Quick, name three PDA brands.
Palm? Check. Blackberry? Check. Sony? Uncheck.
If you guessed HP, good for you. If you guessed Dell, even more props.
Yes, Dell is in fact in the top 5 of PDA market leaders.
Sony isn't, which is probably why they've decided to discontinue development. Definitely not due to any lack of features. This to me speaks of the power of the distributor (as well as the decline of branding for CE devices).
Then along comes this article from the NYTimes regarding Walmart. Fascinating read on the importance of the data they gather, and how Walmart utilizes it.
Eventually, some experts say, Wal-Mart will use its technology to institute what is called scan-based trading, in which manufacturers own each product until it is sold.
"Wal-Mart will never take those products onto its books," said Bruce Hudson, a retail analyst at the Meta Group, an information technology consulting firm in Stamford, Conn. "If you think of the impact of shedding $50 billion of inventory, that is huge."
Again, the power of the distributor - the "window" to the customer. Everyone/thing else - even if providing the actual product being purchased - is at the behest.
The privacy issue reminds me of a Jiffylube commercial I saw while on business in D.C. last week. A mid-twenties male and his girlfriend are dropping off their car to get a checkup, and the mechanic praises the new Jiffylube system of knowing exactly what needs to be checked, changed, etc., even knowing last time they did it. "I see you had your last oil-checkup with us in Las Vegas," he says, in effect. "Vegas? You were in Las Vegas?" responds the girlfriend, to her stunned boyfriend. In retrospect, perhaps not the best ad Jiffy should be using :)