Chang Kim’s startup TNC acquired by Google


TNC acquired by Google.jpg

It is not every day that you can say that your friend’s company is acquired by Google .. but I woke up this morning to an email from an old friend in Seoul – Chang Kim. I have known Chang from his days in Samsung .. and blogged about him as early as 2006 when he had just left Samsung to form a new company. And today – I wake up this morning to find that they have been acquired by Google.

Could not have happened to a nicer person! And with baby Issac earlier this year, this has been a good year for the Kims :)

Great work Chang.

This is also good news for Google in Korea .. not many people know that Google is NOT the market leader in Korea – that honour goes to the Korean search engine Naver . So, Google plays catchup in this market – making this acquisition even more significant – and i believe it is one of the first acquisitions of Google in this part of the world

Chang is organizing OpenWeb Asia which looks to be a must attend event in Seoul next month

Well done Chang!

Google, GooglePhone, 700 Mhz, OpenGardens, Innovation and carterphone


The 700 Mhz spectrum discussions have a sense of Déjà vu .. with the Carterphone principle for landline networks. Historical evidence shows that it is just a matter of time before the networks will have to open up fully as we discuss below.


Large telecoms companies like AT&T and Verizon control a major portion of the broadband market and also the wireless spectrum. Google is seeking to change the status quo by advocating that the 700 MhZ wireless spectrum recently vacated by analogue television stations be treated as ‘Open access’.

Open access, from Google’s standpoint, means four things which Google outlines in their blog.

1) Open applications: consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;

2) Open devices: consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;

3) Open services: third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and

4) Open networks: third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at a technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee’s wireless network.

The carterphone principle

So far, Google has got agreement from the FCC about Open devices for 22Mhz of the 700 Mhz spectrum(A portion of the condition 2 above).

This is a step in the right direction since it leads to the Carterphone principle

(which opened up the landline networks many years ago).

In a nutshell, the Carterphone principle advocates that we don’t have to buy the landline phone from the network provider(specifically AT&T in case of that litigation). Prior to the carterphone regulation, customers were forced to buy the devices only from the network.

We take the benefits of the carterphone principles for granted today and we cannot imagine a world without these ideas

However, if we look back into history, we can see that devices like fax machines, modems, answering phones etc may not have been developed without such legislation which required the device to be network agnostic(i.e. any device can be connected to any network)

In that sense, from a historical perspective, the requirement for Open access does lead to innovation and benefits the customer.

Telecom companies do innovate – but that innovation is based on connectivity within their network as opposed to connectivity across networks. However, customers benefit from cross network connectivity and interoperability – hence the requirement for devices to be able to connect across networks.


Google actually wanted all four conditions – especially open services(wholesale access) which would have opened up the door to competition from a whole raft of smaller vendors much like the dial up access in the early 90s.

They have ended up with open devices on a portion of the spectrum – only a fraction of what was asked for.

But a journey of a 1000 miles starts with one small step .. as the ancient Chinese proverb says ..

At this time, not much is know about a ‘Google phone’ – so it is not easy to tie these initiatives to specific objectives which Google may be trying to achieve – but the overall benefit to the customer is clear


So, as the creator of the OpenGardens blog, I support all of the four conditions especially because I believe that they benefit the consumer and lead to greater innovation based on the historical evidence of the Carterphone principle. Customers benefit from cross network connectivity and interoperability through the ability of devices to be able to connect across networks.

SMS gone wild – Google – A welcome change to the Mobile data industry ..

When I used to work with ERP systems before, there were many times we had to create ‘test data’. With my weird sense of humour, I would create a dummy movie in the test data called ‘Debbie does Dulwich’. Its amazing when you demoed that data to a group, some of the most conservative accountants would have a smile on their face … The title of course is derived from a porn movie title called Debbie does Dallas

Thus ..

When I saw Eric Schmidt use the words ‘SMS gone wild’ – the first thing to strike me was the association Girls gone wild ..

I doubt that Eric would have the same sense of coded humour with my Debbie does Dulwich test data .. And you might say I have a naughty mind .. I still think that a bit of party atmosphere in this rather boring industry(Mobile data) is most welcome :)

The arrival of Google and Apple to the Mobile data industry – would add a much welcome dynamism to the Mobile Data Industry

May we see more of it!

At least one other person (Tomi Ahonen) made the same connotation .. so it’s not just me who has a naughty mind :)

Digital grannies and other trends:

I had the pleasure of reading the Sep 26 issue of Newsweek (International edition)

It has some excellent coverage on the future of entertainment – and I very much recommend you should read it

Here are the things from the feature which I found fascinating – alongwith my own thoughts on these where possible

The gaming granny

And we are not talking ‘Bingo’ here! Apparently, the BBC found a granny deeply engrossed in playing a multiplayer game (they don’t say which game unfortunately – love to know!). This example provided the BBC with fascinating insights into the minds of extreme users. Essentially, users are using the whole gamut of technology and new media in ways that cannot be predicted. Media companies are trying to understand how customers are interacting with their products.

Two important truths of 21st century media

Firstly, all news and entertainment are ‘personal’. This bit is well known and was not new to me. But, the second is – The internet changes the timeline of production, broadcast and consumption. This means, content can appear in all formats at once (unlike movie first, followed by DVD and so on). This model apparently maximises advertisement revenue and reduces piracy

The threat to the entertainment industry from yahoo et al ..

A well known theme as well. I can sum this up by – Yahoo knows exactly who downloaded the movie – the entertainment industry has no idea about who is in the movie theatre.

The importance of the editor

Google is a defacto editor – in the sense that Google controls which content is seen first. Thus, search engines are making judgements on art – are they qualified to do so? Is this not an objective(rule based) judgement as opposed to subjective judgement? Is such objective judgement suited for art?

More soon ..