Tuesday, July 1, 2008

IT-sector: time without worries

For the global IT-industry seems to have come quiet period. Indeed, the first quarter of this year proved overly saturated with events, so it is logical that early summer IT-market participants wanted to use for simple relaxation. Either way, but the main news of recent weeks were related to social networks and mobile communication.

One of the world's largest cellular operators British company Vodafone Group published its current financial report. It follows that net profit operator on the basis of 2007-2008 fiscal year (ended March 31) amounted to 8.49 billion euros. Over the same period last year, the company suffered a net loss of 6.04 billion euros. Revenues for the company's 2007-2008 fiscal year increased by 14.1% to 44.58 billion euros against 39.08 billion euros a year earlier. Operating profit amounted to 12.62 billion euros, while in the same period a year earlier the company received operating losses amounting to 1.97 billion euros. The guide Vodafone successful financial performance are linked with the growth of profitability of their operations in emerging markets and stable profitability in Europe. Meanwhile, executive director of Vodafone 53 - year old Arun Sarin announced that the resignation will take at the end of July this year. His successor as head of the company will present Vice 46 - Vittorio Kolao summer. (Reference: Arun Sarin became the head of Vodafone in July 2003 During this period, the company has undergone significant changes, came out on the developing markets of Romania, the Czech Republic, Turkey, as well as India, where Vodafone has acquired a controlling stake in Indian operator Hutchison Essar, and thus , Went to the most rapidly growing telecommunications market in the world.) Today, Vodafone Group is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. It operates in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Pacific and the USA. The number of subscribers of Vodafone is more than 240 million people.

However, not all mobile operators operate equally successful. Capitalization of the world's largest (by number of subscribers) operator of cellular communications company China Mobile fell by $ 25 billion, following a statement by the Chinese authorities about the intention to restructure the industry to support small operators. Shares in China Mobile fell 7.5%, which was the largest decline in the value of securities operator for the last 6 years. The drop in the value of shares in China Mobile and the impact on the index MSCI Asia Pacific, which fell by 1.7%. China Mobile controls two-thirds of China's cellular market with a population of 1.3 billion people. At the moment, cellular communications in the country enjoys more than 583 million people. China Mobile capitalization exceeds $ 330 billion.

As for the mobile market across the globe, the number of mobile phone users by the end of 2007 reached 3.3 billion people, representing 49% of the population of Earth. Worldwide growth of new subscribers amounted to 22%. In doing so, the majority of new connections were in developing countries. Thus, in the African Region, an increase of 39% in Asia - 28%. Some only China and India are connected over the past year 143 and 154 million subscribers respectively. Against the backdrop of strong growth in mobile connections seem quite minor figures fixed telephony development. The number of subscribers connected in a way the world is less than 20% growth over the past three years amounted to less than 1%.

However, not all mobile markets are developing dynamically equally - some are on the brink of stagnation. For example, U.S. sales of mobile phones in I quarter of this year declined compared with same period last at 22%. Revenue from sales declined by $ 200 million According to analysts, so influenced by two factors: the saturation of the American market (84% of residents enjoy mobile communication), as well as the American economy crisis. Since 2005, when analytical company NPD Group has begun to monitor the market for mobile phones, the number of vehicles sold in the beginning of the year declined for the first time. Now director of NPD Group analyst Ross markets Rabin argues: "Mobile phones have become indispensable in the life of modern man. Meanwhile, taking into account the decline in the economy and not knowing when it will end, the Americans decided to delay the acquisition of new mobile phone ". Saturation, the maturity of the North American market - the second factor that could influence the decline in sales.

Note that news on the reduction of sales of mobile phones will add headache management company Motorola, said in March this year, the division of their business. Despite the loss of positions in the I quarter of this year, it still retained the leadership in the U.S. mobile market, but the company's share declined from 35% to 27%. Shares of Samsung and LG accounted for 18% and 17% respectively - these companies hold strong positions. The world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones Nokia company in the I quarter of 2008 - the first won on the U.S. market share fourth place with 8%. The difficulty in mastering the U.S. market for Nokia is that here the majority of mobile phones sold through carriers. In addition, some interesting Nokia phones either do not come to the U.S., or appear here in a few months after the release in other regions - Europe and Asia. But the situation appears to be changing: Nokia recently opened in California own development center, which plans to create new models of phones designed specifically for the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, Communicator iPhone continues its victorious march on the planet. In early March, the company Apple with its financial partners launched a venture fund iFund, which, with the budget of $ 100 million to support advanced software development platform for the iPhone. However, so far to get money from the fund, only two were able developer.

