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Video Contest: Create A PSA Video Showing The Impact Of Technology On CreativityCase Details

 

Closed: 28 Oct 2011, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $1,000 for Insights on this case.

A few weeks ago we wrote about a contest that NBC Universal was putting on, officially through New York City, asking students to make propaganda films, repeating NBC Universal/MPAA talking points about how copyright infringement was damaging NBC Universal.  In going through the fine print on the contest, we noted a few oddities.  First, you were not supposed to actually use facts or data and make a case.  Instead, the rules flat out told you what your position was.  You had to support the claim that "piracy costs jobs."  Think the data shows that the real problem is legacy companies like NBC Universal not adapting to embrace new opportunities?  Too bad.

Even worse, the detailed fine print in the contest (which is pretty difficult to dig out), shows that if you win, you lose the copyright on your video.  Seriously.  It's pretty amazing that a video contest promoting the supposed importance of copyright to creators involves requiring creators to give up their copyrights.  The prize?  A measly $500.

So we're offering a competing contest, here via our Insight Community platform.  We're asking people to create PSA videos showing the impact of technology on creativity today.  We're not asking you to advocate any specific position at all, because unlike that other contest, we're pretty secure in our beliefs and won't melt like the wicked witch of the west should someone submit a PSA that challenges some of them.  We believe that the best videos will be both creative and have a factual basis.

Also, as per our standard Insight Community terms and conditions (and again unlike that other contest), you retain the copyright to whatever you do.  We would recommend a permissive license -- with our favorite being something like the CC0 Public Domain license or the WTFPL license, but it's entirely up to you.  The only condition -- as per our Ts & Cs, is that we're granted a license to make use of the work as well, for the sake of showing it on our sites (Insight Community and Techdirt).

Oh, and while that other contest is offering $500 to the winner, we're offering $1,000.  As a result of our original post, a bunch of you stepped up and offered up about $500 in donations for this contest, and we're matching that with another $500 ourselves.

Finally: in order to enter, you need to:

  1. have an Insight Community account (your Techdirt login will work if you have one, or create one on the Insight Community site),
  2. create your video and upload it somewhere public, such as YouTube or Vimeo,
  3. include your Insight Community username at the end of the video,
  4. add an "insight" entry to this case, in which you link to your own video.

That's it.

 

4 Insights

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Everyone Offers Collaboration Software, But Who Really Needs It?Case Details

 

Closed: 30 Sep 2010, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $200 for Insights on this case.

Enterprise 2.0 has been a catch-all description for the shift towards better collaborative software tools that help groups communicate in real time to increase employee productivity.  As part of this movement, IBM sees a progression away from a world centered on emails using Microsoft Word and Outlook.

Supporting this idea, IBM has a whitepaper entitled: "Collaboration 2.0 -- Taking Collaboration to the Next Level: From the E-mail and Document-centric World of 'Enterprise 1.0' to the People-centric World of Enterprise 2.0".  Register to read it, and IBM would like your feedback on it.

Download the whitepaper here.

Interesting critiques of this whitepaper include, but are not limited to, questions such as:

  • How can this whitepaper target its audience better?
  • What specific business communities would benefit most from employing Collaboration 2.0 tools?
  • How could this whitepaper be improved?  What points could be added? 
  • Given the recent demise of Google Wave, what lessons can be learned for collaboration software providers?

The type of insights we're looking for will generate useful discussions regarding the capabilities of collaboration tools.  You can also tell us about your experiences using collaboration tools (what you like or don't like about them).  Additionally, you can help us out by sharing this whitepaper with others and aggregating feedback on it.  Ultimately, we're interested in creating an interesting collection of opinions (and factoids) for folks who might be evaluating various online collaboration apps.  We may re-print your submissions as blog posts on other websites, and your insightful aphorisms may be quoted in future publications.    

The topic of this Insight Community case is sponsored by IBM. Of course, the content of this case consists entirely of the thoughts and opinions of the author(s) and not of IBM.

14 Insights

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Looking For Feedback On IT Innovation ResourcesCase Details

 

Closed: 30 May 2010, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $200 for Insights on this case.

As you know, we've been running the ITInnovation.com tab within Techdirt since last year, sponsored by Sun (now Oracle) and Intel.  We've had a series of fascinating discussions within blog posts and webinars during that time.  We've also continued to regularly refresh the IT Innovation Resource Center, which includes a rotating list of useful tools and white papers provided either by us or the sponsors of IT Innovation.

We'd like to get some feedback and insight into the quality of these resources and how they might be improved upon.  Listed below are six currently available white papers in the Resource Center.  If you are familiar with these topics (i.e., you work in IT), please review the white papers and write up your insights and comments on the whitepapers: what's good about them, what could be improved, what would make them more useful, etc.  You are free to provide insights on as many of the white papers as you would like, but we ask that you submit insights on each white paper as a separate insight, rather than combining them into a single response.

  • Best Practices for Managing Datacenter Costs via Application and Server Consolidation

    Server sprawl, software licensing fees, and facilities costs are sending datacenter operational expenses through the roof at a time when every penny is being scrutinized. As a result, low utilization rates and wasted power/cooling resources are no longer acceptable, and smart companies are looking to consolidation and virtualization to trim expenses and increase operating efficiency.

  • Why Solid-State Drives Usage Scenarios Are Expanding for the Datacenter

    To accomplish the objectives of making more-efficient use of IT resources, lowering power consumption, and reducing operating expenses, many companies are turning to server consolidation and virtualization efforts—endeavors that increase server CPU utilization and reduce the number of discrete servers in a datacenter.

  • The New Economics of Midsize Enterprise Computing: Oracle’s Sun Systems Based on the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series

    Midsize companies often face the same competitive pressures as large-scale enterprises. However, they may not possess the resources and staff to invest heavily in complex computing systems. Yet it’s critical for IT organizations within these companies to ensure that they have the strongest, most expandable systems in place, so that their companies have the requisite flexibility to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, roll out new products and services in shorter cycles, and become more effective competitors.

  • New Blades and Networking Solutions Ensure Solid Return on Investment

    Traditionally, when companies need more computing power to deal with expanding amounts of data, they increase the number of servers, the number of compute cores per server, and the memory capacity of each server. Today’s high-powered blade servers save space and help enable significant gains in computing performance, especially when workloads are consolidated efficiently and datacenter resources are utilized most effectively. To accommodate this increase in capacity, however, the network infrastructure carrying the data must also be upgraded.

  • Reassessing Server Costs for Midsize Companies

    Most companies keep their servers for three to five years—a time frame that seems reasonable given current economic conditions. Despite the savings this would seem to imply, however, extending server life in the datacenter in this way may not be the best strategy, even in the toughest economic times.

  • Oracle Solaris Operating System — Optimized for the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 and 7500 series

    This document is intended as a technical guide for developers and system administrators that want to understand the precise details of how Oracle® Solaris and the Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 and 7500 series can improve your application solution environment.

     

     

20 Insights

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Are You Happily Invoicing Your Customers?Case Details

 

Closed: 20 May 2010, 1:46PM PT

Earn up to $250 for Insights on this case.

Our entrepreneurship series - sponsored by AcceptPay from American Express - is compiling interesting resources, valuable tips and useful services that can help out small business owners.  One of the key themes we want to discuss is the process of invoicing -- because what could be more relevant to a small business than getting paid?  Every business (small or large) needs to deal with billing customers and efficiently accepting payments.  For smaller companies, though, invoicing and payment collections can become a more time-consuming process than it should be.

For those of you out there who are already happily invoicing -- what kinds of invoicing software do you use?  What kind of billing solutions have you tried?  What is your opinion of online payment solutions? (full disclosure: AcceptPay is a player in this market.)  How would you evaluate an online payment system for your company?

However, if you've ever encountered invoicing challenges that started to eat into the enjoyment of actually running your business, do you have a happy-ending story for your billing solution?  What would you recommend for other small businesses that might have similar experiences?  What kind of procedures have you developed to make your accounts receivable easier to handle and more reliable?

