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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:28 am

Why do Broadcom support Raspberry Pi?
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not complaining, pleased in fact, just puzzled.
The employees of Broadcom, and the members of its board, can and do make personal decisions based on philanthropy. But business decisions can only be made on the basis of profit.
Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Morrison, Budgens all know that their customers such as me base their buying decisions at least partially on their, the supermarket chains', charitable support. That gives me some power to influence them.
But Broadcom's customers are big phone manufacturers. And they, like any company, and indeed the supermarket chains, are - must be - solely concerned with their shareholders. The supermarket chains only support charities because their customers' buying decisions affect their profits. When I next buy a phone, I may well base my choice in part on whether the manufacturer supports a charity, but will that be affected by whether a particular phone uses a Broadcom chip - if indeed I could find that out? Knowing this, the manufacturer will base its decision solely on cost / performance, and so Broadcom's support of Raspberry Pi cannot affect its profits in a positive way.
Perhaps someone in Broadcom's PR department could answer me.
And yes, if I could find out, I probably would buy a phone that used a Broadcom chip. But only if I could find out.

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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:34 am

There's an apostrophe missing in the title. Sorry

kme
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:14 am

Why do Broadcom support Raspberry Pi?
But do they? Broadcom allowed some of it's staff access to documentation and information about their chips and drivers so they can make raspi in their free time - not company time. I originally thought so too, but Liz corrected me on this.

jamesh
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:34 am

Yes, they do support the project,in more ways that just letting their engineers work on it. There is the cheap price of the 2835, which would normally be more expensive in the quantities Raspi need them. They don't make a loss, but they don't make as much as they could. There are also other areas of contribution I won't go in to.

They do get some benefit, good press, and community support for the Arm side. They also get a cheap development platform for one of their chips - the full blown DK for a 2835 is considerably more expensive (but does has more bits!).

It's a good deal for both sides.
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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:42 pm

I take your point(s), but how does "good press" work? Does Nokia / Samsung / Motorola say to themselves "We like them for supporting Raspberry Pi so we'll use their chips"? Or do they say "we saw their name on the Red Bull F1 car so we'll use their chips"? or do they say "We've looked at what their chips do, they do what we want at a price we can afford, so we'll use 'em".
If I were a shareholder I might complain about them using my money to support something else, particularly if I were a pension fund, with a responsibility to my pensioners. Of course I'm not a shareholder (unless my pension is being paid by a fund with shares in Broadcom, which is kinda difficult to find out!) so all I can do is ... what?

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:09 pm

I figured Broadcom won in the following ways:

1) Increased chip consumption. Having another sales channel to consume products(chips) is Good. I've not seen the numbers curve for Set Top Boxes, I would think by now it has started to mature into the replacement only stage of growth.

2) In a few years; more knowledgeable programmers will result in a deeper pool of developers to choose from, costs per developer will be less, and more projects completed in less time (yes, I know about the Mythical man Month issues).

3) 3rd party spin-off products will result from R-Pi seeds. Just look at all the ideas on the forum.

4) Marketing should be tapping into the R-Pi forum as a source for new chip features and desires.

Disclaimer: I'm just expressing my thoughts and ideas. I am not in anyway related to Broadcom or the RaspberryPi Foundation, other than as an interested 3rd party.

jamesh
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:17 pm

Broadcom have a number of different charitable ventures - Google for them - this is just another one. That in fact doesn't cost them anything.

I'm a shareholder BTW, and don't have a problem with the charitable side.

Broadcom are one of the few high tech companies who provide a dividend btw.
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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:50 pm

Maybe I should buy shares in Broadcom. Though maybe not - I bought into Channel Tunnel, look what happened to them. Also several banks just before they nose-dived

obarthelemy
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:56 pm

1- it costs them nothing (well they look he other way when machines keep running past business hours, and employees come back tired from week-end shows ^^)
2- it is indeed good PR
3- It's a nice thing to do, which, believe it or not, some companies care about

PS you can Edit your post, link right below its title bar, to add the apostrophe.

MarkSmith
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:12 am

Does it matter if there is a commercial undertone? We get cheap tools, Broadcom get a larger pool to recruit from and a heap of clever stuff that can be given away with their products.

If they suddenly decide to change direction, someone else will fill the gap. Microchip are starting to feel the loss of the student market to Atmel because of the Arduino, even though Microchip are still very generous with free samples to students.

Students and makers/hackers like cheap systems with community support. If it turns out that Broadcom are exploiting this, so what? Who are the losers?

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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:53 am

Does it matter if there is a commercial undertone? I think it does - in fact there must be! No company can do anything without a positive effect on its shareholers' pockets - it only exists to line its shareholders' pockets. So in the supermarkets case I, the customer, can influence the companies by consciously choosing to preferentialy buy from those supermarkets that support the charities I like. Essentially, I can reward the supermarket for its Altruism.
But since I don't understand how altruism can work for a company whose customers are other companies and therefore cannot be altruistic, I cannot influence them in any way. Hence this thread.

PS I tried to edit the title, but all I could edit was the rest of the post!

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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:40 pm

So what are the problems you see with 'commercial undertones'?

