The key event for the Russian market was the change in the MTS logo, although they do not care
Probably a very typical story thathappened to me. One of the brands launched sales of new devices, the volume of pre-orders was a couple of times higher than a year earlier. Good news. A day later, a person from retail knocked, apparently asked to confirm that everything was going well. It's just that the situation is exactly the opposite. In the description, pre-orders turned into sales, and the latter have already quadrupled. A broken phone, when the course that many companies have taken in the public field is well shown - to ignore reality, embellish the situation and radiate confidence. The thing is dangerous, as it devalues the idea of communication with companies as such, sooner or later there will be no faith in numbers at all. And that's the sad part of the story. On the other hand, there are also role models, all this did not arise from scratch. For example, Musk does this all the time, and nothing bad happens. At least for him, and we'll talk about that too. Let's start our release. Go!
Table of Contents
- MTS rebranding, notes on the sidelines of the Platforms 2023 conference
- Rise of calculators, typewriter artificial intelligence
- Apple augmented reality headset - to be or not to be?
- ARM campaign against Chinese companies, return fire on Micron
- Small Fold from OPPO - FindN2
- Books. Sam Keen, In the Name of Science.
MTS rebranding, notes on the sidelines of the Platforms 2023 conference
It seems to me that I turn on March 30 in the socketiron, and from it I would have been informed that MTS abandoned the “egg” in the logo. The company has been preparing the rebranding since 2019, during lunches in the city I heard MTS employees talking several times about what exactly they were going to do, no one made a secret of this. I outlined my thoughts about rebranding and why it is necessary in a separate article, I don’t want to repeat here.
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A certain feeling of dissatisfaction remainedI got from the fact that even before the start of the conference there was a figure of a billion rubles, which was tied to rebranding and had no basis. As usual, there was a damaged phone: in the original source, and it was the Vedomosti newspaper, this billion sounds completely different: “The development of a new brand by itself can cost MTS about 40–50 million rubles, its implementation will be more costly - 150– 200 million rubles, this is a change in the design of offices, sales outlets, etc., estimates Alexey Andreev, managing partner of the Depot branding agency. Also, according to the expert, about 1 billion rubles. may cost a large-scale advertising campaign, including several cycles worth 300-500 million rubles. every. In total, it takes about a year or a year and a half for a company like MTS to switch to a new brand, he adds.”
Agree that it is one thing - the costs describedabove, it is completely different - what this billion has become in discussions. And he caused exactly the same torment - they say, the operator has nowhere to spend money, it would be better if they improved the quality of communication, did not raise prices, and further down the list. Exactly the same torment happened after the rebranding of the beeline, and for all other companies the same thing happened - there were practically no satisfied ones. Rewinding back, I can say that one of the most successful launches of updated brands was Beeline during the time of Alexander Izosimov (then such a concept was new, at one point all the components worked out well). Another example from our market is "Svyaznoy" - a beautiful concept, the right advertising campaign.
A few words about the costs of rebranding MTS.Vyacheslav Nikolaev, answering a question, announced the figure of all expenses until today - 20-30 million rubles. Given that the net profit of MTS in 2022 amounted to 32.6 billion rubles, in total this is a penny within the company. The approach of MTS is not much different from the same beeline, both companies say that there are no separate costs for rebranding, except for developing a corporate identity. Changes in offices and stores are taking place gradually and within the usual budget, that is, this process will be extended over several years. There is no task to change all signs at a single moment and cannot be, since it is too expensive and pointless. Evolution is the path that is familiar today for all companies without exception. An outside observer does not understand how many documents, signs and other things need to be changed, this cannot be done, let alone in one day, it is impossible to turn such a thing even in a year.
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During his speech, Vyacheslav said thatthe company will look at the reaction to the updated brand, arrange a vote for users. But this is rather an element of flirting with the audience, the company has already made its choice, there will be no rollback. Negativity can be safely considered informational noise, since everything unusual in our country is unambiguously accepted with hostility.
But I want to draw attention to another point, inMTS held an event for seven hundred people, using their own venue in Moscow for this (yes, the company is also engaged in concert activities, among other things). I will allow myself a lyrical digression, since on the day of the conference I talked with one actor, I will not name the name, but he is in demand and popular, he plays both in the theater and in cinema. We couldn’t help but discuss the company’s new logo, and then the conversation habitually turned to communication prices, and I heard something like this: “It’s very frustrating how they raise communication prices, nothing changes, and I pay much more than before.”
