Telecom Roundup: Telecom Diversity, Nortel Cuts, Dish Dips, Smartphone Reliability

Obama looks for telecom diversity? -- President-elect Barack Obama reportedly will appoint Henry Rivera, a lobbyist, to head the FCC transition. However, don't necessarily expect things as usual. Right before the election, Rivera sent a report to the FCC on how to expand the roles of minorities and women in telecommunications. Rivera is also heading the selection process for a new FCC chair. [Source: CNET, Ars Technica, BusinessWeek]

Nortel cuts jobs, outlook -- Last week, at least one analyst was warning that Nortel was likely to lay off staff. Prescient is as prescient does. Nortel is laying off 1,300, about a five percent cut rather than the upwards of ten guessed at, and lost $3.4 billion last quarter. It will also freeze salaries increases, reduce the use of consultants, and consider what real estate it could sell. The company is also stopping dividends for preferred shares of stock. [Source: BNET Industry Technology Blog, New York Times]

Dish takes a tumble -- In the slug-out between the two satellite television providers, Dish Networks is making the competitive landscape easier for DirecTV Group, having just posted a net income of 20 cents a share, less than half of the 45 cents a year earlier, on $2.94 billion. But the bad news doesn't stop for the company, because analysts expected an average 58 cents a share, so Dish missed its numbers by 38 cents a share. Things will likely get worse, as Dish goes after the lower end of the market, that part likely to be hurt most by general economic fallout. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

iPhone versus Blackberry reliability study -- A study by a provider of extended warranties claims that iPhones experience half the number of failures as Blackberrys, and that Treos seem like a pain waiting to happen. However, check out all the comments to realize how questionable the study may be, particularly when the responsible company, SquareTrade, may have looked over a year in which the iPhone was largely unavailable. An additional problem that comes to mind is that basing data on people who purchase extended warranties becomes a massively self-selecting set that could make the study results non-expandable to a wider audience. Also, looking at failures after one year doesn't necessarily pick up all the failures during that year, particularly when many failures would be handled by the manufacturer's warranty. [Source: TechCrunch's MobileCrunch]

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