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Author: Wishy Arora

Protecting Net Neutrality – should the internet be regulated like electricity?

In mid-January, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned two of the three provisions of the Open Internet Order passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December 2010. The two provisions that have been struck down were meant to promote net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data on the internet equally, and not treat data of any particular type or from any source differently from the rest (for details on the ruling, see this excellent article by The Economist).

This ruling paves the way for ISPs to charge differentially for services that they think are using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth on their networks, such as music and video streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. So in theory, ISPs could tell customers that a basic broadband pack costs $25 per month, but if they want unlimited streaming from Netflix, they’ll have to pay $10 per month extra. For customers who don’t, ISPs could restrict access to such services, or, more likely, throttle the speeds customers get while accessing such services. Alternatively, ISPs can charge companies that use large amounts of bandwidth in order to provide unfettered access to their services to customers. There’s some evidence that a few such backroom deals are already in place – with this ruling we’ll start to see many more of them.
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Hardware commoditization at CES

Interesting post on hardware commoditization on the Digits to Dollars blog:

The hard reality of electronics today is that if you can make a device, it will get copied quickly.

At the same time:

Whatever you want to build, there is probably someone in Shenzhen who already has a circuit board laid out for you, who can help you design your shiny plastic cases and most likely help you get it shipped.

Like most technological progress, the advances in electronics manufacturing are a double edged sword. If you have an original idea for a device that you think can disrupt (or create) an industry, this is bad news. But if you lack original ideas, but want to make money selling devices nonetheless, it’s great news.

As an aside, it’s much harder to replicate software and an ecosystem than it is to copy hardware. The biggest successes of the dot-com era (think Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook) have based their success on building a software ecosystem or platform. This is what’s giving sleepless nights to companies like Samsung, Dell and Sony, whose success was built on their hardware prowess.

Of Whatsapp vs telecom operators

So Whatsapp was used for 54 billion messages by their users on December 31.

And while Whatsapp was doing this, Airtel was sending all their subscribers an SMS that read:

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Why e-commerce and customer loyalty don’t go together

E-commerce companies are a dime a dozen in India nowadays. Google for any product, and chances are you’ll get multiple links on the first page to buy it online. But as the market matures and new customer acquisition becomes more expensive, the biggest challenge facing e-tailers is how to cultivate customer loyalty.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. E-commerce and customer loyalty aren’t exactly made for each other. There are a number of reasons for this:

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The difference between brand loyalty and brand preference

The word “brand” is probably the most abused word in marketing today. You’ll hear it being bandied about in almost every marketing discussion, with everyone assuming that everyone else knows exactly what it means. And it’s taken as accepted wisdom that it is the job of marketing to create brand loyalty. Well, it’s not.

But before we get into why it isn’t, we need to define our terms. I define the term “brand” from the customer’s perspective, as:

A set of experiences with a company that are transformed and codified into an attitude towards the company’s products, services, etc.

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