Sitting in Grand Coffeemania in the center of Moscow, a personI ordered a crab burger for lunch, freshly squeezed juice, added some kind of salad separately. In total, I spent about three thousand rubles for lunch. He pays about 850 rubles a month for a phone! Per month for all communication services (we do not consider roaming, this is a separate issue). To my sarcastic question why tickets for a performance with his participation cost about 5,000 rubles a piece, I heard in response: “This is a completely different story, you know what our advertising costs are, attracting people to the theater. And that's art." It is absolutely impossible to communicate with me on these topics, since I do not accept the construction “this is different”, I cite facts, which bring the interlocutors to white heat. For his work, a person wants to get the maximum possible, for the work of others to pay the minimum. The design is understandable, but it always causes disapproval among those who find themselves on the other side of the barricades.
Another example is from the comments in ourTelegram channel in a discussion under the news that operators are starting to cut speed for those who abuse unlimited Internet on old tariffs. I liked the question, which perfectly reveals the essence of using networks today: “What about those who have equipment in the fields that requires terabytes per month?”.
People are so used to the fact that the connection is for themworth a penny that they build their business based on these penny costs. They turn a blind eye to the fact that they cannot use SIM-cards under an agreement to support their business, they need other tariffs, and there are other prices. Agree that TB per month is a lot, and the conditional 500 rubles for such a volume of data look at least ridiculous. You will have to wean yourself from freebies, there will be no more such cheap and unlimited Internet. And this is normal, operators need to develop. I explained this topic many times, but usually people react in a standard way: “Operators are snickering, I don’t want to pay, because it’s expensive and very expensive.” Believe that in a few years you will remember these times of "high cost" with nostalgia.
I will return to the MTS conference. Usually in our area they try to hold business events according to standard patterns, but recently there has been a correct trend when they make a show out of them.
Speakers from MTS were located on the platforms,neighboring platforms changed their position, important numbers were broadcast on them. Lots of light, music track and other components of a big conference. It turned out at the world level, no worse than at the presentations of Samsung (they love such shows, and they succeed) or other similar companies. The MTS team worked the event well, it turned out beautifully. And this is also a moment to which they will pay attention, other companies will keep in mind what can be done like this or find some other approach to the market and their consumers.
In the story of the MTS changes, the main thing is nottoday, but how the company will transform itself and its services. Very soon we will see it, however, in Moscow, an advertisement for the updated brand appeared in the center on the same day. But it’s more interesting for me to look at services that stand a little aside, for example, the same travel.
Times are such that we need to change. Those who do not understand this will change anyway, but life itself will push them in this direction. Sometimes kicks.
Rise of calculators, typewriter artificial intelligence
I get scared when someone tries mescare, whether it is the voice of scammers on the phone or the words of famous people who paint all the troubles of the world, coming from a single phenomenon. I made it a habit to look for the reasons for the appearance of horror stories, and at the same time think about what conclusions they push me to, what exactly they force me to do or not do. Cui prodest? Cui bono?
News that made a lot of noise:The Future of Life Institute published an open letter calling for a halt to the development of AI algorithms that are more powerful than GPT-4. You can find this letter here.
Famous people signed the letterParticularly Elon Musk. More than 50,000 people are said to have signed, but the team is very slow to verify and add to the list. So far, only a couple of thousand signatures are visible.
I don't know about you, but I'm allergic toacademies, institutes, universities and other supposedly educational institutions, which consist of a couple of dozen employees at most. Academy of Higher Forms of Education of two employees - something like that makes a lasting impression for the rest of his life. Almost no difference from the scammers who tell you into the phone: "I'm a bank security officer." Here they simply do not hide and try to give weight to themselves and what they do. Specifically, this institute was organized in 2014, it is non-profit, it lives on donations and investments from various organizations. A structure that is convenient for promoting certain ideas within the framework of competition.