To other helpful folks who aren't (yet?) entrepreneurs, what types of small companies do you think might benefit from using online payment solutions (that may not already be doing so)?  How would you describe the market for online payment services?  What recommedations have you seen for small business invoicing software?

We're looking for your input on these topics, and the best response will be published on the Entrepreneur's Corner edition of Techdirt, as well as receive a monetary award.  Other high-quality insights may also receive monetary bonuses, depending on the content and how many insights are submitted.

7 Insights

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The Importance Of Skilled Immigrants To The American EconomyCase Details

 

Closed: 27 Oct 2009, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $50 for Insights on this case.

One of the most difficult concepts to grasp, at times, is the difference between a zero-sum game and a non-zero-sum game. This becomes especially evident when discussing skilled immigration in America. There are many who are quite against the idea of giving visas to skilled foreigners to come to the US, believing that these individuals "take away jobs" from Americans. The only problem is that this is not supported by the data. That's because jobs are not a zero-sum game. There is not a set number of jobs that cannot change. And skilled immigrants have a long history of not just coming to the US, but also in creating a significant number of new jobs.

The importance of skilled immigrants in driving new jobs has been known for years, but the trend has only accelerated over the past decade. That older study found that 25% of Silicon Valley companies were founded by immigrants. A more recent Duke study found that this number has spread throughout the US: of tech- or engineering-related companies founded across the US, over 25% were founded by immigrants. In Silicon Valley, the number is now 52.4%. These companies are creating tremendous new job opportunities, not taking them away. Growing jobs is quite important.

Furthermore, it's difficult to see how keeping skilled immigrant labor out of the country helps the US. Those same workers do not disappear. Instead, they join tech companies in their homeland, where they end up competing against US companies. Shouldn't we want the best and smartest individuals working for US companies and helping to create US jobs, rather than the alternative?

Many of the concerns about skilled labor immigration tend to focus on the controversial H-1b program, with most of the complaints pointing to various abuses with the program. But we shouldn't be throwing out a good idea (encouraging skilled labor to come build companies in the US) with the fact that the program itself has been abused at times. If there are abuses, let's fix the abuses, while looking at better ways to encourage immigration from those we want to help us building our economy.

The Innovation Movement is an effort by the Consumer Electronics Association to make more people aware of such issues, and to make sure that Congress actually takes these issues into account, rather than just focusing on the patriotic headline while ignoring the unpatriotic results.

In this Insight Community Conversation, we're looking for thoughtful and well-written discussions on skilled labor immigration, and how to best encourage it. These can be ideas on how to respond to critics of skilled immigration programs, how to improve our current programs (such as the H-1b), or even brand new ideas for how the US could best encourage skilled immigration and enabling the creation of more jobs in the high tech sector. The best results will be used as posts on the Innovation Movement website.

10 Insights

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Mandates To Buy American Should Be More Carefully ConsideredCase Details

 

Closed: 23 Sep 2009, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $100 for Insights on this case.

We all know that the economy is in tough shape these days, and (as always happens in such situations) there's often a misguided push to put up trade barriers to try to force people to "Buy American." Of course, time and time again, such trade barriers have proven to actually do tremendous harm to Americans, rather than help them. We're already seeing this with friendly trading partners like Canada threatening to retaliate. That retaliation harms American jobs much more than any jobs "gained" from such protectionist barriers (as pointed out by the non-partisan and highly respected Peterson Institute). On top of that, by adding barriers on goods that Americans want, the end result is only that Americans end up paying *more* for their goods -- not exactly an outcome consumers are likely to appreciate during an economic downturn.

Granted, it's quite easy to understand the patriotic feeling behind a "Buy American" clause -- and we all want to support our country. But the problem is that in not paying attention to the actual impact, and pretending that there are no "unintended consequences," a Buy American clause can be detrimental to America in the long run. That doesn't seem particularly patriotic.

The Innovation Movement is an effort by the Consumer Electronics Association to make more people aware of important policy issues, and to make sure that Congress actually takes relevant data into account, rather than just focusing on the patriotic headline while ignoring the unpatriotic results.

