MediaFile

Google’s YouTube money hole not as deep as feared

How much money is Google losing from YouTube?

Not as much as you think, according to a new report by an IT research and consulting firm.

The cost of streaming billions of videos a month, and Google’s difficulties monetizing those videos, has put YouTube on track to lose almost a half billion dollars this year, according to a famous report by Credit Suisse released in April.

But that report failed to take into account key aspects of the Internet infrastructure business that significantly lower YouTube’s costs, says RampRate, a San Francisco firm that consults companies on IT outsourcing practices.

According to RampRate, YouTube’s vast size means it can negotiate bandwidth deals for about half the cost per megabit per second that Credit Suisse used in its estimates. More importantly, roughly three quarters of YouTube’s bandwidth costs are virtually free thanks to peering arrangements that allow it to bypass carrier networks and the associated fees.

“YouTube’s costs are a fraction of any other company running similar operations,” said RampRate’s report, which also estimated YouTube’s hardware costs to be significantly below Credit Suisse’s assumptions, thanks to Google’s use of off-the-shelf commodity hardware.

Take the BlackBerry Tour

I’ve been pretty excited about the new BlackBerry Curve 8900 that my office handed me to replace a prehistoric 8800-series machine. Now there’s a new BlackBerry device, the Tour, which is making its debut this summer. So naturally, I rushed to check out the specs on the web to see what I missed.

Here’s what it’s got: 4.4 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.6 inch thick. There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera, enhanced media player with 256MB built-in memory, video playback and recording capability, and other consumer-friendly features. At under 5 ounces, it’s a little heavier than the Curve 8900, but it doesn’t look that much different.

But Research in Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie told Reuters this latest phone is a “big step forward.” They’re calling it a “world phone”, which means globetrotters can easily access voice and data services on networks outside their home country.

Dell and Palm – Who needs whom?

When Dell hired Motorola’s cell phone president Ron Garriques in 2007, the talk was that the PC giant was preparing to enter the smartphone market.

More than two years later, Dell is still without a handheld gadget.

Instead of trying to build its own smartphone, Dell should simply acquire Palm, said Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar in a note to investors on Friday.

Kumar posits that a Dell acquisition of Palm would help both companies, giving Dell a hot new product in Palm’s recently-released Pre, while giving Palm the deep pockets necessary to hang with the big guys.

AT&T to customers: Have we got an iPhone deal for you!

Apple fans whooped it up yesterday when the company announced its first sub-$100 iPhone and a pair of faster, improved iPhone models.******But if you’re an existing AT&T customer and you’re looking to get your mitts on Apple’s newest gizmo, you might not be so excited by the fine print.******It turns out that the $99 iPhone is actually $499 for many existing AT&T customers. The new 16GB iPhone 3GS -0 the one that features video capture, faster throughput and a digital compass — which Apple unveiled for $199, will cost AT&T customers $599. And the new 32GB version is available to AT&T customers for the very special price of $699, which is significantly more expensive than the $299 price tag that anyone else can buy it for when they walk into an AT&T store for the first time.******The higher prices require renewing a 2-year contract with AT&T.******Update: AT&T said on Thursday that existing AT&T customers who renew their two-year contract can purchase the iPhones for $299 (for the 8GB model), $399 (16GB) and $499 (32GB), rather than the $499, $599 and $699 prices listed on Apple’s Web site. The higher prices are to purchase phones without any contract.******And the folks at AT&T also throw in an $18 activation fee. This activation fee applies to all AT&T customers who get a new device, whether it’s an iPhone or a more basic gadget. The problem is that the iPhone is such a high profile device that it brings everything from the carrier’s network quality to its contract fine print right into the forefront.******In fairness, it isn’t unusual for a carrier to hold off on selling its existing customers heavily subsidized phones until they’ve been a customer long enough to have repaid the debt. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel explained:***

The key here is that the iPhone and our other devices are subsidized. The consumer is paying much less than the cost we will typically pay for devices.

***

As a way of offering those prices we ask them to enter a 2 year contract to cover the cost and give a return to our shareowners.