Why did such a letter appear?The answer is obvious, OpenAI, having received funding and support from Microsoft, goes into the lead, it becomes more difficult to catch up with it, and there is a far from zero probability that these companies will dominate the AI algorithms market. Competitors, including Google, are lagging behind and the gap is widening. In such a situation, many companies and their leaders want to slow down the development of OpenAI and the company's algorithms, but there are simply no levers of pressure. Hence the campaign, in which the development of GPT-4 is painted in gloomy colors. A sort of uprising of calculators, which they are trying to give the features of something significant.
I'll start with the fact that Elon Musk was involved in businessOpenAI, was a co-founder of the company, invested in it. The company was founded in December 2015, and heavyweights invested in it. In addition to Musk, these were people like Greg Brockman (Cloudera), Rebeca Mercer, Peter Thiel (PayPal, Palantir Technologies) and others. A stellar startup by any standards.
In 2018, Musk, in his restless mannerdelivered an ultimatum: either he develops the company alone, or leaves it. As a result, he sold his stake in Microsoft, as other investors did not want to give him a startup. As the development of the situation later shows, they did the right thing. In parallel with his departure from OpenAI, Musk began to play dirty tricks, namely, to throw statements about the dangers of AI development into the media, in particular, he said: “We can get an immortal dictator from whom it is impossible to escape.” At some point, OpenAI was even forced to release an official statement that Musk was no longer associated with the company, his words influenced the business. And this discord in a noble family did not concern any ideals, there was only business and nothing else. When Musk tries to give himself the image of an idealist, a fighter for some beliefs, he does not succeed well. Each time the essence of a person comes out, he simply does not control his emotions and shows himself to be true. For me, the turning point was when Musk called out an elderly diver who helped rescue children from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2019. A crazy project to create a submarine for a rescue operation was rejected, in response he called the man a pedophile. And it was clear to everyone that on the part of the Musk, this was just a situational PR on the problem, on the lives of children who were cut off from the world in a flooded cave. But the Briton found his way to them, then led the rescue work. Musk, on the other hand, gave out interviews and took time and effort from those who really saved the children. My sympathy is on the side of people who really help others.
The fact that Musk left OpenAI was his mistake,now he invests money in competing developments. And it is important for him that OpenAI does not receive benefits, hence exactly the same rhetoric as in 2018: AI algorithms are dangerous, their development must be slowed down. Moreover, this is not done in order to form some kind of real approach, not at all. This is done in order to create pressure on OpenAI and Microsoft, to drink their blood. And then different scenarios are possible, up to Musk's return to the company's capital in some form. It's a matter of bidding and whether Microsoft will go for it or not. I would like to believe that they will not cave in to blackmail, albeit hidden.
Issues of ethics and morality when using anytechnology is always important, there is no doubt about it. But specifically in this case, they cover their business interests. Moreover, we are deliberately misled - there is not a single technology on the horizon that can create artificial intelligence. Just as computers analyze certain processes, from the weather on Earth to the actions of potentially hostile countries, they will do the same with new tools. And the tools themselves are still created by man, he puts his ideas about the world into them. Yes, the tools are becoming more complex, they are often incomprehensible to the majority. But we don’t worry that we don’t know how to count, like any calculator: we are slow, and many don’t know how to count in the mind at all, including even the simplest calculations, not to mention logarithms. But, nevertheless, we are not afraid that calculators will rise up and take over the world. We are not afraid that MS Office will revolt against us, its literacy is higher than that of the vast majority of people on the planet. But that's exactly how we created it! This is specialized software and nothing more.
It is necessary to isolate the motives of people and companies in order tounderstand what they really want, what benefits them. And all these worries around artificial intelligence are the sharing of the skin of an unkilled bear. Fight for future market share, there is no other reason.
And as a highlight - the “institute” is sponsored byMask, and the quotes of scientists given in the open letter caused their response, they believe that the whole story as a whole is distorted and their names are simply used for their own purposes. Nothing new for Musk, standard behavior for solving his utilitarian tasks.
Apple augmented reality headset - to be or not to be?
Apple no longer has the person who filmedtension, sticking your feet in the toilet and flushing the water. Jobs was ambivalent on many things, but one thing was for sure: he hated it when the company was leaked. Those who wanted to ruin their lives could simply talk about their work inside Apple in a friendly conversation. Find out about such Jobs, and his career would be ruined forever, including outside the company. A maniacal focus on making sure no one learns anything about new products ahead of time. Those days are long gone, today the company's plans and what is happening inside are usually an open secret. Employees are not afraid to tell reporters about what is happening in the company over a beer somewhere in the San Francisco area. It was impossible to imagine something like that in the days of Jobs.