In this Insight Community Conversation, we're looking for thoughtful and well-written discussions on the pros and cons of a "Buy American" clause for US policies. The best results will be used as posts on the Innovation Movement website.

12 Insights

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How To Prevent Copyright From Interfering With InnovationCase Details

 

Closed: 9 Sep 2009, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $50 for Insights on this case.

As anyone who reads Techdirt regularly knows, copyright is a big issue around here -- with particular concern in how certain industries have used copyright law not for its intended and stated purpose (to promote the progress) but for exactly the opposite reason. It's been used time and time again as a weapon against progress and innovation, by industries who saw that innovation as a threat to their business model. In the 1980s, Hollywood tried to outlaw the VCR, declaring it "the Boston Strangler" of the movie industry. The reality was exactly the opposite. The VCR helped revitalize the movie industry and provided the fuel that grew the industry throughout the last two decades. Then, a decade ago, the music industry tried to kill the first MP3 players, again insisting that a portable MP3 player would destroy the music industry. Once again, they failed -- and once again, their own failure has helped to save them. A recent Harvard study found that the success of the digital music market has grown the overall ecosystem and resulted in much greater output in music.

But, still, the industry fights such advances, often using a variety of different tactics, including lobbying and lawsuits. On this front, they've been winning a lot more than losing lately, to their own detriment. Copyright has been extended and changed over and over again, now covering significantly more than it ever did and ever was intended to cover. And certain industries are using that to their advantage. In two recent court rulings, the Hollywood movie studios were able to prevent two different innovative products from hitting the market, since both involved making backup copies of DVDs. Even though these were both designed for perfectly legitimate reasons, both were banned, due to copyright or copyright-related issues.

Imagine how different the movie industry would be if the VCR were not allowed? Imagine how different the music industry would be today if the iPod was illegal? Yet, we're unable to know how different the music industry would be today if Napster has been allowed to live, and the industry had found a way to monetize via its platform. And now we likely won't be able to find out how the movie industry would be different if people could back up their movies legally (there are, of course, unauthorized options for both, but that, too, limits their ability to advance and innovate).

The Innovation Movement is an effort by the Consumer Electronics Association to make more people aware of such issues, and to make sure that Congress actually takes these issues into account, rather than just focusing on the patriotic headline while ignoring the unpatriotic results.

In this Insight Community Conversation, we're looking for thoughtful and well-written discussions on the importance of not letting copyright stand in the way of innovation. How can politicians better understand the negative impacts of certain industries using copyright to protect old business models and take away consumer rights? The copyright system supporters can always point to the past -- noting the successes of the industry and (often incorrectly) attributing it entirely to copyright. But it's hard for innovators to point to the future of what could be if they were allowed to innovate freely. We're looking for discussions on ways to better make this point to politicians, journalists, consumers and (yes) the very industries that have been fighting so hard to protect their old business models. Present a convincing argument on why innovation is key, and holding it back with copyright is bad for everyone. The best results will be used as posts on the Innovation Movement website.

18 Insights

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Implementing Big Ideas During A RecessionCase Details

 

Closed: 10 Jun 2009, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $100 for Insights on this case.

The current economic situation has certainly reduced the financing prospects of a good number of big ideas, but that doesn't mean the development of innovative businesses and technologies should (or will) grind to a halt. Obviously, though, starting up during a boom is a bit different than bootstrapping during a recession. But that just means more garage startups get created in actual garages -- focused on creating truly valuable services and technology.

So what kind of big ideas are possible to develop during a recession? How can government help (or hinder) economic growth under the current financial conditions? What kinds of technology revolutions may be primed to go right now -- and what can help give them a boost? What areas of business are thriving currently and are poised to continue to grow even when the economy recovers? How do companies plan for long-term growth and avoid pessimistic short-term thinking?

Microsoft People Ready Business is sponsoring this case to create interesting discussions at BigThink's section on Navigating Today's Economy. We're looking for unique perspectives that will inspire further conversations, and selected insights will be published on BigThink.com.

16 Insights

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Rethinking Print In A Technological EraCase Details

 

Closed: 27 May 2009, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $200 for Insights on this case.

