There's a story this morning in the New York Times about Comcast, a big cable company that last year bought AT&T's cable assets, and now finds itself the largest supplier of broadband Internet access, closing in on five million subscribers, and making money at it. There's a lesson in this, and a chance to laugh at clueless telecom executives too!
The clueless ones are those who are planning to compete with Comcast by loading up their own offerings with music and other "broadband" fluff.
"For the early adopter, `fast and always on' is great," said Michael Grasso, who is the executive director of Internet marketing at SBC Communications , the telephone company with the most broadband subscribers. But the more typical consumer will want more than a commodity service, Mr. Grasso said. "As we try to push the service to the mass market," he said, "we need to go beyond just selling a fast pipe."
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! Wrong. We don' need no steeekin' advanced features. Fast pipe and always on, you betcha, where do I sign up?
The President of Comcast's cable business is one Stephen Burke, who seems like a pretty savvy guy:
"I use My Yahoo," said Mr. Burke ... "My challenge to our team is to come up with something good enough to get me to switch off Yahoo."
Well, exactly. And why would anyone think that a cable company could do that?
This is the same drum the World of Ends boys are banging. Let's lay it out in maximally-simple bullet-point form so anyone can understand it: