Google’s OnHub router may save WiFi from itself

OnHubGoogle this week introduced its first WiFi router and my initial reaction was “Why?” WiFi access points and home routers tend to be low-margin commodity products that could only hurt financial results for the search giant. What made it worth the pain on Wall Street, then, for Google to introduce this gizmo? And then I realized it is Google’s best hope to save the Internet… and itself.

WiFi is everywhere and it generally sucks. WiFi has become the go-to method of networking homes and even businesses. I remember product introductions in New York back in the 80s and 90s when we were told over and over again that it cost $100 per […]

The KickStarter Paradox

Among the great business innovations of the Internet era are KickStarter and the many similar crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo. You know how these work: someone wants to introduce a new gizmo or make a film but can only do so if you and I pay in advance with our only rewards being a possible discount on the gizmo or DVD. Oh, and a t-shirt. Never before was there a way to get people — sometimes thousands of people — to pay for stuff not only before it was built but often before the inventors even knew how to build it. From the Pebble smart watch to Veronica Mars, crowdfunding […]

AWS shows Cloud is NOT a high-margin business

AWSearningsLast week Amazon.com was the first of the large cloud service companies other than Rackspace to finally break out revenue and expenses for its cloud operation. The market was cheered by news that Amazon Web Services (AWS) last quarter made an operating profit of $265 million with an operating profit margin of 19.6 percent. AWS, which many thought was running at break-even or possibly at a loss, turns out to be for Amazon a $5 billion business generating a third of the company’s total profits. That’s good, right? Not if it establishes a benchmark for typical-to-good cloud service provider performance. In fact it suggests that some companies — IBM […]

The Net Neutrality Mystery

obama-teaching-1My friend Andy Regitsky, whom I have known for more than 30 years, follows the FCC, blogs about them, and teaches courses on — among other things — how to read and understand their confusing orders. Andy knows more about the FCC than most of the people who work there and Andy says the new Net Neutrality order will probably not stand. I wonder if it was even meant to?

You can read Andy’s post here. He doesn’t specifically disagree with my analysis from a few days ago, but goes further to show some very specific legal and procedural problems with the order that could lead to it […]

The sky is falling and the FAA isn’t ready

S18According to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. airspace system is incredibly vulnerable to hacking and a state-sponsored hacking effort could paralyze air traffic over North America. Very scary stuff. And as a licensed pilot for 45 years, I can tell you that it’s both true and not true, that the system is horribly hackable but that very vulnerability might be what we need to stimulate real airspace innovation.

Ask any American pilot how they feel about the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and you’ll get variations on the same negative theme. It’s not that pilots love-hate the FAA: there’s no love about it. […]