So we know what's inside Apple since 2015a team is working to create a mixed reality headset (mixed reality). According to Bloomberg, this headset has already been shown to hundreds of executives from different companies, the presentation was held in a closed format at the Steve Jobs Theater. Prototype demonstrations have been going on since 2018, but the product has never been shown to such a large number of people. Leaks were not long in coming, some characteristics of the device became clear, in particular, the price range of 3-4 thousand dollars!
The New York Times published an article in whichit is discussed that for the first time in the history of Apple, a new product within the company causes mixed reviews. The material states that some of the employees who worked on the headset left the project, they are not sure of its success and the correctness of the chosen strategy. Some of the employees due to lack of progress in development were fired by the company itself. The headset is positioned as a professional instrument, only subsequent models will focus on the mass market. The company will try to get developers to build their apps for the headset. The price level is called from 3,000 dollars.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo later reported thatSince the headset's production has been delayed to a later date, Apple isn't sure if now is the right time to launch such an expensive product. There is no ready-made ecosystem, applications that will interest buyers, and inside there is no optimism about this product. Moreover, Tim Cook is just a supporter of its launch and believes in the bright future of VR / AR technologies. Apple wants to rid itself of dependence on the iPhone, the company is still completely dependent on sales of this smartphone, it brings more than half of all revenue.
My opinion is simple - today there is no mass demandon AR/VR technologies by ordinary people. There are narrow niches in the market where such products are in demand, but this is the corporate market, for example, aircraft assembly. The popularity of VR is well characterized by a photo from the Sochi embankment. As I was pointed out in the comments, there are no people, because it is expensive there.
I would like to ask a rhetorical question:and someone thinks that AR / VR can be inexpensive? I do not believe in such fairy tales, the price of these technologies is huge, and there is still no market. Let's look at the "successes" of Reality Labs, they created this market and are trying to move it. In 2021, the operating loss amounted to $10.2 billion, in 2022 - $13.7 billion. Refreshing numbers that are prompting many companies with big wallets to avoid and exit the VR market. The latest news is about Disney, they closed this development area, all fifty employees were fired. If you think that this is not the case in other companies, then you are mistaken - the topic of VR today is of no use, and it only brings losses. During a crisis, such projects are closed without any pity, and now this will happen everywhere.
The belief that Tim Cook and his teambreak market trends, be able to launch a product at a space price, means that you believe in unicorns and other miracles. The economy is relentless, today is not the time for such devices, there is simply no place for them in the budget of both companies and people. The plan to sell half a million headsets at a minimum cost of $3,000 looks arrogant, to say the least. Even for Apple, which knows how to sell complete nonsense for the price of a starship (remember at least rags for wiping the screen). But not the time, not the case.
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ARM campaign against Chinese companies, return fire on Micron
A trade war at a time when the global crisisdevelops and deepens, akin to a battle for a portion of food on a ship that gradually sinks under water. A worthy occupation, but the end will be the same for everyone, a local victory will not save the ship. An interesting note appeared in the Financial Times about ARM's plans to revise licensing agreements with partners. Today, ARM works directly with processor manufacturers, they license the architecture and, depending on the type of license, they can modify it, the depth of changes is determined by the money paid to ARM. For example, Samsung takes ARM processors and changes them for themselves, Qualcomm is doing exactly the same. From ARM's point of view, both companies are in roughly the same position. The amount of the license fee is calculated depending on the final cost of the processor for the buyer. ARM takes the wholesale price, and the higher it is, the more percentage of the processor price the company receives. Which is logical, since expensive processors include the latest developments, the costs of them need to be compensated. Transparent, clear model without any flaws. Now let's look at the scheme that ARM will offer to its customers.
ARM wants to dramatically increase their revenues, for thisand a different licensing scheme is needed. Now it will be an agreement with the chipset manufacturer plus a license with the device manufacturer - the cost will be calculated from the price of the device.
Let's look at this point with an example, letnumbers and will be relative. For simplicity, let's take the flagship with a cost of $600. The cost of the processor in it will be about $ 80 (for example, Snapdragon 8 Gen.2). That is, about 13% of the total cost of the device for the manufacturer. For ARM, the royalty per processor will be about 6%, or $4.8. And so it was in the old licensing model, everything will be different in the new one.
