I just got a note from Telus to let me know that the new BlackBerry Classic is now available online and will be available in-store in early January. The BlackBerry Classic is available for $50 on a two-year Your Choice plan or $550 outright. For more info, surf to: http://www.telus.com/en/on/mobility/devices/blackberry-classic/
James Moore, Canada’s Minister of Industry, today announced details of the upcoming AWS-3 spectrum auction. Here’s the high level bullet points:
- The auction is scheduled to begin March 3rd, 2015
- Newer entrants such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicty and Videotron and anyone else with below 10% national and 20% provincial market share will have spectrum set aside for them.
- This spectrum will allow carriers to deploy LTE
- The government will be developing a plan to enable use of the AWS-4 spectrum “so that a new competitor can offer more choice to Canadians, especially those in rural and remote areas.”
- An additional 2100 MHz of spectrum will be available for carriers to deploy “to deliver the services that Canadians want.”
Moore in his announcement continued to sing from the song sheet of wanting to “deliver more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada’s wireless industry.” Something that the Canadian government has failed to deliver on thus far. But in the interest of being fair, maybe all of these actions will make a difference. We’ll have to wait and see.
BlackBerry put out their Q3 numbers today and the results were mixed. Here’s the highlights:
- BlackBerry earned just $793-million (U.S.) in revenue in the quarter ended Nov. 29, down from $1.2-billion in the year-ago quarter. The Street was looking for mid-$900-million range for earnings.
- Revenues declined by more than 20 per cent in each of BlackBerry’s North American and Latin American sales, as the company sold 1.9 million devices to end users, down from 2.4 million in the previous quarter.
- Device revenue came in around $365-million, about 12 per cent lower than the previous quarter.
- Their services business netted $365-million, or 14 per cent below the last quarter.
- There was a net loss during the quarter of $148-million, or 28 cents per share. But that was enough to get an adjusted profit of 1 cent per share, compared to a loss of 2 cents in the last quarter.
However, the market reacted negatively to this. As I type this, BlackBerry stock is down just under 5%. That suggests that this isn’t going over well. But I don’t see why that’s the case as these results though mixed have positives in them that bode well for the company. Though, I’m a computer nerd not a stock broker.
What are your thoughts on BlackBerry’s results?
As you likely know by now, Sony Pictures has pulled the plug on a Christmas Day release of “The Interview” because of the rather epic hack and threats directed towards anyone who dares to show the film. According to some, the hack was carried out by North Korea, but that is almost secondary to the fact that Sony has decided to pull the plug on this film. In my view, this is a severe over reaction for the two reasons.
First, Sony got hacked because their network security was substandard and they ignored signs that they were a target as I pointed out here. In fact, I found this article that shows that Sony as an organization has been getting “pwned” by hackers since 2005. Thus, I submit that this is not the act of some super sophisticated group of hackers. Instead, it was likely a group of people with moderate amounts of skill who were able to walk in the metaphorical front door, seeing as it was wide open, and cause havoc. So while I feel sorry for Sony, they should of seen this coming and protected themselves against it. Related to this, Sony calls this hack “cyber-terrorism.” I have a problem with that term as these hackers simply embarrassed Sony by leaking some caustic e-mails and a script for the next James Bond movie among other things. They didn’t cause planes to crash nor did they shut down the power grid or anything like that as those are the sorts of things that I would associate with “cyber-terrorism.” So calling this hack “cyber-terrorism” seems to be an over the top attempt by Sony to play the victim card.
Second, whomever “The Guardians Of Peace” are, they have shown no sign that they are capable of carrying out the “9/11″ style threats that they leveled against anyone who showed this film. Now I get that Sony was likely afraid of something similar to what happened when The Dark Knight Rises opened in Colorado. But that movie wasn’t cancelled when that incident took place. In fact, I would argue that Sony has set a very dangerous precedent by caving to this group who until very recently nobody has heard of as it will only embolden groups like it to do the same thing in the future, thus making others less safe.
What really needs to happen here is that “The Interview” needs to come out. People then need to see it so that Sony can send a collective “f**k you” to the people who did this. Why? Just take a look at the response to the Parliament Hill shootings not too long ago. As soon as it was practical, everyone from politicians to everyday people went to Parliament Hill to send this message to anyone who wanted to do something like that: We will not be intimidated, we will not bend, we will not break and we are not afraid. By over reacting, Sony has sent the opposite message by saying that they will be intimidated, they will bend, they will break and that they are afraid. I guarantee, this will come back to haunt us, all of us. Because there will be a next time, and it will be worse now that the evil doers out there who do things like this know exactly what buttons to push to get us to cave.
