Live Webcasts of Major Events: The Inside Story

The people who brought you live online coverage of Olympics, Tiger Woods’ epic U.S. Open win, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Oprah’s web casts and the presidential debates share tales from the trenches today at NewTeeVee Live.

  • Tom Morgan, Chief Strategy Officer, Move Networks
  • Eric Schmidt, who runs Microsoft Silverlight’s monetization and adoption efforts
  • Mark Taylor, SVP, Level 3 Communications
  • Alex Withers, Director of Digital Media for USGA

Om: Live video is exploding on the web so let’s talk about the business and economics of live video. The cable and telephone companies like to talk about live video breaking the Internet. But today, do you think Oprah can bring the network down?
Morgan: In the old days it might have, but with new CDNs the capacity to scale the business and grow the business is growing exponentially. Read More about Live Webcasts of Major Events: The Inside Story

Why the GPS Party Is About to End

SiRF Technology (SIRF), a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of GPS chips, this morning said it was cutting jobs and trying to restructure its business due to softening consumer demand. Already the worst performing tech stock for the year, shares of SiRF nosedived in early trading this morning.

“SiRF experienced greater-than-expected softness in product demand from its customers, especially in the PND, or Personal Navigation Devices market,” the company said in a press release.

SiRF is the canary in the GPS coal mine. In other words, the GPS device market has hit the skids and we should expect more bad news, and more dominoes to tumble. Why? Look at SiRF’s customers: Tom Tom, Magellan, NAVIGON, Sony and European white-label GPS maker, Binatone. If the macroeconomic trends are putting a damper on SiRF and its chip-buying posse, it isn’t hard to extrapolate and see trouble for Garmin as well.

Looking further out onto the horizon, I think the standalone GPS device market is going to get cannibalized by mobile phones, which are getting increasingly sophisticated when it comes to personal navigation functionality. GPS devices were among the hottest-selling consumer items this past holiday season, with sales up 214 percent and revenues up 488 percent, respectively, year-over-year.

SiRF Cuts Jobs, Wipes Out Mobile TV

GPS chip maker SiRF Technology has reduced first-quarter sales estimates and implemented a cost-savings plan that will cost about 50 people their jobs and result in the closure of SiRF’s offices in Stockholm and South San Francisco. Aside from general economic malaise softening demand for personal navigation systems, the other whammy for SiRF was a lousy mobile-TV market. According to the release, it’s getting out of the market altogether.

“Although SiRF has made considerable progress on the development of its mobile TV technology, the market for mobile TV has been slow to ramp up. In view of this, the Company has stopped further product developments in the mobile TV space and will focus its efforts on its core business.”

Much of the data has pointed to this, but companies, such as Broadcom, which has pushed its mobile TV chips into higher-volume production and Dish Networks, which recently bid $712 million for spectrum that can be used for mobile television, still haven’t gotten the memo. Either they can afford to play now at a loss, in hopes of a slow market eventually arriving, or they know something we don’t.

Picture This: You are Here.

Skyhook Wireless said today it will provide its Wi-Fi-based location awareness technology for users of Locr software who want to automatically add geographic information to their photos. Although fun, like many location-based services that have been long promised and poorly delivered, it’s certainly not the type of killer application destined to drive the market forward.

However, Skyhook’s technology, which consists of software already embedded on the device (such as the iPhone) adds a missing component to the location conundrum. Skyhook maps the location of Wi-Fi hotspots and uses them to triangulate a cell phone’s location. It works well indoors and in urban areas where Wi-Fi hotspots are dense. But it’s not going to help much if you’re in the middle of a field somewhere.

Read More about Picture This: You are Here.