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Beware of Wildly Inconsistent Online Shopping Rules
December 1, 2016
Before you sit down at your kitchen table and lose money shopping for Christmas and holiday gifts, you'd be well advised to learn the rules of the online shopping road. They can be very different from one vendor to another, so shop carefully. Some companies do a great job with customer care. Others don't. I have been both delighted and burned several times, and I'd like to share some of my personal experiences to help you shop more safely.
Pay TV's Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control
November 21, 2016
With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint's video optimization and T-Mobile's Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.
Can Charter Turn a Frog Into a Prince?
November 4, 2016
Charter intends to revive the damaged Time Warner Cable image and brand in the minds of the customer and investor, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. Charter and Comcast are two of the companies American consumers hate the most. However, the pay-TV industry has begun a complete transformation. In the coming new world, both Charter and Comcast may have a second chance.
Batterygate Will Kill Samsung's Holiday Shopping Season
October 25, 2016
When news of Samsung's Batterygate first surfaced, I think that mine may have been the only voice saying the Samsung brand would suffer significant damage, but the company didn't realize it yet. It was lonely, but lately others have come to agree. Samsung now is going through one of the most painful times any company ever has endured. Its brand is severely damaged.
Who's Riding the New TV Wave?
October 7, 2016
There is a generational shift occurring in the television industry. Traditional cable TV, which dominated the last several decades, is going away. Companies like Comcast, Charter and Cox are facing something new: new technological innovation and competition. Which companies will survive, and which will not? Traditional cable TV is on the verge of an extinction event.
The Growing Customer Trust Gap
September 28, 2016
Like most of you, I'm a bank customer -- and I expect that like me, most of you are getting sick and tired of all the stories about how banks abuse customers. Recent news about bad behavior in the banking industry, as well as my own personal experiences, shows that banks don't care about their customers. It's just the opposite: Banks seem to be trying to squeeze every dime out of every customer.
It's Time for Comcast to Get Off the Wireless Fence
September 8, 2016
Comcast tried to give wireless a go several years ago. It failed. It pulled out of wireless, sold its spectrum and was done. Now, wireless has expanded and changed, and competitors like AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV are using wireless to deliver television programming. I'll bet Comcast now wishes it never sold off its wireless spectrum. So, what can we expect from the company going forward?
Dark Days Ahead for Companies That Fail Customers
August 29, 2016
It's 2016, and there are more ways to connect than ever before. You would think customer service and customer care would be at an all-time high. Why, then, do so many customers feel they are at an all-time low? Customers are frustrated. Companies are using social networks to provide customer service, but they are failing. Companies don't seem able to put the pieces together.
Is This the Beginning of the End for the Set-Top Box?
August 12, 2016
C Spire started out as a privately owned wireless competitor in Mississippi. Since then, it has expanded in several directions. Its focus last year was on installing high-speed Internet in a few Mississippi cities. Now it is partnering with MobiTV to offer a new television service for the home. The service will not use the set-top boxes common with cable TV.
The Wonderful, Worrisome World of Self-Driving Cars
July 29, 2016
There seem to be warning stickers for everything. There may soon be a new sticker for the autonomous car era: "Warning: Self-Driving Cars Get Hacked." Despite all the positive news about self-driving cars, there is a darker side to this story that's very important. It's one that can be particularly frightening if you happen to be riding in an autonomous car when it gets hacked.
Verizon Customers Get No Respect
July 15, 2016
Why do customers seem to overreact when Verizon announces changes? Verizon's latest price hike has been causing angst in the marketplace -- at least on social sites like Twitter. Why does Verizon keep shooting itself in the foot? The short answer is poor marketing. Verizon's marketing moves show no care for the customer base, and that comes with at cost to Verizon.
Verizon's Mission of Self-Destruction
June 27, 2016
Customers and investors increasingly are wondering why Verizon and Verizon Wireless are hurting themselves with their actions. For starters, Verizon decided to battle its own striking workers on the public stage. That battle shed lots of bad blood, and it will be tough to close those wounds. Many companies experience strikes, but most are settled quickly and quietly.
Can Huawei Overtake Apple and Samsung?
June 13, 2016
Huawei says it is working hard to overtake Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line in the worldwide smartphone market. If you were to ask anyone over the last eight years if that were possible, you would have heard a resounding "no." The marketplace is changing, though, and anything is now possible. Today Apple, Google and Samsung are enormous, but the rate of smartphone growth has slowed.
Microsoft's Intolerable Windows 10 Aggression
May 27, 2016
Microsoft seems to have gone off the deep end with its tricks to get unwilling customers to upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10. Doesn't the company realize this will hurt it? Does Microsoft think it can be abusive and win? Users are complaining loudly. Why doesn't Microsoft care about the disruption it is causing? A slice of the Microsoft marketplace wants to move to Windows 10. Fine. Many of them absolutely love it. That is not the problem.
Warehouse Clubs Ignore Customer Relationships at Their Peril
May 13, 2016
Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. I've criticized them several times over the years, but it's worth noting that some of these clubs have been improving. Others not so much. I have some ideas about what these companies are doing right and wrong, and how they can fix things to improve customer relationships, sales and profits.
