What’s new this week? Everyone’s trying to match Google Fiber’s speed and price, and there’s all kinds of crap happening: a*holes like AT&T and TWC are cutting the f* out of their rates in a desperate attempt to keep their existing customers happy. Cities like Baltimore that were not rewarded by Google are trying to make community fiber work as a way to force their ISP’s (read: Comcast) to lower their rates (source: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/08/snubbed-by-google-fiber-mad-at-comcast-baltimore-seeks-its-own-fiber/). TWC has gone so far as to hire a legislator to outlaw community-owned fiber in NC. AT&T is offering a competing rate in Kansas City, but you have to pay an extra $30 to ensure that they won’t collect your data, track your habits and sell you targeted ads (Google is already tracking you via Google Plus but promises it won’t use it to track you or harass you with ads. Yup, Google is no longer the evil anti-privacy monster—welcome, AT&T.). And yes, these a*holes are all promising all sorts of bundling deals, but you know how that goes—you agree to one bundle and after a month the offer expires and you’re forced to fork over an extra $100… and good luck trying to get out of it.
So all this is kinda good news for Google, because it’s putting a lot of pressure on its competitors, and forcing them to cut their profit margins. Same with cloud storage. And, right after Google tries its hand at cars, Apple jumps on the bandwagon. Larry Page must be laughing his a** off. Or not. We’ll see. After all, Xiaomi’s rising fast on that horizon—and its wattage is pretty fuckin’ blinding right now. It has its own version of Android on its smartphones—which apparently work great, and cost way less than any other smartphone on the market. Plus, they *really* listen to their customers – their engineers tweak the phone according to the customers’ suggestions, and you could see a revised phone within a week or so. The phone’s OS is openly downloadable onto other Android phones: so its apps and content are easily accessible, making more users willing to use services that its apps provide. Apple’s and Samsung’s sales of smartphones have seriously dipped since Xiaomi showed up in its native Chinese market. Even if they don’t sell those smartphones in the US, that’s still a deep cut into our domestic companies’ profit. So, there you go. There’s always a bigger fish.