retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Talk about benchmarks in the technological evolution.

• The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports on the Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co., described as “the last company in the world” to manufacture a once-ubiquitous piece of equipment - the typewriter.

According to the story, Godrej & Boyce actually stopped making typewriters in 2009 - and at the moment, has only 500 left in stock. Which is something of a change considering that at its peak in the 1990’s, the company was making 50,000 a year.

“But that's where we find ourselves,” the PI writes, “with only 500 new typewriters left in the world. If you want one, they cost up to 12,000 rupees, about $270, not counting shipping from India.”

• Meanwhile, USA Today reports on a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, which says that 26.6 percent of US homes has only a cellphone, up from 13.6 percent just four years ago, which means that, in the words of one analyst, “the phrase 'home telephone number' is going the way of rotary dial phones and party lines.”

Here’s the interesting part - low income homes are more likely to not have landlines, because giving them up in favor of just cell service is seen as one way of saving money. In addition, renters are more likely not to bother with traditional landline service.

And it probably is even more dramatic than the study suggests, since one factor not addressed in the story is how many people with landlines are actually using VoIP (Voice over IP) telephone services provided by cable companies, and not phone companies.

Benchmarks in the evolution. Always Eye-Openers, especially for people who make think they are selling indispensable products, and operating with unassailable business models.
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