 

The business of print has always been a risky one. While the printing press made it much cheaper to print, there were still significant fixed costs involved. In order to make it economically feasible to print something, you had to make sure there were enough buyers, which involved significant forecasting. There were also significant costs associated with setting up each print run, such that it wasn't economically reasonable to do really custom work. Thankfully, in the past few decades advances in various technologies have made it cheaper and cheaper -- even as the rise of the internet has led many to write off the opportunities for print publishing, and even suggest that paper was dying.

Yet, what if that same trends, of ever decreasing technology costs combined with increasing quality and internet connectivity, enable a new era of print? These trends have the ability to enable things that simply couldn't be done before. We're seeing the beginnings of this with print-on-demand and self-publishing services, but where does it go from here? How far will these technology trends take us in creating totally new opportunities for print? When it's easy and cost effective to not just self-publish, but *micro-publish* suddenly the entire stream of possibilities becomes different. A photographer can publish a special magazine for every attendee at a wedding (even with the attendee's photo customized to be on the front). Or a novelist can let fans buy each chapter to be delivered fresh each month (or week!) as she finishes it. A textbook maker can create a totally customizable textbook, listing out a series of chapters online, allowing professors/teachers/students to create their own combination based on what works best for them.

And those are just a few starter ideas. HP is sponsoring this conversation (with more info at futureofprint.com) about how these trends will enable all sorts of new possibilities and business models. What new opportunities will be enabled thanks to ever cheaper print-on-demand offerings that combine customization, high quality and the connectivity of the internet? What new businesses may spring out of this convergence? What new hobbies, side projects, cultural artifacts? We're looking for creative thinking on where these trends will take us and what they'll enable.

28 Insights

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ROI On Digital NomadsCase Details

 

Closed: 30 Oct 2008, 11:59PM PT

Qualifying Insights Split a $3,000 Bonus.

We're looking to get insights into how individuals and the workplace are changing due to an increasingly "mobile" workforce -- thanks to things like widespread laptop and mobile device usage, as well as wireless connectivity. These days, "working" no longer means "being in the office." People and employees have truly become "Digital Nomads." Over the next few weeks and months, we'll be hosting a series of cases exploring different aspects related to this new mobile workforce. Dell is sponsoring the conversations here, and the best results will be placed on a site sponsored by Dell: http://whitepaper.digitalnomads.com/. The content may later also be added to a whitepaper and a wiki on the subject. While Dell is sponsoring the conversation, the content is vendor neutral. Just provide your insights on the question at hand.

We all know that more employees are becoming Digital Nomads, but from a business and IT perspective, how do you determine if this is a net benefit or a net loss?  Do you do anything to measure the specific ROI of having a dispersed workforce?  If so, how are you measuring it?  What have you found?  What would make it easier to determine the ROI of having a distributed workforce?  Basically, we're looking for any discussion that can speak to the ROI (good or bad) of having a workforce made up of Digital Nomads.

16 Insights

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Getting Distributed Workforces On The Same PageCase Details

 

Closed: 4 Sep 2008, 11:59PM PT

Qualifying Insights Split a $3,000 Bonus.

We're looking to get insights into how individuals and the workplace are changing due to an increasingly "mobile" workforce -- thanks to things like widespread laptop and mobile device usage, as well as wireless connectivity. These days, "working" no longer means "being in the office." People and employees have truly become "Digital Nomads." Over the next few weeks and months, we'll be hosting a series of cases exploring different aspects related to this new mobile workforce. Dell is sponsoring the conversations here, and the best results will be placed on a site sponsored by Dell: http://whitepaper.digitalnomads.com/. The content may later also be added to a whitepaper and a wiki on the subject. While Dell is sponsoring the conversation, the content is vendor neutral. Just provide your insights on the question at hand.

While a dispersed workforce has many advantages these days, it also creates some challenges: such as keeping workers on the same page and functioning as a team. There's no more watercooler to gather around, and a lot less informal chitchat over cubicle walls. What strategies have you taken to keep dispersed mobile teams on the same page and working productively as a team, rather than as a group of separate individuals? What strategies work best? Which sounded good but didn't live up to expectations? What other tools would make keeping a nomadic workforce even easier?

