Comcast and Verizon: Broadband competitors - Xfinity vs FiOS - but also joined-at-the-hip marketing-mogul allies selling their consumer products and setting prices together?
That's one result of last week's "complete reordering of the competitive universe," in a blockbuster deal by Comcast, TimeWarner Cable and partners to sell Verizon $3.6 billion worth of airwave spectrum, plus a "far greater" marketing "partnership between formerly mortal enemies" (as Bernstein Research's Craig Moffett told clients) that will have Verizon marketing Comcast Xfinity and other cable-based products at hundreds of Verizon stores nationwide (competing Verizon FiOS Internet only covers one-seventh of the USA; the rest is potential joint-venture country).
"The marketing machine that is Verizon wireless" will now be "a marketing engine" for Comcast cable Internet, video and voice, Moffett cites Comcast boss Brian L. Roberts projecting. Moffett expects, for example, special-priced fancy Verizon smartphones for Comcast triple-play customers, starting soon.
Or not so fast: There's a 20% chance the spectrum deal will get shot down by the Federal Communications Commission; there's a 60% chance the marketing marriage gets killed by the FCC, writes Kevin Smithen, analyst at Macquarie (USA) Equities Research, in a report to clients.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's new-edition Xbox360, starting tomorrow, will add "cloud storage, more social network integration, Bing voice search," plus Internet Protocol (IP) TV offerings from HBO, Comcast Xfinity, Verizon's FiOs," writes Janney Capital Markets' Tony Wible. More proof that "content will find ways to reach the consumer," and threaten to turn traditional cable TV service into a "commodity."