This morning's Squawk Box recording quality is a little poor, which I apologize for. We have some noisy background coming from one of the lines and it was impossible to remove. Still, we had a good call talking about:
The winners of the 700Mhz auction in the US last week. Verizon appeared to be the big winner picking up a huge chunk of the 700Mhz "C" block, while AT&T won 227 licenses in the B block. What many people didn't realize was that on February 8th, the FCC also approved the sale of Aloha Communications to AT&T, which was the big winner in 700Mhz auctions in 2001 and 2003. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile participated in the auction, but T-Mobile was the winner of a nationwide license in the 2006 AWS spectrum auction. Google didn't win any spectrum, despite their noisy entry into the auction. Did Google want to win anything? What does it mean for Sprint in the 3G world? Will Canadian regulators be following this as we prepare for our own auction here?
This morning Michael Arrington is calling out the big market players who have committed to openID, but are simply providing identities to their users. Microsoft and Yahoo, for example, allow people to use identities created by them on other openID supporting systems. They don't accept openID's in return. Arrington says that these ompanies are exploiting openID for PR benefit, but not actually committing to it. Is he right?
And stupid marketing blunders. The one I held up us an example was last week's announcement by Sony of a program called Fresh Start. Everyone is familiar with the mountains of trial software that you get on every new PC. The stuff we all call bloatware, or craplets… Last week Sony announced a new program called Fresh Start where… for a fee of just $50… they would send you your PC without all that garbage. Clean, fresh… naturally there was an uproar, and Sony quickly backpedalled and took the fee away. Companies pay to be on the desktops of these PCs, and for the PC manufacturers this is a revenue stream. Sony apparently decided that they would try to get the consumer to pay this premium directly, and is now faced with all their customers potentially saying "just ship it to me clean". We discussed how Sony might have handled this differently.