Rising Apple Catches Slumping Samsung

Carl Weinschenk

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined broadband as networks that offer end users 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. It’s quite a jump from the current standard, which is 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

The dust is still settling. It’s clear that a lot of people are not particularly happy. We’ll have more to say about the move and the reaction on Monday.

There were other pieces of news and good analysis this week. Some highlights:

The March to 100G Metro

The main topic of Lightreading reporter Dan O’Shea’s Q&A with Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin was the status of 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) networking in the metro segment. Perrin said that 100G has become the standard speed in the long-haul market, but that it will grow more gradually in the metro market due to the denser population of endpoints. But it indeed will grow in the metro, he said:

It's a couple-year rollout if you look at how it will work through North America and other regions. If you look at metro vs. long haul, the fastest growth rates for 100G in long haul are behind us, and for 2015 and 2016 and 2017, you'll see faster growth in the metro because that trend just hasn't hit yet.

Perrin also suggests that data center needs will contribute to some extent to the move to 100G, but not overwhelmingly. He adds that research on 400G is still squarely in the R&D phase.

Securing the IoT

The extravagant promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is matched by the fears of what could happen if security is not in place. The list of vulnerabilities, from the brakes on connected cars to the safety of the power grid to control of sensitive medical devices, essentially is endless.

Companies that stand to benefit from the IoT know this. Verizon is one of those firms, and this week it took a step by introducing the Managed Certificate Services platform, according to ZDNet. Verizon, which reported IoT and telematics revenues of $585 million last year, is making the service available immediately in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific. Larry Dignan provides a brief overview:

In a nutshell, Verizon's service---a Managed Certificate Services platform---will create digital certificates for large enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. Verizon defines a large IoT deployment as one that connects tens of millions of devices.

More Coming from the Administration

The Obama Administration hasn’t been shy in asserting itself, especially since the November elections. One area in which commentators have said there may be room for compromise with the Republican Congress is on cybersecurity.

That idea soon will be put to a test. Politico reports that The White House will send Congress what it describes as a “sweeping” proposal to restrict what companies can do with the data they collect. The crux of it is empowering the owners of the data:

The forthcoming measure — slated for release next month — would require large Internet companies, online advertisers, mobile app makers and others to ask permission from consumers before collecting and sharing their most sensitive personal information, according to three sources briefed by administration officials. Companies that collect data for one purpose would in some cases need to get user sign-off before deploying it in a markedly different way, the sources said.

The story implies that the opposition of the Congress and the businesses that would be affected make passage of legislation based on administration proposals unlikely.


Apple Catches Samsung

Engadget reports on numbers from Strategy Analytics that counter the common wisdom on smartphone sales. The firm found that Apple shipped as many devices as Samsung – 74.5 million – during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Writer Daniel Cooper pointed out that this was the first quarter in which both the iPhone and iPhone 6 were available, which may have inflated Apple’s numbers. The firm reports that 1.3 billion phones were shipped during 2014, and that 81 percent of them run on the Android operating system. During the fourth quarter, 380.1 million devices shipped.

The report points to Samsung trouble: It is battling Apple at the high end, Huawei in the middle tier, and Xiaomi at the low end.

Microsoft, Innovator

And, finally, comes a story suggesting that it is important to continually question one’s assumptions. If they pass that test, fine, but remember to test them again in the near future.

That little lesson underpins Preston Gralla’s commentary on HoloLens, the new 3D imaging goggles from Microsoft. The glasses, which were introduced last week, enable the wearer to see and create in holographic images. It is unclear, of course, how successful they will be. It is fair to make the statement that they are very cool.

Gralla says the general assumption that Microsoft is a hidebound and unimaginative company is off the mark. If it once was true, it no longer is. He points to the latest European Union R&D spending report, which puts Microsoft (at $10.6 billion) ahead of Google ($6.7 billion) and Apple ($3.5 billion) in R&D spending. (The numbers, apparently for 2012, show that Samsung, at $11.2 billion, is the leader.)

Gralla’s point is that though Microsoft hasn’t had a breakthrough and certainly doesn’t have the image that Apple does, the conventional wisdom on its stodginess is wrong. Whether the HoloLens will set the record straight, of course, remains to be seen.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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