Tag Archive for Netflix

Who Rules the Internet?

Who Rules the Internet?Singapore based ISP Vodien published an infographic which lists the 100 highest ranking websites in the U.S. by traffic, according to website analytics company Alexa. There are over 1.1 billion websites on the internet, but the majority of all traffic actually goes to a very small number of firms. Seven companies control 30% of the top 100 web sites and the related web traffic.

100 highest ranking websitesNot surprisingly Alphabet controls the most popular sites on the web, Google and YouTube. Surprisingly, Microsoft controls the most sites in the top 100. Redmond controls seven of the top web properties including recently purchased LinkedIn, Bing and Microsoft.com. For a long time, MSFT’s online efforts were a disaster. That seems to have changed with Azure, but I still hate Bing. According to the Vodien infographic Alphabet controls four of the most popular sites.

The Visual Capitalist points out that Google.com gets an astounding 28 billion visits per month. The next closest is also a Google-owned property, YouTube, brings in 20.5 billion visits.

Facebook (FB) controls two of the most popular web sites; Facebook (#3) and Instagram (#13).

Jeff Bezo’s firm Amazon (AMZN) directs four popular web sites;

The infographic says Verizon (VZ) now controls the Huffington Post (#49) and AOL (#59) and will control Yahoo (#5) and Tumlr (#12) if the deal closes in 2017 Q2.

Reddit.com comes in at #7 and Reddituploads.com is #61.

Online retailer eBay comes in as the #8 website.

POTUS favorite Twitter (TWTR) is the 9th ranked website and t.co is #25.

Video streamer Netflix comes in ranked #10 by Vodien.

Microsoft (MSFT) controls 7 of the top 100 web sites with recently purchased LinkedIn at #11, Live.com #14. so-so search engine Bing is #17, followed by Office.com (#23), Microsoft Online Services (#24), MSN (#37) and Microsoft.com (#41).


100 Websites that Rule the Internet

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The consolidation of all of this web traffic is troubling. The current administration is going to allow online firms to sell all the personal information they collect to the government, data aggregators or anybody else to make a buck.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Trivial Taxes for Tech Titans

Trivial Taxes for Tech TitansJust in time for the start of the U.S. tax season, reports surface that should piss off most tax paying Americans. The Business Insider is reporting that most of the American tech giants are not paying their share of taxes.

Tax man The US corporate tax rate is about 35%, but according to an analysis by financial research website WalletHub and charted by Statista, the effective tax rate paid by US tech companies, like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Google (GOOG), was well below the 28.6% average rate paid by the 100 biggest S&P companies.

Facebook (FB) was the exception with an effective tax rate of 41%, but the social networking company has paid a higher rate in past years and recouped some of the money in tax deductions, according to Quartz.

Infographic: How Much U.S. Tech Companies Pay in Taxes | Statista

One way these tech giants are lowering their tax bills is by stashing most of their profits overseas, where lower international tax rates apply. Despite claims by Apple CEO Tim Cook, that Apple pays all of its taxes, Apple, for example, keeps most of its cash offshore, and openly says it’s keeping it overseas to avoid their US corporate tax bills.

Tax dodgerThe New York Times recently reported that Apple made a deal with Italian tax authorities over a dispute about how much tax the iPad maker should have paid Italy. A spokesman for Italy’s tax authority declined to comment to the NYT on the amount of owed taxes but he BBC reports that the figure is €318m ($348m).

The investigation, found that since 2013, Apple had moved roughly $1.1 billion in revenue from its Italian operations through an Irish subsidiary to lower the taxes that the company was obliged to pay under the 27.5% corporate income tax rate in Italy.

The NYT says Ireland’s corporate tax rate, at 12.5%, is one of the lowest in the Western world, compared with 35%, before deductions, in the United States. Of course Irish officials deny that the low-tax structure represents unfair competition.

