Skype Free the French

Skype have announced that French Skype users can call any French landline for free (until the end of December).

Skype requires broadband and many broadband providers in France already offer a bundle of free national calls so though it's a nice gesture it's not really a big thing.

Pipex buy Bulldog and Tucan

Another 2 broadband providers fall to the consolidation in the telecoms/ISP markets with Tucan and Bulldog being acquired by Pipex who now claim around 570,000 broadband customers.

Tucan's purchase isn't really suprising as margins for consumer broadband are diminishing, more so now with broadband being given away free as part of other offerings.

C&W have also being looking for a way to dispose of their Bulldog retail customers as they have been unable to compete in this business (especially since the launch of Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk3 package). Pipex also gain the use of the Bulldog name.

It makes a lot of sense for C&W to do this as they can now concentrate on a wholesale offering (which is a turn-around as they stopped offering one when they acquired Bulldog), and gain Pipex as a wholesale customer.

Consumer broadband and local loop unbundling is all about economies of scale. There are several LLU operators all competing for the customers in near enough the same (expected) 1,000 local exchanges that are being unbundled. If a wholesale provider could gain enough market traction the unbundler's could utilise them instead of unbundling themselves. This would potentially allow a greater number of exchanges to be unbundled with a greater number of users per exchange which would mean the economics become much more favourable. Unfortunately this requires companies in a highly competetive market working with each other, which is the stumbling block which rapidly degrades into telco politics.

Apple iMacs go Core 2 and 24 inch

Apple has announced that all iMac models will have an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. CPU speeds come in 1.8, 2.0, 2.16 and 2.3GHz with up to 3GB of RAM.

The new 24" model supports up to 1920 x 1200 pixels supports the higher end CPU (2.3GHz) and an option of a nVidia GeForce 7600GT instead of the 7300GT which is on the other models, a 250GB is standard though that can be upgraded to 500GB at order time. There's also a Firewire 800 port (in addition to the Firewire 400 ports). As with all new Macs they come with Tiger (10.4.7), iLife and Frontrow.

As the Core 2 Duo CPU is 64bit MacOS 10 really operates in 64bit mode (on the MacBooks and old Intel iMacs it's only working in 32bit).

The iMac is still one of the prettier PC's out there and for an all in one unit the new 24" system will be hard to beat - though there are probably cheaper systems out there. Macs just work


Blu-Ray HDDVD battle hots up

TDK have announced a prototype for a Blu-Ray disk supporting 200GB. The current disks support 25GB per layer i.e. 50GB per disk.

HDDVD also has the capability for higher capacities, but they are currently lower than Blu-Ray.

This will make a huge difference for storing HD (high definition) movies which require huge capacities.

Samsung updates Q1

The new machine called the Q1P adds HSPDA (high speed download packet access), a new battery giving the system 5 hours of use and a processor from VIA rather than Intel. There are other new features, but Samsung haven't gone into details yet.

Another IT Week mention

IT Week mentioned me on the front page of this week's edition re Open Source routers and their limitations.

Maybe I should do this professionally?