You might recall that I wrote about a Indiegogo project called Brewie which allows you to brew beer at home with the help of your smartphone. The company has announced that they have reached their funding goal on Indiegogo in only 10 days, collecting $100,000 worth of pledges from almost 200 funders. This means that Brewie will become a reality including everyone who pledges before the campaign ends on Jan. 31, 2015.
Now to keep there momentum going the company has announced new perks, such as Brewie Pads that contain all the ingredients you need to brew your own beer, and 5-liter (1.3-gallon) kegs where you can store your brew as it ferments. Also, as soon as their Indiegogo campaign reaches their new stretch goal of $200,000, they will add a new feature to all Brewies that will allow you to add hops at four times in the brewing process rather than only twice.
Check out the campaign at www.igg.me/at/brewie.
The biggest reason is the fact that it thinks that rules and regulations don’t apply to them. That’s flawed logic as Uber is a car service and not a taxi service. At least taxi drivers and taxi companies have some sort rules and regulations wrapped around them. Car services do not. So, instead of trying to work with governments to wrap some rules around their service in a way where everyone is happy, Uber simply ignores whatever rules exist and is largely a rogue operation as a result. Then they try to get their users to advocate on their behalf. That doesn’t seem to be a legitimate business model to me.
On top of that, they deal with negative news in ways that would make PR experts cringe. Take these examples:
- A Los Angeles Uber driver held a woman’s phone hostage for a $500 ransom, after she left it in his car. Uber apologized, punted the driver and told the passenger to hope nothing goes wrong. Gee, what could possibly be wrong with that response?
- In San Francisco, a young girl crossing the street with her mother was killed by a motorist who told cops he was working for Uber. In turn Uber then released a statement saying he was not working for Uber. Then they released another statement clarifying that he was indeed logged on to the Uber app but not doing business for Uber at the time. In other words, not our problem despite the fact he was working for us.
Finally, there’s their terms of service which are truly cringe worthy. For example:
THE COMPANY MAY INTRODUCE YOU TO THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDERS FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROVIDING TRANSPORTATION. WE WILL NOT ASSESS THE SUITABILITY, LEGALITY OR ABILITY OF ANY THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDERS AND YOU EXPRESSLY WAIVE AND RELEASE THE COMPANY FROM ANY AND ALL ANY LIABILITY, CLAIMS OR DAMAGES ARISING FROM OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER.
And this example:
THE QUALITY OF THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES SCHEDULED THROUGH THE USE OF THE SERVICE OR APPLICATION IS ENTIRELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE THIRD PARTY PROVIDER WHO ULTIMATELY PROVIDES SUCH TRANSPORTATION SERVICES TO YOU. YOU UNDERSTAND, THEREFORE, THAT BY USING THE APPLICATION AND THE SERVICE, YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO TRANSPORTATION THAT IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, OFFENSIVE, HARMFUL TO MINORS, UNSAFE OR OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE, AND THAT YOU USE THE APPLICATION AND THE SERVICE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
So, let me get this straight. I use Uber, but Uber isn’t responsible if things go sideways. It’s the problem of whomever you get despite the fact that Uber allegedly screens them (which as this example illustrates is questionable at best) and gives them access to a dispatch system via their app and they operate under the Uber banner. Seriously? That does not inspire confidence in Uber. I guess that I better pay the safe ride fee when I use them.
Wait. Now that I think about it, why should I have to pay extra to be safe? Isn’t safety assumed? I guess it isn’t with Uber. And even if you pay, you’re still subject to those craptastic terms of service. So how truly safe are you?
In my opinion, this company needs to evolve and embrace the fact that it needs to be a good corporate citizen in order to exist. If it can’t do that, then I am in favor of having them disappear forever. Now if you’ve handed over some VC money to them, I am sorry that you’re likely to lose it. But the fact is that Uber isn’t going to be a disruptive force to change the world. It’s simply a bad actor that like a cockroach, needs to be exterminated.
I fully expect to get some hate mail about this. But I am okay with that. Because sometimes you just have to say what needs to be said.