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The Tech Titans have long lusted after a tax cut. I cover the 2011 meeting where Tech giants Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Apple, Steve Jobs, Yahoo, Cisco (CSCO), Twitter (TWTR), Oracle (ORCL), Netflix, Google and venture capitalists lobbied Obama for a tax cut on $1 trillion of profits they’ve stashed overseas.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

No More POTS!

No More POTS!A.G. Bell‘s question to Watson over a century ago may be relevant again, if the FCC expedites the transition to VoIP according to Tom Nolle at No Jitter. Mr. Nolle the founder of CIMI Corporation does not think that basic quality of voice service is at risk, but there are some truly profound consequences to a decision to abandon TDM voice, and since it really looks like it will happen, it’s smart to think about them–as relates to both opportunities and risks.

Cord cuttersTelecommunications has long been more than analog voice and copper loops, while, the author points out that regulations have stayed in the “TDM” Dark Ages. Operators like AT&T (T) have demanded the FCC modernize things. To deal with these issues, the FCC bundled its transitions (TDM-to-VoIP, fixed to mobile, copper to fiber) into a single Technology Transition Policy Task Force. The recommendations from that activity will hopefully launch experiments in promoting change while controlling the risk of unfavorable impacts. The recommendations of the TTPTF (quite the acronym!) are posted online (PDF) and he says it’s a clarion call for change, and so instead of taking about the process, let’s look at the impact.

Mr. Nolle the CIMI principal consultant estimates, that 40% of US households still have TDM voice and businesses have a higher TDM commitment–it seems that nearly 70% of business voice is still TDM. Suppose we saw TDM voice go away completely; what would happen?

EthernetFirst, little besides voice that requires TDM services and trunks, which he says means we would see all access lines and trunks transition to packet–almost certainly to Ethernet. The author says this could increase the number of Ethernet business connections by about 28% and it would also likely increase the access bandwidth commitments by branch offices and SMBs (using DSL, fiber, cable, etc.) by over 50%. Metro and access vendors would benefit from this almost immediately because it’s likely that operators would start to promote Ethernet access and IP voice more strongly as soon as the “experiments” showed signs of success.

Operators already like the notion of an “access-first” strategy where they supply a fat pipe to a customer and then build ad hoc services over it. Ethernet or packet access encourages that, so giving that to everyone would drive operators quickly to look for rapid service deployment tools so that they don’t lose all the new access-generated opportunities to the over-the-top players (OTTs). The author believes that operator interest in software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are linked to this very thing. After all it’s silly to talk about “improved service velocity” if you have to restring an access connection to upgrade service.

Net NeutralityThe second impact Mr. Nolle sees is on Internet policy. This voice transition raises the question of the difference between “packet” or “IP” and “the Internet”. You can do VoIP over any IP, including private networking. That’s done with a lot of IP voice today in fact. Operators could in theory augment their services to customers by building IP services that bypass the Internet, but that would pose issues in linking the services to current devices in the home or in businesses. OTTs would surely want to get involved in any new service opportunity, and all that raises the triple-threat question of QoS, settlement, and Net Neutrality.

There’s no barrier to QoS in “private” IP networks, but on the Internet, the Net Neutrality order last year said that you could offer QoS only if the subscriber pays for it. Most practical Internet QoS opportunities arise because an OTT like Netflix (NFLX) could gain by offering QoS to customers. They’d pay the ISPs and either embed the cost or perhaps eat it to improve their differentiation. But the FCC said “No!” Now the new FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, says “Perhaps”–at least he did in a speech to a university audience. If that were to become policy, it would likely drive QoS for Internet services, and that would drive settlement among ISPs and content players.

