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Randal James

Randal James
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  • Apple, Samsung Face China Telco Freeze-Out [View article]

    You must be what we call, in our most polite terms, an Apple Bull. Did it ever occur to you that for nearly all the Chinese, there is NO ecosystem? Did you really believe there are several hundred million Macs over there and several times more iTunes customers buying Gangsta Rap?

    You blatantly predict "most" Chinese will find a way to buy iPhones even though the average wage in China is less than the world median and imported phones cost more than they do at WalMart, which, appropriately enough, is an Apple reseller. Yes, the average family will forego food and rent for a month, not incur any expense whatsoever just so ONE lucky member of the household can get a 5C.

    Asian competitors came after the radio business, stole it and put all the domestic manufacturers out of business. Replace radio with television. Not completely done with autos but moving from a laughingstock to three significant brands (Toyota, Honda, Nissan). Phones? Always dominated by Motorola until BBRY and Nokia took a swing, Mot coming back with a hard left with the RAZR and then Apple stunning them all with better technologies.

    Yet the general trend is not in Apple's favor, no? Too much margin always attracts too many competitors and eventually, someone who doesn't pay a kazillion dollars in salary finds the winning combo. Like autos, it may take a long time for the denouement. Huawei and ZTE are at your friendly carrier now. Others, especially Xiaomi, will surely follow.

    Ah, but they don't make anything close to an iSomething. Nope, you are right. Currently they make devices for around $200 that would make a buyer in that price range (a much larger group than will ever hold an iPhone) contemplate hard on his/her choices.

    And it is just a matter of building a fan base before launching a phone that competes at the top and sells for half. Qualcomm is an investor in Xiaomi so I'm *guessing* the technology will not be a shortfall.

    But by all means continue to believe Apple is bulletproof, the greatest company humankind has ever known or will ever know. Sort of like AT&T before... well, another story.
    Aug 21 03:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sorry, But The BlackBerry Passport Is Not Being Panned [View article]
    Gentlemen! Shorts are your friends if you are correct.

    Let's look at this realistically. Most longs here do not know a soul who will not be buying several passports. For longs, Apple's setbacks in China mean that BBRY should EASILY have a 50% market share. The US Army is ordering BBRY - one for each pocket.

    Corey - just as my post is stupidly overoptimistic, the inclusion of the 'whiff' of pre-orders is just as bad. No one pre-commits to an untried device other than carriers. Will VZ pre-commit to Apple's next version? Yes, because half of the smartphones they sell are AAPL. Will they PC to BBRY? Why? BBRY has occupied a corner shelf near the back for so long that most of the rapidly changing staff don't even know what advantages BBRY might have.

    Corporate heavyweights will monitor everything from that point forward and perhaps make decisions based on months of usage but surely not their own.

    As for the rest of us... penetration in the US is pathetique. Believers believe and no one else cares. There is no special cadre of business users longing for a keyboard. Actually, people in business do something far more practical - they TALK, which requires no keyboard at all. They talk at each other in real time at 4 or 10 or even more participants at a time. Do they worry at being intercepted by 3rd parties? Apparently not.

    Everyone keeps pointing the golden finger at Ms. Merkel. OMG, spying by ther NSA, how could you? Except, of course, when Germany and everyone else is spying on everyone else. As Gomer used to say "Surprise, surprise!"
    Aug 20 04:07 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sorry, But The BlackBerry Passport Is Not Being Panned [View article]

    I'm not sure about your optimism. I read several articles where communities have banded together to eradicate blackberries, such as this group in New Zealand.

    They will run over the device itself with a strong rototiller or even a tractor pulled Bush Hog. They gather up the parts and burn them, much like you'd expect at a redneck exorcism. Then they watch for a few years to make sure the devil is gone for good. As for the shovels, my theory is they ask the poor guy who was carrying the BBRY - even if it was an old BB7 - if he'll kindly try another brand. If he says "No way!" the shovels come out and let's just say there are no more repeat customers.
    Aug 20 02:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sorry, But The BlackBerry Passport Is Not Being Panned [View article]

    Your view is not unique but apple fans will tell you that Apple doesn't NEED to sell affordable phones to the commoners in CN. For some reason, AAPL is content to let the rapidly expanding Chinese manufacturers gain stature and clout believing, like a winning football team, they will never face true competition. Until it arrives at the front door.

    I think the move to buddy up with IBM was more of an effort to get in the corporate door before Microsoft did.
    Aug 19 05:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ultra Petroleum: Please Welcome A Pinedale Pure Play [View article]

    See what I mean about talking above my pay grade? OK. I used to live in NY. Couldn't be helped and I've apologized to all of my friends.

