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Numbers, Volume 4

We “don’t do numbers” here at RedMonk, but I come across many interesting numbers each week. Here are some:

Games in Hand

Sony recently celebrated the sale of 50 million PlayStation Portable handheld game players. But today, Nintendo announced it has sold more than 100 million Nintendo DS handhelds. Both launched in 2004.

I don’t know a US-based kid alive who wouldn’t give up Chocopuffs for a year in exchange for a DS.

No Wonder My Bill is $100+ a month

Now Provided by AT&T

AT&T will spend more than $11 billion to expand and improve its 3G wireless and wireline broadband networks in 2009.

The company says that it plans on “nearly doubling” its total 3G network capacity by using additional spectrum on the 850MHz band. AT&T will also work to increase its 3G networks’ peak speeds by trialing technology with a 7.2Mbps peak downlink speed, with the eventual goal of upgrading the network to handle “speeds as high as 20Mbps.”

Us – the suckers who make up “the market” in this case – are right to be suspicious of those max numbers. But, getting more 3G coverage even at current speeds would be great. Now if we could just tether to our laptops and netbooks to the iPhone (included “free” in the existing gold we fork over for sweet, sweet connectivity), AT&T would become the Apple of the US telco world.

Netbook beat: Turning $300 into $1,500

It’s the same business model that carriers have long used with cellphones, and it seems pretty practical when netbooks –- at $300 to $400 –- cost about as much as high-end smartphones. The carrier absorbs $300 but sells a service that brings in, say, $1,500 over two years.

Meanwhile, the netbook biz-model meme du jour is that telcos will use them along-side handsets and smart-phones as a new revenue pull for services. The telcos would have to swallow a big Stupid Network pill, though: can you imagine using a computer that had the typical (North America) telco service limitations, lock-downs, and toll-gates? Yeah, it’d be the other kind of stupid.

If you are made to wait, it is to assure the food is good

The 21 month delay between acquisition [of GrandCentral] and relaunch was, unfortunately, expected. Like most Google acquisitions, the service has been rebuilt from the ground up, a lengthy process that has in the past taken an average of 16 months or so.

For me, a long-time GrandCentral user this is potentially the most exciting thing to come out of Google for a long time. I’ve carped about how they Googled GrandCentral (bought it and let it sit a pool of it’s own stagnation), but Google’s still got my benefit of the doubt that once they actually apply their heads to something, it’ll be good.

Who’s Still Paying for Email?


It’s impressive to be able to give away 31.2 million free Gmail accounts [in the US], as Google has. It’s even more impressive to get customers to pay for 40 million mailboxes, as Zimbra reported today, representing a sharp spike from the 20 million paid mailboxes reported in early 2009.

VentureBeat covered this as well. Meanwhile, over at the the for-pay email beach, check out the sand-kicking from our man Ed Brill. (Who pays? Well, RedMonk for one, we use Google Apps Premium.)

These Guys Are Finally Just Like Corporate IT

Google’s Gmail e-mail service is down for an undetermined number of users, and while the outage has been partially fixed, some people could be locked out of their accounts for many more hours.

In its latest update about the problem, posted at around 9:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Google said that it could take between 24 and 36 hours from that moment to restore all affected accounts.

When you pull back to the 20,000 foot view, having your email go out is a blessing. It’s like that short delay between a call coming into a call-center: the short moment of silent bliss before the next jump over the trench wall.

In reality, no one twitters about their cat’s sandwich habits

[@statesman] just went over 4,000 followers [the week this interview was conducted (now at 5,400+ -Coté)]. Now, we’re adding somewhere around 29 followers a day. Most of them are still local, which shows the growth of Twitter…. We have more than 40 [reporters on Twitter now], writing about their beats, conversing with people. And we have five or six official news feeds [on Twitter]. We’re getting good traffic out of it, but we’re also building our brand, and getting good feedback from people.

During [Hurricane Ike coverage on Twitter], we received 300,000 page views directly from Twitter onto I think that was the event that vaulted our social media efforts. Suddenly, Twitter wasn’t something to giggle at — it was a serious journalism tool.

Dispatches from the Smart Planet, RFID Edition

RFID Printer

This past week, Zebra announced it took a $143M charge to impair goodwill associated with its Enterprise Solutions Group acquisitions, mostly related to WhereNet, and a $15M charge to impair the value of its license with Intermec to produce Gen 2 product. The impairment with WhereNet is related to a severe fall off in the automotive markets, and considerable slowing in the commercial and intermodal markets.

With all of this bad news showering down on the RFID industry, we have fielded questions about the industry’s ability to survive on a long-term basis. While we believe the near term will contain a good amount of challenge, and while we expect to see some players leave the industry, we see several factors that suggest RFID will survive in the long run…. (((Given that this is industry-booster RFID Monthly speaking, this sure doesn’t sound like a ringing vote of confidence in arphidland. Wal-Mart, Procter and Gamble and of course the snakebitten automotive industry are no longer in any mood to boost an industry that cannot pay off pronto. Add to that a chastened Defense Department, and the once-imperial RFID business really does look frail.)))