Quality of ServiceSettlement has been a big issue for the Internet since the 1990s. Customers pay their own ISP, so if there’s no money flow from that ISP to others, QoS stops where the ISP hands off the traffic. That’s inhibited the value of the Internet for applications that need QoS, but it perhaps encouraged smaller players and startups who couldn’t pay like Google (GOOG) or Netflix could. Whether this small-player benefit is more for VCs who then have to raise less funding to get a OTT off the ground is an interesting question–but in any event, adding settlement and QoS to the Internet would almost certainly increase operator interest in providing service quality for a fee, which in turn would increase network investment, helping equipment vendors and carriers alike…. In short, it would change the industry.

Mr. Nolle concludes that VoIP could be a back door to making the Internet a real network and not a service on top of carrier IP infrastructure. That could remake our experiences online, and the vendors’ fortunes in the marketplace. So watch the progress of this initiative; it could have huge impacts.

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ATT has already made its move to get rid of POTS lines in Michigan. ATT has bribed gotten politicians in Lansing to introduce Senate Bill 636. Michigan SB 636 would amend the Michigan Telecommunications Act (PDF) to let ATT and their fellow travelers eliminate POTS lines in Michigan.

Melissa Seifert, associate state director for government affairs for AARP Michigan says eliminating POTS lines in the Great Lakes State would impact many people.  It would affect small-business owners who use fax machines and credit card verification systems, she said, as well as emergency services in parts of the state where cell phone access is unreliable.  According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, roughly 3 million Michiganders subscribe to landline service. About 90 percent of households of folks ages 65 and older still use landlines for “lifelines.”

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Paul Allen Internet Tax Collector?

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has reloaded in his attempt to sue the world for patent infringement. Allen’s Interval Licensing filed an amended patent infringement suit against most of the leading online tech companies. The first try (which I wrote about here) was tossed out by the judge because it failed to point out exactly how each firm stole Allen’s ideas.

Interval’s amended, 35-page filing (PDF) claims that Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Facebook, and eight other online companies use Allen’s patents whenever they use a browser for navigating through information, managing a user’s peripheral attention while using a device, and alerting users to items of current interest. The filing claims that features as Apple’s Dashboard software, the notifications interface in Google’s Android operating system and Netflix’s (NFLX) viewing suggestions are infringing on Interval patents. It asks for unspecified damages from those companies as well as an injunction on them shipping any products with the allegedly infringing features.

It looks like Google’s Android operating system is directly targeted by the lawsuit including its notification system for texts, Google Voice messages, e-mails, and other alerts displays information “to a user of a mobile device in an unobtrusive manner that occupies the peripheral attention of the user.” As before,the suit doesn’t target Microsoft (MSFT) or Amazon (AMZN) (which pays rent to Allen’s Vulcan Real Estate), even though both companies’ products would seem to infringe on the same patents.

Rob Pegoraro at the Washington Post writes:

the Interval claims continue to be insultingly generic. For instance, an allegation that AOL and Gmail’s spam-filtering software infringes on an Interval patent because it is “based at least in part on a comparison between the new email and other emails that have been received.” (Sure: Like nobody ever thought to make such a statistical comparison until Interval came along.) Later, it contends that when Netflix “generates a display of related content items” after “a user views a particular content item,” that infringes on an Interval patent too. (Right, because the concept of a store or a catalog suggesting a related item to a shopper didn’t exist until Interval scientists had a brainstorming session.)

Mr.Pegoraro continues:

Interval’s patents are junk. They describe general concepts that should have been obvious to anybody of ordinary skill in this field in the mid 1990s–and for which it shouldn’t be difficult to find “prior art” showing that other people had thought of the same thing years before. Had the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provided the “high quality” examination of patent applications it promises, it’s hard to see how these patents would have been granted in the first place.

Mr. Pegoraro also cites PaidContent.org’s Joe Mullin in a commentary (emphasis in the original):

If patent claims on such basic ideas are found to be valid, there are surely hundreds of other potential defendants that could be sued by Interval Licensing. Paul Allen would be essentially a tax collector for the internet.

The firms named in the suite are:

Do you believe the U.S. Patent Office is still useful?

Does Paul Allen deserves to collect a tax from every Internet user?