YATS 17 Afterthoughts:  will Microsoft (or even Yahoo) shake things up?

Last night we talked about Marissa Mayer taking over at Yahoo and the current Vanity Fair article on Microsoft's Lost Decade (http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer).  The week before, on YATS 16, we dumped all over Microsoft's phone partner Nokia.  

Granted, Nokia is losing a lot of money, but news of their demise may be premature.  This morning, the New York Times reported that "shares of Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, rose more than 16 percent in Helsinki after the company said it had sold four million new Lumia smartphones running Windows in the quarter, more than analysts had expected. Sales of Nokia smartphones rose 45 percent in North America, to 128 million, the first such increase in at least a decade."

Nokia is also a strong brand in developing nations, where we would expect a lot of future smart phone sales as wireless infrastructure rolls out and developed nations become saturated.

What if Nokia and others succeed in establishing Windows smart phones?   What if that helps the Windows 8 brand?  What if Microsoft  keeps the ball rolling with a terrific Windows 8 X-box that is more a home media center than a game machine, and couples that with some radical content deals with music, movie and TV companies?  What if they decide to spend some of their billions subsidizing those video content deals, undercutting Apple, Google and Amazon prices and offering wider selections?

The streaming TV/Movie business is still up for grabs.  Neither Apple, Google or Amazon have done the deals to take it over.  They all  have limited content.  Amazon charges $1.99 for a single TV episode ($2.99 for HD).  Google TV is blocked all over the Web.  Etc.  I'd love to see agressive competition from Microsoft.

Want an even longer shot?  In a recent post, Bob Cringley offered some advice to Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer.  He thinks she should keep ex-CEO Ross Levinsohn on board and "very publicly give him a $1+ billion fund to acquire video content".  (http://www.cringely.com/2012/07/18/how-marissa-mayer-can-still-save-yahoo/).

Someday, the cord cutters will prevail, and we will all be streaming our video entertainment over the Internet.  That industry is just starting today, and no company dominates it yet.  There is room for competition from Microsoft and Yahoo.  (Gee "Microsoft and Yahoo" -- that sounds familiar).

This reminds me of the early days of network TV.   We had CBS, NBC and ABC, then Fox came along ...  
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