Now imagine that ARM takes only 3%, but from the price of a smartphone. It turns out that the payment will be 18 dollars! Which increases ARM's income by a little over three times. Nice addition, right?
How will this affect the price of the processor (and todaythis is one of the key components of the cost of a smartphone, it is often more expensive than the screen)? With the help of ARM, the price of a processor will rise from $80 to about $100. Seems like a minor change, right? But the math doesn't work here, in which we add $20 to the cost and that's it. Let's say that the company has a margin on a smartphone of 35%. In the first case, it will be $810 (with a processor price of $80), in the second case, it will be $837 (with a price of $100). But the risk of overstocking the warehouse and the cost of maintaining the models are also growing, which should be included in the price, in the most optimal scenario, the price in this scenario will be about $ 850 (the wholesale cost of a smartphone).
Let's get to the retail prices, asthe wholesale price of the buyer excites, as a rule, a little. With a wholesale price of $810, a smartphone usually sells for at least $1,000. The margin of the distributor, as well as the retail player, is 23.5% on the strength, which, in general, is not much. Let's say that they are satisfied with such a margin and from the wholesale price of $850 they leave it, we get a price of $1050. An increase of 5% looks insignificant, but we looked at flagships where the unit cost of the processor is relatively low. Having done the same exercise for budget models, we will get a figure of 10-30% of the price of the final product. And this is a fantastic increase in the price of electronics, which is directed against Chinese companies. Why against them? The answer is obvious, there are exceptions for Apple and Samsung, they are key partners and they will avoid another licensing model for at least the foreseeable future. It is also beneficial for them, because in this case, the prices for Chinese smartphones will go up and the difference in retail prices will decrease, Apple / Samsung products will look more attractive. But for the market as a whole, this means a drop in smartphone sales, as price increases will affect both budget models and the middle segment. The game is multifaceted, and it is clearly directed against China, all direct competitors win. It is impossible to replace ARM with anyone, but it will also be difficult to raise money in full - Chinese companies will begin to underestimate the cost of their devices, at least for the British ARM, while retail prices will not decrease. The ARM initiative looks doubtful in the long run, but the market is already reacting nervously, because if this happens, the drop in sales will accelerate.
Consider that China is idly watching astrying to crush all the possibilities for the creation and production of modern electronics, it is impossible. So, an investigation began regarding the American company Micron, how safe are its solutions (a major component manufacturer). Micron's dependence on China is not absolute, but close to that (like that of Apple). The company cooperates, does not try to resist, and eventually, one way or another, its achievements will appear in China. We'll have to negotiate, they simply have no other way. And this is an example of how the trade war launched by the United States hits its own companies.
Small Fold from OPPO - FindN2
Started using Find N2, format like GalaxyFold, but the dimensions are smaller, which makes the device surprisingly compact and curious. The size turned out to be very correct, many people who complained about the diminutiveness and squareness of the Flip did not want the Fold for size reasons - it is too big. And here is the golden mean.
And in the hand lies perfectly, well executed.
In China, the price is about 8,000 yuan, which isrubles gives 90 thousand, as for me, the cost is acceptable for such a device, it has no direct competitors at the moment, oddly enough. The diagonal of the internal screen is 7.1 inches, but the figure does not say anything in comparison with other clamshells - it is relatively small (they ate a couple of centimeters of the screen in height). But much more than the same Flip. Many will like this form factor.
It is unclear whether the model will officially appear in Russia. In the meantime, I suggest looking at a few photos from this device, where there is co-branding with Hasselblad for cameras.
- Original photos (zip, 40 MB)
I will slowly prepare a review of this model, I really liked the form factor, there is something in it.
Books. Sam Keen, In the Name of Science.
He told in a video about a book that he read ondays, a good set of facts unknown to me, I think that for you they will be new. Watch the video to understand what the book is about (this phrase somehow sounds funny).
P.S. Have a good working week, may the weatherpleases, but the mood does not fail. The fatigue from winter will gradually pass, the days are getting longer, and the sun is energizing. Since last week, I still have debts on materials that I promised to release, but I got so busy that I didn’t have time. I'll try to fix it this week. See you!
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