In general, as a guideline, answers should be around 500 words. That's not a definitive guideline, but that's about what we're expecting. You don't have to answer all of the questions here, but can pick just the one or two you feel you have the most insight on. Or, if you feel you can answer multiple ones in detail, feel free to write up separate insights.

Entries chosen to go on the site will get a share of the pot. The pot will be split depending on how many insights are chosen.

 

11 Insights

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What Kind Of Laws Are Reasonable For Driving While Talking On The Phone?Case Details

 

Closed: 19 Mar 2008, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $100 for Insights on this case.

LetsTalk's PhoneTalk blog wants to add new voices to its website, and they're posting regular Cases here for the Techdirt Insight Community to add interesting new content to their site. The winning submissions for each Challenge Case will be posted (perhaps with some editing) on the PhoneTalk blog -- with credits to the author. The following is LetsTalk's next assignment:

While the threat to safety from driving and talking on a cell phone can be debated, there are already several laws around the US that prohibit such actions. However, there is no federal regulation -- just recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board that all states should restrict certain drivers from using cell phones while driving. So which states have enacted the most reasonable regulations against cell phone use while driving? Or (if there aren't any existing laws that you like) what kind of rules should be proposed to encourage common sense in driving? Are hands-free accessories really effective? Will factory-installed systems in the dashboard help? With GPS navigation and other advanced wireless services coming to more phones, what exceptions should be made (if any) to laws against driving while using mobile phones?

8 Insights

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The Shift To Computing As A UtilityCase Details

 

Closed: 24 Jan 2008, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $350 for Insights on this case.

While there's been plenty of talk about the move to software-as-a-service, an equally interesting one may be hardware-as-a-service. Certainly, Sun and IBM have pushed for utility computing offerings -- and Amazon has done quite well with its EC2 offering. There's been talk for years that Google could get into the space as well.

However, even with all the ROI support that marketing folks from Sun and IBM throw around, it still seems risky. We're trying to understand if it makes sense for large IT organizations to look seriously at moving over to "on-demand" computing systems, or if it pays to wait. Under what conditions would it make sense and what are the biggest risks involved? If you were a consultant, in charge of making the case for or against a utility computing move to a Fortune 500 company (recognizing that there are different issues involved with every individual company) what key points would you focus on?

Clarification: This is about making the case for the company to *using* utility computing, rather than offering it as a service.

15 Insights

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To Beacon Or Not To BeaconCase Details

 

Closed: 21 Dec 2007, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $250 for Insights on this case.

There's been plenty of attention paid to Facebook's new Beacon advertising system -- much of it negative. People became reasonably upset over what they saw as intrusive and unwanted sharing of information concerning things such as purchases. Many brands have since backed away from Beacon. However, Facebook has made a number of changes to the program, making it possible to opt-out entirely and making sure that people clearly had control over what information is posted and what is not.

Now that those changes are in place, does it make sense for a consumer-facing company to sign on to Beacon -- or has the program forever been tarnished? How should we approach using Beacon? In an ideal world, we would like for it to be a way for fans of our products to pass on effective "endorsements" of the product, but we do not want to be seen as doing something intrusive or upsetting. If not Beacon, is there a better way to do this either within Facebook or through a different platform?

8 Insights

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Unexpected Beneficiairies Of Wireless Industry TurbulenceCase Details

 

Closed: 21 Dec 2007, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $300 for Insights on this case.

The wireless technology landscape is rapidly changing in the US. Verizon Wireless is opening up and moving to LTE. Google is bidding on spectrum and invading the mobile OS business. Apple has become a massive player in the device space. Sprint is searching for a strategy. There are a lot of big changes happening.

Everyone's talking about how this will impact these big players, but we're interested in how this will filter through down the line from a financial perspective. Which suppliers/vendors/customers/retailers/partners are likely to benefit from these changes and how? We're looking for concrete examples (i.e., Lucent will benefit because everyone will need its equipment or Wal-Mart will benefit because it will be able to squeeze even more margins) with backed up explanations.

5 Insights

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