This column was originally published on RealMoney on July 28 at 10:09 a.m. EDT.
The arms race is heating up, big-time. After five years in which technological proliferation seemed to have ground to a halt, we now have a raging war on our hands among the big service providers, the
, and the winners are the suppliers and the customers, even as the providers themselves keep losing.
When companies like
, which makes cable equipment, and
, which makes broadband equipment, report blowout numbers, that's because of the arms race. When
blow the numbers away, that's the arms race. When the
do well, that, too, is the arms race, the attempt to get the consumer to stick with one provider vs. churning to another.
Who cares? Although I do believe that cable has the upper hand.
I keep talking about this
technology bull market. At the heart of it is the need for well-capitalized companies like Verizon and
and Comcast to keep their customers from migrating to another service. Churn is the enemy right now; you can't be seen losing customers, hard-won customers. But you can't keep them unless you offer the best DVRs, the best speed and the best reception. Without it, you will lose.
That's the arms race. After years of all of these service providers being strapped, they now are in fighting trim, and they are making something happen, for you and for the tech companies. Not for themselves.
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