The first of them - the company Pelago. It creates iPhone-version of its service Whrrl, in which users may specify interesting places to visit (restaurants, cafes, clubs, exhibitions, etc.) and look similar "point of interest" of their friends or simply other people. The money also brings its creators Whrrl through selling advertising. Obtained funding and the company iControl, which undertook to introduce iPhone in the system of "smart homes". Communicator is designed to replace the standard remote control, allowing complete control of lighting, air conditioners, etc. While all this. As recognized in the company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who oversees all financial flows iFund, all since March 1700 have been filed more applications, but apart from these two projects are not received any money. True, a dozen applications are under "serious consideration".

Go to the topic of social networks. A representative from Battery Ventures Roger Lee is confident that in the next year or two in the market blogs, social networks and other resources, content of which is generated by users happen reorganization related to their low profitability. He believes that as a result many of them disappear. The partner of Hummer Winblad Venture Fund Kertsman Mitchell believes that often forecasts profitability projects based on the concept of Web 2.0, absolutely not justified. Using the concept of Web 2.0 companies does not bring them considerable profits. In the future this will lead to a reorganization of the market and the extinction of many companies using the technology Web 2.0. However, investors continue to seek projects with high potential profitability allocated to the general masses. As an example of unusual and potentially lucrative projects called mikroblogingovy resource Twitter and the idea of creating a compact applications for placement in social networks.

Google has not been able to stay away from the house hobbies, social networks. One of the first projects of this kind - Orkut, owned by Google - failed to gain enough popularity among users worldwide, so the Internet giant decided to try to develop alternative means of social projects. The company announced the renewal of its functional service iGoogle personalized start page and suggested the possibility to turn the project into the social network with a subscriber base has already finished. However, Google decided not to dwell on this, and more recently the company introduced the service Google Friend Connect. And again - a non-standard solution from Google: the company does not launch social network as its own draft. New from Google allows each owner of a web resource create their own social network. In terms of concept system somewhat resembles previously announced technology DataPortability. Owner website sufficient to add a small amount of code to your page. After that he may form his own mini-social network, which will have basic opportunities. In doing so accessible registration of users, sending out invitations, viewing gallery of participants, the publication reports. This is added to all applications also support established community OpenSocial. Users of the site, where the module Google Friend Connect, could find their friends in other social networks - Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo. However, after a very short time after starting the service one of the largest social networks - Facebook - refused to work with the system Google Friend Connect. The reason for this decision was the protection of privacy. Staff members in its Facebook blog reported that the method of obtaining information about users, used in Google Friend Connect, contravenes privacy policy Facebook. Worth mentioning that in Facebook especially sensitive to the confidentiality of information about users. Moreover, according to project developers, Google Friend Connect users without the knowledge of the social network Facebook transmits information about them by a third-party developers. Representatives of Google commented that decision Facebook, claiming that users can control at each stage of the movement of your personal information via Google Friend Connect. Draft Google Friend Connect this spring became one of the turns of a similar service aimed at integrating the content of social networks and sharing of user data. Thus, M ySpace launched their technology Data Availability, and soon it joined with its network of Facebook Facebook Connect. Each of the leaders of this market wants to become a center of a new integration of content, not wishing to share their users with competitors. It is clear that Google with its ruler many convenient services, which only just lacks social network, has become particularly undesirable competitor in this market. Clearly this understanding, leading market participants social networks are doing everything to avoid in its terms of Internet giant. But as far as reasonably practicable? ..

The latest news of the review in general has become a complete surprise. U.S. recording companies Association (RIAA) renounced claim to the owners of Russian music online store AllOfMP3.com. The reasons for refraining from further prosecution does not specify. In doing so, given the words official spokesman RIAA, which announced the closure of the site AllOfMP3.com "victory over piracy". I recall the background. Claim to court the Southern District of New York to the administration site AllofMP3.com was filed biggest record labels in late 2006. Among the plaintiffs were the company Warner Bros, Sony BMG, Capital Records and EMI Group. They called AllofMP3.com "notorious black market", which earned $ 30 million a year, providing internet users to download music files without royalties of any reward record labels. In addition to the closure of the site, the company gramzapisi demanded from the administration of AllofMP3.com 1,65 trillion dollars (!), Which corresponds to $ 150 thousand for each illegally posted in the resource composition. Meanwhile, Russian laws do not violate the site. Credits traded music, taking advantage of contracts with organizations for the management of collective rights. Such practices are not considered illegal in Russia, but is treated solely as piracy in the West. Closing believe pirate site called even one of the key conditions for Russia joining the WTO. Nevertheless, in August 2007, Cheremushinsky Moscow court found the former owner AllOfMP3.com innocent. But even in June 2007 site AllOfMP3.com has been closed.

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