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Ven Reddy

Any startup that wants to launch a consumer device, no matter how innovate it is, needs to study the trials and tribulations of Sonicblue and TiVO. In addition to the "hidden" costs don't forget the lightening-quick copycats.

-Ven

Matt Kursh

The notion that companies get to choose where they sit in the value chain based on how much money they'd like to make is the key flaw here, IMO. Market dynamics, brand elasticity, risk profiles, corporate power, and - most importantly - customer preference often limit a company's choices as to what role in plays in a business segment.

Consider outsourced manufacturers like Flextronics, who manufactures Xbox for MSFT. Certainly, Microsoft would _prefer_ to have the margin that Flextronics takes on each unit (particular since MSFT's is negative ;-), and MSFT has the cash to buy any expertise needed to become a hardware manufacturer. But, for a number of reasons, it makes the most sense for Microsoft to outsource.

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