    I doubt there are many markets where energy is costlier than the immediate suburbs of NYC. Our utility bills used to run between $6-8,000 a year. When Wyoming was finding gas in most every hole in the prairie, they would have loved to have sent a bit our way and gotten those terrific prices that popped up during a brutal winter.

    It was my understanding that they were constructing an eastbound pipeline that would get WY gas as far as Ohio, where it could be funneled to existing systems for delivery to NY and New England.

    The article I read recently was talking about the stunning amount of gas now being pumped in the Marcellus/Utica and how for the foreseeable few decades, it looked to be enough to supply the entire corner of the country with all th NG it would need. Meaning, Wyoming and Colorado had best look elsewhere for markets.

    Following your ??? of what I meant, I tried to look up the pipeline details and while my pipeline seems conspicuously absent from maps, I do see connections to the southern grid and numerous lines westward. That sort of negates my comment and I apologize. Those who are in a position to sell residential gas into the cold corners of the country on the Atlantic side do very, very well.
    Aug 19 12:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ultra Petroleum: Please Welcome A Pinedale Pure Play [View article]

    I'm not deep enough in the reading to fully have a forceful argument but I have read that there is so much gas being developed in the Utica and Marcellus; so many more miles of collection pile and processing facilities that all the gas needed for the seasonal heating and recharge cycles is right in PA. In other words, the gas from the Rockies would have to be sold for far less to be interesting because of the transportation costs.

    Now, it is logical to believe they can get that gas down to Louisiana for export but the timing and price might be annoying. If the price softened and demand was sluggish because of more nearby supplies in the Northeast, those Pinedale fields might be stranded by surplus - how weird is that?
    Aug 18 07:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry Passport: No Killer App, Investors Lose [View article]
    I have friend work in donuts. Used to be, with Heins, they would us bismark donuts for numbers and lots (and lots) of regular glazed for zeroes. Ever since last year, donut demand do the opposite of going through the roof. Most recently had to switch to all-red. Look bad.
    Aug 18 06:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry forms business unit covering QNX, Ion, patents [View news story]

    The smiley might've alerted you to an irreverent post. Leapfrog (NYSE:LF) makes digital games of an educational sort for children. The kids loved the games and parents had to keep buying new ones - the old give 'em the razor and sell the blades philosophy. But with better features on mobile phones and competitive games, they have fallen out of favor and have a market cap under half a billion.

    Like a lot of formerly cool investments, it was a good thing to own going into Christmas because lots of people would think "I bet they're selling like hotcakes!" And often they were. Not so much these days. I think the takeover notion will have to come from the deep end of the pool but I do think it is possible. Good luck.
    Aug 18 01:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry forms business unit covering QNX, Ion, patents [View news story]
    Streamlines the business for a takeover by Leapfrog. :)
    Aug 18 12:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: The Tide Is Certainly Turning [View article]
    Hi K!

    In the way I landed on Amazon, they have three categories of best sellers. The contract phones hook you up with a carrier for a cheaper price - sometimes less than you'd get from the carrier. On that list, there are just two Qwerty phones - Both of them Q10s in 66th and 68th place out of the hundred phones they sort. The carriers are Sprint and ATT, respectively.

    If you go to the no-contract phones, these are often the oddball devices you can buy for $20 or less and some are used. There are many qwerties on that list starting with a Motorola Tracfone for $5 at position #20. There are 4 in the group from 41-60 including a Samsung, Kyocera, and 2 LGs. Two of those are sliders and one model is only available used. In the next group of 20 is and ATT branded Tracfone and a Blackberry Curve at #77 for $65.00 An Alcatel wraps up the keyboarders at #98.

    The last category is unlocked cell phones and most everything is on here because not all carriers have the model you might want. There's a company sitting at # 2 & 3 called BLU ADVANCED with a dual SIM setup and nice looking models that run around $80, but no keyboard (sorry). At position 41 is the Q10 for $260 factory unlocked. A few spots further down is a $50 LG Cosmos slider. At spot 51 is a BB Bold for $84. At #74 is the BB Curve for $94. An LG slider is a few doors down for $46.

    And that's the end of the keyboards. So out of 300 phones, 15 models were clearly Qwerts but they were never very high in the popularity profile. I will say the BB devices were among the most expensive of phones with keyboards, but in that last group of unlocked phones the competition is newer Samsungs, Apples and the like which were significantly more expensive.

    This is one of the frustrating things about trying to gauge the future acceptance of the new keyboard devices. Our counterparts here seem to know almost no one that doesn't want one but in general, the demand is soft. T Mobile doesn't even offer a boarded phone and Sprint has the Motorola Admiral, the Q10, and a BB Bold that doesn't have a camera.

