Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crash Landing

News reaches me that Boeing are to close their pioneering Connexion by Boeing service that offered broadband on airlines, including Lufthansa, SAS, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

I remember when my colleague, and Narrowstep's COO, Cliff Webb, first told me about how he'd been watching High TV at 39,000ft somewhere above Siberia as he returned from a business trip to Japan over two years ago. The vision of TV anytime, anyplace, on any device seemed to becoming a reality.

It seems to be the way with the airline industry - regression. The first supersonic passenger aircraft flew in 1969 and now there are, er, none..

And the problem is a common one in the networking industry. Someone invests a fortune, the market becomes commoditised, the pioneers go bust, someone else picks up the pieces.

What staggers me is that Boeing seem to be talking of a write down of around $350m. Ouch.

On days like this I'm happy to be part of the delivery not the infrastructure. You have the same (if not better) ability to make money, but far less exposure and have to deploy far less capital. And it goes to show how you have to invest in added value services, not just the infrastructure - image all those people using the service to gamble on their laptops whilst in the air.. Doh!

No comments: