite declining revenues and increasing saturation of the overall UK telecoms market, mobile retail operations revenue increased in 2012, according to the independent regulator and competition authority – Ofcom. Although the rate of growth of the number of mobile subscribers decelerated significantly, there are still business opportunities to take advantage of, especially for mobile virtual network operators, who incur much lower costs and enjoy higher profit margins than traditional operators. giffgaff is a Telefonica-owned, SIM-only, pay-as-you-go mobile virtual network operator active in the UK. The company rents its mobile network… Read more

Does BlackBerry have a future in smartphones?


It is a worrying time for Canadian smartphone manufacturer Blackberry Ltd. (BlackBerry) at a time when its largest rivals seem to be going from strength to strength. Apple Inc. (Apple) has seen huge consumer enthusiasm for its latest flagship, the iPhone 5S, with demand far outstripping supply at launch. Additionally, manufacturers offering products on Google Inc.’s (Google) Android operating system, such as Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Samsung) have enjoyed significant sales figures over the past few months. The news that BlackBerry has had to cut 4,500 jobs (40% of its… Read more

Are smart watches a smart move for Samsung and Sony?


Now that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Samsung) has officially unveiled its Galaxy Gear smart watch at IFA 2013, and with new offerings from other major manufacturers, such as Sony Corporation (Sony), also set to hit shelves within the next couple of months, it appears that wearable technology is about to step into the limelight. Whether the smart watch will enable such tech players to genuinely diversify their product offering, however, remains to be seen. Crucially, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is only compatible with its own-branded line of smartphones and tablets, and… Read more

Nokia sold to Microsoft: admission of defeat against Samsung and Apple in the Smartphone race, and Microsoft makes a precarious gambit


Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has agreed to sell its mobile handset arm to Microsoft in a deal worth EUR 5.4bn ($7bn). The deal represents the final hurrah of both the diminished Nokia, crestfallen by the advance of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market, and current Windows CEO Steve Ballmer, due to step down in 2014. Over 32,000 staff will transfer from Nokia to Microsoft, with the deal expected to be completed in 2014. For Microsoft, their monopolistic control over the PC market has been compromised by the advent… Read more

Texas Instruments Case Study: National Semiconductor is TI’s Latest Strategic Acquisition


In September 2011, Texas Instruments (TI) acquired National Semiconductor (NatSemi), a leading manufacturer of analog semiconductors. The deal significantly increases TI’s share of the buoyant and highly profitable analog market. It is also the latest in a series of acquisitions and divestments that over the course of more than a decade have helped transform TI from a diversified technology company into one highly focused on semiconductor manufacturing. TI has been using acquisitions and divestments to focus on its core competence of semiconductor device manufacturing. In 2011, TI acquired NatSemi, a… Read more

EE’s 4G prices pave the way for the future of the UK mobile telecom industry

  EE, the new UK network established by Everything Everywhere in September 2012, has officially revealed pricing for its 4G service, which has a planned rollout date of October 30th. On offer are 24 month contracts, which range from 500 MB to 8GB data allowances, and support a range of Android devices as well as all varieties of Apples latest flagship, the iPhone 5. The cheapest consumer contract over 24 months will set customers back £36 (approximately $57.74) a month, and includes unlimited texts and calls but only 500MB of… Read more

Amazon continue to pursue the lucrative tablet computer market

  Amazon’s Kindle Fire has seen great success in the US since its launch last November: according to Amazon, it has captured a 22% market share of the US tablet computer market. So, with rumors of an Apple iPad mini, speculated for announcement on September 12th, and the entry of Asus’s Google branded Nexus 7 tablet into the fray, an update to Amazon’s product seemed inevitable. Amazon did not disappoint. On September 6th, we saw three new Kindle Fire tablets revealed to the world: an updated version of the original… Read more

Galaxy S III fever hits consumers across the globe


Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung this week launched the latest product in its flagship smartphone range, the Galaxy S III. The success of its predecessor, the Galaxy S II, which sold 20 million units within 10 months of its release and garnered a great deal of critical acclaim, guaranteed a certain degree of anticipation, but the sight of the kind of queues usually reserved for Apple products will have surprised even Samsung. The Galaxy S II helped Samsung usurp Apple as the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer and has also been credited… Read more