Get Ready for the Mobile Pay Explosion
April 29, 2016
Who is leading the mobile payment race? There are several players competing today. PayPal started the revolution 15 years ago, and Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay have joined the fray. Many newcomers are entering this space on a regular basis. The traditional money space has undergone change with innovations like debit cards and ATM machines, although they took a while to catch on.
Publishers vs. Brave Software: Battle for the Ad Viewer
April 14, 2016
Brave Software is a startup that has ratcheted the ad-blocking game to a new level, and it is raising a lot of stink in the online community. For many people, Web-based ads have become an intolerable, costly distraction. That has led to a variety of ad-blocking approaches. The use of ad-blocking software is growing, because users feel they are being attacked by distracting Web-based ads.
The Calm Before the Next US vs. Apple Storm
March 31, 2016
Apple got a last-minute reprieve last week. The U.S. government no longer is going after the company to break into the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone, for now. It found another way. So Apple dodged a bullet, this time. However, as terrorism rises, this sticky question will rise again -- count on it. Now, when things are quiet, is the best time to debate this issue and come up with a solution.
Does Little iPhone Mean Apple Is Growing Up?
March 17, 2016
Every few months, fans gather with excitement to see what Apple will introduce next -- so what can we expect to see from Apple on March 21? I think the most important thing will be fixing a mistake the company made two years ago. Apple will reintroduce a 4-inch iPhone. As smartphone sales slow, even Apple needs to cozy up to users. Slapping them in the face was not a good sales tactic.
The Flip Side of the Shiny Internet Coin
March 3, 2016
There are two sides to every coin -- a good side and a bad side. One side helps you and the other side hurts you. The Internet is a great example: The good side lets you learn anything, about anything, anytime, any place. The bad side targets you with scams. They are running rampant, and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. How can this be, you may ask? Isn't this illegal?
A Glimpse Into the 5G Wireless World
February 18, 2016
Your world is about to change. 5G is coming. Whether you are a wireless carrier, a handset maker, an app developer, a mobile TV provider, a worker, investor or consumer, your world is about to undergo a major transformation. AT&T recently announced plans to start testing 5G technology this year. Wireless data transmissions could be 10 to 100 times faster over 5G than on current 4G networks.
The Next President's Alternative Energy Agenda
February 4, 2016
Alternative energy has become a real growth engine during the last several years. It seems to bounce up and down, depending on the leadership in the White House. President Obama is a supporter, so growth has been relatively strong in recent years. The big question is, what will happen under a new president? That is a question every investor and industry worker is asking.
The Year of Connected and Self-Driving Cars
January 21, 2016
Connected cars and self-driving cars are two of the hottest and fastest-growing segments in the marketplace today. However, they are often confused. Connected cars are here today. Self-driving cars are not yet, but they are coming. They both mean advancements in automotive. They both use wireless networks, wireless technology, satellite technology, ground-based sensors and more.
Analyst Briefings at CES: One Shot Is Not Enough
January 7, 2016
Why do so many companies fail at industry analyst relations? Since the best answer might come from an industry analyst, I'll share a few thoughts with you. I'll also share some secrets for building a successful long-term technology analyst program. Hint: It's about being on the growth side of the wave. This is a good week to address this issue, since CES 2016 is taking place in Las Vegas.
Microsoft and Apple Share a Peaceful Moment
December 10, 2015
Can you imagine Microsoft and Apple actually liking each other? Who'da thunk such a thing was even possible? However, the holiday spirit is alive and well at Microsoft. The company flew a bunch of workers from around the country into New York City for something very special. They met with a local NYC children's youth choir at Microsoft's new Fifth Avenue store to spread some special holiday cheer.
The Wireless Industry Is Changing Again
November 13, 2015
Wireless is one of the strongest industries today. However, it continues to change. Every few years, the focus changes and the industry goes in new directions. It happened a few years ago with the iPhone and Android. Now change is happening once again. The wireless industry growth wave is changing. It is cresting. That's a problem for companies that don't recognize what is happening.
When Innovation Misfires
October 29, 2015
Innovation is not always good -- it can backfire. Good innovation helps to grow a brand in the marketplace and results in more customer love. Bad innovation does the opposite. Companies would be better off doing nothing than innovating badly. Many public companies innovate on a regular basis because they think they have to. After all, they must keep their investors happy.
E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime
October 15, 2015
Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis. One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."
Warning: Think Twice Before Updating to iOS 9
October 1, 2015
Apple, you insensitive scoundrel, you made my bride cry. It wasn't tears of joy over your great technology, either. It was because you caused the loss of countless personal photos and memories, and all sorts of other personal information that we can never get back again. It's all because you simply didn't warn users not to upgrade to iOS 9 until the bugs were worked out.
When Will Siri, Cortana and Google Now Get Smart?
September 24, 2015
Microsoft's Cortana and Google Now seems very cool -- talking to a computer and having it talk back. It should be like talking to the computer on Star Trek's starship Enterprise. If the technology worked well, these digital assistants could be game-changing. Unfortunately, it doesn't -- not yet, anyway. In the wonderful world of technology, we often get way ahead of ourselves.
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