    Yet we know that Samsung and LG make these so why don't the carriers bother- surely Samsung is a popular enough brand. What you have to believe is that the demand is there, but ONLY for BBRY devices. A tall order.

    Heck, maybe it is like all the cars Detroit is bringing back from the 60's - Mustangs and Chargers - a blast from the past.
    Aug 16 05:24 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: The Tide Is Certainly Turning [View article]

    Mapodga has a different perspective than many of us as he apparently sees fellow business people who still use old BB7 devices waiting for a ray of sunshine while others note the decline in EU sales and reach our own conclusions. If would make perfect sense to me given the magnitude of BBRY's freefall and restructuring that they had to forego the marketing expense required to keep any but their best markets engaged.

    He believes when new devices are available, many will return to BBRY as pleased return customers. I was just reading something on ZDNet where one reviewer mentioned it was much more true in Asia and Europe that people would use the oddly oversized phablets as phones. If true, then demand in Europe may be better in the business community that recent stats would suggest.

    But... and there's always a but with us FUD-sowing miscreants - many of the articles in the trade press while admitting that the Passport has good specs and features also pirouette right up to the edge of saying it is so out of step with the direction phones have moved toward as to really make success questionable. Everybody has a phablet somewhere in their lineup and the Note is probably the most successful of the bunch.

    Still, if you were to go to best-selling phones on Amazon, it should surprise no one that the winner is the Kindle Fire. It is surprising that the next 10 models are all Samsung 4s and 5s with different colors and carriers. The Note is clear down at 17th place. I think it represents the high-tide mark of larger-screen devices and we will return to portability vs. trying to mimic our television screens. If one must watch movies on a portable, at least get a tablet or something with a screen large enough to enjoy the experience.

    The next six weeks should be interesting. MSFT is said to be introducing a few new models and the long-awaited i6 will arrive. Will it be with the new sapphire screen or not? Just the smaller version or both at one time? Michael Blair had an article out that reported MSFT is releasing a $25 feature phone for developing countries where wireless works but net connectivity hasn't arrived. Fascinating. Good luck to you too, Corey.
    Aug 16 02:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: The Tide Is Certainly Turning [View article]

    Thanks for the observed reply. I learn a lot about what I see as well so I think you have every right to be optimistic. Good luck with your investment here and elsewhere.
    Aug 15 08:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: The Tide Is Certainly Turning [View article]

    In Europe, especially, Blackberry is going out of style faster than Rubik's Cube. iOS is holding its own, Windows making some progress and Android mixed but with a dominant share. Kantar (June 2014) dropped BBRY as a separately measured OS because of low numbers but you can see the 'other' category declined (also included now-abandoned symbian from Nokia).

    So whether it is a fashion mistake to go to a meeting and hoist a phone from a pocket other than a jacket or purse, it appears there are darn few BBRY devices being reached for, regardless of where they are concealed.

    Has the EU business community been on pause these long months waiting for the right device or is it more likely they are using those too long Samsungs or, in the case of GB, their favorite Apple? Also, if I had to carry either a sport bag or man-purse to cart around my wallet and phone I'd put the wallet in my back pocket and leave the phone at home - perhaps shopping for a phone that was easy to carry.

    I could be wrong, but I'm believing this is just as popular with shareholders as the entire BB10 lineup was. Everyone was touting how great, just use one, they are wonderful! But that wasn't what happened.

    We'll surely have a good idea by Christmastime whether they sell beyond the fan base.
    Aug 15 03:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Appeals court rules against Vringo; shares halted [View news story]
    Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

    It tolls for trolls.
    Aug 15 11:19 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: The Tide Is Certainly Turning [View article]

    I'm sure those of us with a few decades of experience recall that the early mobile phones were portable but huge. My Dad had an early car phone and the gear to run it was the size of a briefcase mounted in his trunk. But next there were phones more like the size of a blackboard eraser with a pull-out antenna.

    And the form factor shrunk to the point of actually being something you could take in a pocket - mobile indeed. Recent developments have allowed phones to actually quickly access web content and that has required larger screens to be practical.

    I suppose we'll know soon enough whether the average consumer (as opposed to the jihad of longs) will actually buy a phone that will, once again, be awkward to carry. I know, it fits in pants pockets but every time you'd want to sit or drive you'd be looking to put it somewhere else.

    Having said that, someone will surely point out it is meant to be a business phone. That begs the question that if its used in a business environment, rather than at home... isn't everyone already using a phone for calls and a PC or laptop that gets the web content in a full-size format without compromise? I agree with everyone's assertions that it is clever and what a treat to have a larger keyboard, no? Want one? Nah.
    Aug 15 05:10 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment