Sprint’s Boost a Model for Prepaid Success

The race to lure cost-conscious users with cut-rate prepaid plans is on. Sprint is demonstrating how Tier 1 operators can compete without turning their brands into the mobile equivalent of Wal-Mart. It’s a twist on the old MVNO model, but with the virtual operator serving as a subsidiary of the true operator. Sprint can position itself as the entrenched, familiar player with traditional plans as it attracts penny-pinching users via a separate brand in Boost.

Cloud Security: Best Left Understated

Cloud security has received a lot of attention over the past few weeks as result of both the RSA Conference and the Black Hat Europe taking place in mid- to late-April. The RSA Conference, especially, got boatloads of attention thanks to the Cloud Security Alliance making its official debut at the event. And while I’m happy security is getting all of this attention — it’s a huge concern — I’m afraid the rosy state of affairs being conveyed by certain experts will actually have a negative effect on the industry.

Real Networks Throws Haymaker With “TiVo for DVDs”

For the last 10 years, Real Networks has resembled a past-his-prime boxer. Ever since the Internet world said “thanks, but no thanks” to the company’s streaming formats and yes first to Windows Media, then to Flash, the Seattle-based Internet media pioneer has been taking wild swings in hopes of connecting a knockout punch. While the company has periodically landed glancing blows — as with its lawsuit and legal settlement against Microsoft — most of the time, it swings and misses. That has been reflected in its large losses in 2008 and languishing stock price.

Real has recently thrown one last haymaker by opening up a potentially promising — and very risky — line of business.

Is There a Rosy Future for Microsoft and Verizon?

The Wall Street Journal this week reported that Microsoft and Verizon Wireless are developing a multimedia touchscreen phone slated for release next year. There’s some speculation about whether Pink, as the project is dubbed, is a smartphone, a suite of consumer-focused mobile services or simply an unfounded rumor. Regardless of its exact form, if Microsoft isn’t already at work on Pink, it should start. Today.

Private Clouds Brighten the Post-McKinsey Gloom

You have to give McKinsey & Co. credit — its report questioning the cost efficiency of cloud computing has legs. It has been more than two weeks since the report was released, and the hits just keep on coming. The report has raised the hackles of public cloud supporters (rightfully so), and it has raised the profile of private clouds, which McKinsey summarily dismissed when it suggested virtualization as the on-premise alternative to the cloud.

On Twitter, Does Reciprocity Matter? It Depends.

Twitter is a kind of Rorschach test. Why you find (or don’t find) it valuable depends on your motivations. Want to be center of attention? Try to gain followers no matter how similar your interests are. Own a business? Twitter is your online marketing channel for shoe-shoppers. You’re an analyst? Twitter may be your new Google Reader.

Apple Thinks Enterprise Is Ready for the iPhone

This was (yet again) the week of the iPhone. Apple’s gotta-have gadget fueled a record non-holiday quarter for Steve Jobs’ company (selling 4 million units and generating $1.5 billion in revenue), accounted for more than half of AT&T’s new subscribers, and helped the App Store reach its 1 billionth download. So how could the hottest gadget in wireless get any hotter? By conquering business users. And that may be next, if Apple’s latest marketing push is any indication.

VMware, Oracle-Sun Dominate the Headlines

It will take a long time before we really can take stock of the respective successes of this week’s two huge events — VMware releasing its vSphere cloud operating system, and Oracle buying Sun Microsystems — but that didn’t stop copious amounts of speculation. And why should it have? While both announcements promise to have profound effects, they also leave plenty of unanswered questions.

Do Consumers Care Where Their Content Is Stored?

Reading Om’s piece on Pogoplug this week, I started to think about how local network storage and cloud storage are becoming indistinguishable to the end user. While it’s not technically cloud storage, Pogoplug allows you to placeshift by accessing your locally stored content through the cloud, making anywhere access to content much simpler.

As Standards Evolve, Smart Grid Eyes IP

Standards for smart energy technology were all over the Green:Net conference last month, and the issues raised at our event hit the news this week, as government agencies started pushing the standards ball forward. While some players say they’d like to see the market chart the course on standards, urgency surrounding global warming and utility timelines may force the discussion toward Internet protocol.