With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicking off tomorrow in Las Vegas, Nevada we are witnessing one more example of the convergence of technology, information and entertainment.
With the exit of Comdex from the scene, CES is now the place that information and entertainment device manufacturers can showcase their "coming attractions." You know convergence is happening when Ed Whitacre – not perceived as the most public of corporate chairman – shows up on the agenda as "Industry Insider."
Couple Whitacre's presentation with a slew of public annoucements from SBC about bundles of communciations, Internet and entertainment services, it is obvious SBC is working hard to communicate to Wall Street and the industry in general that it is much more than the provider of the "last mile" of copper wire. It's no wonder SBC wants to shed its old skin – its stock price advanced a mere 3 percent during 2004 against over 9 percent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and over 55 percent for Yahoo!.
The question of where SBC is headed is clear, the path SBC takes and the way it maneuvers around the potholes along the way will determine whether SBC can re-cast itself as a major player in the coverged world or will it be simply another case of a former monopoly unable to shed its true skin.