******Siegel noted that certain customers may still be eligible for the low iPhone prices, depending on how far along they’ve gotten in their existing contract and how promptly they’ve paid their bills. But he said there wasn’t a specific cut-off point in in the 2-year contract that guarantees the better prices — the terms are different for different customers.******So, if AT&T likes you, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you may have to shell out more duckets than your neighbor for Apple’s latest goodies.

from The Great Debate UK:

New iPhone small step towards global domination

tom_dunmore-Tom Dunmore is editor-in-chief of Stuff magazine. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the latest version of its wildly popular iPhone. And it was quite a show, despite the absence of Apple's usual ringmaster Steve Jobs.

The keynote speech at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco was heaving the massed ranks of the global media, hyped by rumours of mini iPhones, touschscreen Macs and Steve Jobs' early return from sick leave.

When it comes to Apple, what’s a bargain? Its stock, maybe

The audience at Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ conference seemed pumped about the new high speed iPhone — and the price cuts. So, too, do everyday consumers, at least the ones I’ve spoken to. Bloggers? They also seemed pleased, for the most part. Silicon Alley Insider said that compared with the new iPhone, “the competition is nowhere in sight.”

But what about analysts and investors? After all, Apple is running a business here and whether the price cuts (and perhaps lower margins) and new iPhone features will make a difference in the bottom line is not to be overlooked.

Well, rest easy. Wall Street numbers crunchers had the same reaction as just about everyone else. J.P. Morgan in a note to clients raised its price target on Apple shares to $155 from $135; Barclays upped its target to $173; Caris raised its target to $170; Credit Suisse raised its taget to $165; and Susquehanna increased its target to $170.

New Apple iPhone features get under your skin

Among all the limelight-hogging features and rock-bottom prices unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ conference on Monday, two underscored the potential for the consumer electronics giant to sidle up and get up-close and personal with users – whether they like it or not.******For the hundreds gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual developers’ pow-wow, Apple previewed a new iPhone feature that will allow users to remotely locate their  device if they ever get separated from it. Executives highlighted another application that, eerily, can directly monitor a person’s vital signs.******In this day and age, when millions advertise not just their location but what they had for dessert via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s unclear how consumers will respond to functions that monitor their movements or their inner workings. Favorably, judging from the applause and hooting when those features were expounded upon.******Find My iPhone allows users to remotely locate their device via the Web. Logging onto Apple’s MobileMe, users can locate their phone on a map; send a text message to the phone, asking that it be returned; or play a strdient alert or alarm. The feature is intended to aid finding a phone left unattended at a restaurant or hidden under a couch cushion, developers said.******The new software also has a feature that allows users to remotely “wipe” the device of all data if it is truly lost or stolen – but allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site — which usually offers music, applications and even video for sale — if the phone is then found, meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.******Besides additional uses of the phone’s GPS capability, Apple on Monday highlighted a third party app that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely - accessing real-time heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and other data collected by hospital devices on their iPhones – clearly helpful for on-call doctors but also very private information.******The app would allow doctors to zoom in and out, measure different parts of the data, and scroll through historical data.******The Critical Care app from AirStrip Technologies has yet to be approved by the FDA, but the company said it was in advanced testing and expects the app will soon be available.******(By Clare Baldwin)

Live blogging the Apple WWDC

Reuters is sending live updates via Twitter from the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference, scheduled to start at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern). Read the updates below or follow us on Twitter.

More on Apple:

Steve Jobs is the product; iPhones the accessories

 New iPhones, expected next week, are likely to be overshadowed by the triumphal return of Steve Jobs as chief executive of the technology group.

No company and its products are more inseparable from its leader than Apple and Steve Jobs. His obsession with sleek design and an always hard to define “cool factor” has produced an unmatched string of hit computers, music players and, recently, phones.    

Lower prices rather that lots of fancy new features should headline the launch of new iPhone models at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday.

Guess what? People are loving the Pre

The verdict is in: The Pre smartphone from Palm is a hit, at least with the reviewers. Sure, there are dissenters and everyone noted some problems with the device, including battery life, limited applications, and the fact that some programs simply loaded too slowly.

Still, for the most part, reviews were of Pre were positive. In fact, all the big names out there — Mossberg, Pogue etc — predicted it could be an real challenger to iPhone. That alone is saying something.

Since we’re here to save you time, we offer a review of the reviews…