The biggest deal of the year fell apart when the government put the kibosh on Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Another big one, however, seems headed to completion. Computerworld reports that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating an order approving AT&T’s $48 billion purchase of DirecTV, though it is said to have conditions.
According to the story, Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in the Antitrust division, said that the finding is that the deal, which will combine AT&T’s land line and DirecTV’s satellite businesses, will pose no undue threat to competition. The conditions seem to be aimed at ensuring that the newly combined company follows existing net neutrality and related laws and regulations.
Bad Days for Qualcomm
A good way to tell the health of an industry segment and its dynamics going forward is to look at the moves made by companies who supply elements of the end products. Using this guide, things are not going well in the smartphone industry.
This week, chip maker Qualcomm said it will lay off 4,700 people, which is about 15 percent of its workforce. According to the EE Times story, it will spin off its non-strategic elements and cut annual costs by $41.4 billion by 2016. These moves were announced with its quarterly results which, according to the story, “were down significantly but in line with expectations.”
Jessica Lipsky summed up the factors leading to the poor quarterly and the subsequent moves:
The results amount to the first big downturn for the company that has been a darling of the go-go mobile era. Qualcomm attributed the decline to a decrease in licensing revenues, a burn off in inventory and reduced demand for premium chip sets from a vertical customer -– likely Samsung — as well as lower than expected sales in China.
4.2 Million Apple Watches Ship
The Apple Watch clocked in at 4.2 million devices shipped during the second quarter, according to Canalys. That number, which beat its competitors, is particularly impressive because the device was not officially released until April 24, which was three weeks after the quarter began.
Datamation reported that the Apple Watch “handily” beat Fitbit, Xiaomi and other devices in the category. A fuller picture of the actual success of the device will form when the next quarter’s results are released, as there have been problems such as interference to infrared sensors by tattoos and faulty components.
Cisco Exiting the Set-Top Business
Cisco, which entered the cable set-top box and customer-premise equipment (STB and CPE) segments a decade ago with the purchase of Scientific-Atlanta, is making its exit, according to Broadband Technology Report.
The company’s CPE unit will be sold to Technicolor for $600 million in cash and stock. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year or early in 2016. The story notes that software is overtaking hardware and that the segment is consolidating.
Optimizing the Wi-Fi Network
Chris Spain, the vice president of product management for Cisco’s Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group, prefaced his list of Wi-Fi network best practices with commentary on the growing number of devices and applications that a network must support. He explained that using LTE to meet the growing needs would be very costly.
However, according to his list of best practices, planners should position access points (APs) properly in terms of density and coverage area, “beef up” network management, use 5 GHz spectrum wherever possible, and build now for the wave of mobile devices to come.
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 [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.