Flipping Video

Many Devices

Flip cameras – dead simple and small video devices that are tailored towards users who want to upload video to the Internet – have become massively popular. One source says the company has sold more than $200 million worth of the tiny cameras in the last couple of years.

While Facebook Aged

Interestingly, the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users are those aged 35 to 49 years old (more than 24.1 million users). The site also has almost twice as many visitors between 50 to 64 years old (+13.6 million) compared to those under 18 years old (+7.3 million).

With age, apparently comes a greater attention span. Of the social segment, Nielsen says that Facebook has the highest average time viewing per person than any other site (three hours 10 minutes).

Dispatches from the Financial Abyss

In a realistic and sobering forecast for the industry, Hegarty stated that the main goal for the sell side over the next 12 months is basic survival….Citing massive losses in the sub-prime markets as evidence of how bad the crisis is and how many experts underestimated the depth of the recession is, Hegarty said there are three areas that will shape the restructuring of the financial markets: risk management, regulation and market structure. “Last May at this conference, there were $254 billion in write downs. Today, the industry is at $815 billion,” he said. “Clearly, the industry will go over $1 trillion in write downs, but the question is if it will now go over $1.5 trillion.” For a frame of reference, last year Hegarty predicted the industry might see $500 billion in total write downs.

Meanwhile, the weirdos are starting to roll in.

For layoffs, numbers are a lot more meaningful than percentages

In Central Texas, 55,700 people are unemployed, up from 34,700 in January 2008. The workforce also grew during that period, from 858,000 to 875,000 in January.

We spent too much on our houses

Think Italian marble is pricey? Try printer ink priced at $5,000 a gallon. Or how about $40 in roaming data charges for a 3-minute video download if your employees use their PDA overseas? Or $7,000 per support call if you amortize the cost of many software maintenance contracts?

And how do you feel about paying $2.50 per gigabyte of storage per month as per many outsourcing contracts? And then there are the labor rates from even those offshore vendors that are supposedly “cheap”: they pay employees between $3 and $5 per hour but charge you a blended rate of 10X that figure.

Laying an optimistic GroundWork

Matt Asay: You took Intraware public. Do you think GroundWork and other open-source companies will have the same opportunity?

Peter Jackson: I see open source radically changing the software market in the next 24 months. Customers of traditional enterprise products and services have way overpaid for years. As companies analyze their capital expenditures more deeply, they suddenly find huge value gaps between their historical IT management purchases and open-source alternatives.

With this in mind, if the stock market recovers in a couple of years, there should be many IPOs in this sector.

Matt Asay: Where do you see GroundWork in the next year?

Peter Jackson: This economy is good for open source. I think we’ll double our customers. At the same time, we’ll be enhancing services to the community of contributors, and building out a large set of 2.0 community infrastructure to enhance education, communication, and partnerships.

Solarwinds Blows in some Revenue

Through December 31, 2008, over 80,000 customers within small and mid-size businesses, enterprises, including more than 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, and local, state and federal government entities had purchased one or more of our products. We have an active, loyal end-user community that is built from our customers and over one million registered end-users who have downloaded our free tools. We seek to expand, and generate loyalty from, our customer base and our end-user community by providing a variety of free tools for network professionals, by hosting our online community website, Thwack, and through other marketing programs.

For the years ended December 31, 2006, 2007 and 2008, we generated revenue of $38.2 million, $61.7 million and $93.1 million, respectively. In the same periods, we had operating income of $25.4 million, $30.9 million and $42.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $27.1 million, $35.4 million and $48.4 million, respectively.

When You Can’t Just Teach Kick-boxing

Old Man Shoes

Imagine machines that make 280km of velcro a day. That’s 10 feet of velcro as second. One factory, 10ft of velcro a second. That was the China trip for me – just trying to wrap my head around the shear volume of materials and products being made.

It’s shocking to learn that there’s actually people who make things other than Ponzi schemes and “financial instruments” isn’t it?


The software maker said in a prelim statement that it now expects to see revenue of $783m to $786m for Q1. It had originally targeted $800m to $850m in sales for the period ended 27 February 2009…. The firm blamed its revenue shortfall on weakness in its “creative and knowledge worker businesses.”

Here, what we want to track are upgrades and sales from CS3 to CS4. I’m curious what the knowledge worker issues are: less Acrobat and LiveCycle?

(If you’d like to keep an eye on the Numbers during the week, while I’m compiling them, check out my public notebook over on Evernote.)

Disclosure: Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, GroundWork, and Solarwinds are clients.

Categories: Collaborative, Enterprise Software, Numbers.