As I see if (but then I work for Broadcom so must therefore be slightly biased) Raspberry Pi get more out this deal than Broadcom do, but Broadcom do get something - as a minimum they get the income from the sale of the 2825. If they didn't sell the SoC to Raspi at the low price, then they wouldn't sell it to at all. They don't sell at a loss.
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fdufnews
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:24 pm

Raspberry Pi get more out this deal than Broadcom do, but Broadcom do get something - as a minimum they get the income from the sale of the 2825
Of course. But this deal also gives Broadcom the (good) image of a company involved in a charity business. More, there is a lot of buzz around the Raspi so the brand name of Broadcom logically appears on all the blogs and forums that are talking about Raspi. I think that, for Broadcom, it is a near free advertisement campain. The community will make applications that could later be integrated in set top boxes using Broadcom chips.

MarkSmith
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:40 pm

Well, let’s say that Raspberry Pi are pulling an Ubuntu and taking the (probably) the only main stream, non commercial version of Linux, DebIan and commercialising from it, with their hardware under a community banner. What’s the impact?

Other (commercial) 32 bit ARM development boards may take a hit in sales. If that’s the price of getting computer science back into the bedroom UK children I’ll support it every time, as the governments ITC program isn’t going to do it. Plus, no other 32bit Arm board are pushing in that direction.

Did Ubuntu hit DebIan hard? I would say yes but I also feel that it harmed itself more, as with Gnome by not levelling out the learning curve with dedicated desktop addition back in 2000 and giving Windows XP a run for its money. Although I suspect there are other reason why this didn’t happen.

Arduino was developed for the same purpose, an education tools. Was it commercialised? Yes. Is it a bad thing? People that made a living from the Microchip PIC market and the BasicStamp may think so but the modular additions that were brought in for the Arduino such as Ethernet benefitted the end user no end.

Software such as PureData + GEM is certainly going to benefit from this platform as will the people using it, as with a cheap, MIDI to USB converter and a couple of extra sensors it will allow them to go into directions that they never thought possible for £50 and a TV.

The community will make applications that could later be integrated in set top boxes using Broadcom chips.

And my router is cheaper because there is no propriety OS licence to pay for.

As with James I’m very interested in what problem there is with a 'commercial undertone'. Both sides benefit, what more would you want?

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:51 pm

As someone with Commercial Undertone intentions, my company will add value to the product and reach groups that the R-Pi Foundation may not reach with their limited resources and channels. Will my company make a profit in doing the work, if it doesn't it will not stay in business. The same holds true for the Foundation. Parts may be purchased at billion unit pricing, they are still being purchased, not given away for free. Currently people are giving of themselves; time and talents. At some point, paid full-time workers will have to be on the payroll of the Foundation. I expect these people will be office, admin, wherehouse and shipping, not the designers and programmers now working on the models. These first two R-Pi models are gifts from the people involved right now. Will they keep giving forever? I expect not. Not at the levels they have been giving, esp. not if gratitude is not shown by the many that Bitch & Whine about what has being offered to them. We need to begin thinking about Crowd Sourcing the next models and add-on ideas. Then maybe the current developers can become Mentors to the next generation. The Foundation could use these Crowd Sourced plans for the future models.

My focus is upon educational and training products, not all of which teach FOR ... NEXT & IF ... THEN ... ELSE ... ENDIF. The products will be in the spirit of learning, self improvement and knowledge. What about, in our view, the economically disadvantaged, where this might be the only computer in the house or village? Should the priority be to teach Comp-Sci, or offer an interactive helping hand to improve their condition? Now in a remote village, in addition to a single cell-phone available for rent per call, there could be a single R-Pi info data center. What if the system is used to preserve the language and knowledge of the Elders for future generations? Or even used Now to teach what what many have forgotten?

To paraphrase the APPLE slogan: "The Computer for the rest of us" (1984)

Let us make "Raspberry Pi - for the rest of the world." happen.

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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:07 pm

I'm still puzzled, though somewhat less so, now (and I still can't put the apostrophe in).
Just to make plain, I admire all you people who are giving for free your time and expertise to something worthwhile. I am also grateful to Broadcom for allowing this to happen.
As a side note, on the front page there is a list of supporters, with one entry - University of Cambridge, should we be thanking them as well for their support? - Broadcom is not in that list, even though they seem to be THE main commercial supporter!
If I were a CEO of a phone maker that used these chips, I would be hassling the foundation and Broadcom to be allowed to use a label such as "using the Broadcom chip as used in the RaspberryPi". Though with my financial record my company would have gone down the tubes long before this.

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:23 pm

@Burngate - Look at a photo of the prototype boards. Silk screened on every ARM chip it has Broadcom in plain view.

Which just raised the question: With the RAM chip on top of the Processor chip, the Broadcom logo will be hidden. Broadcom will need an Inside sticker somewhere.

Does Broadcom have an Audio Logo? Could it be played as the Startup Tone?

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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:07 pm

I was going to use the Crazy Frog ...
Just had a look ... Broadcom silk-screened on the board. Can't read what's on the RAM.
Still ... how can Broadcom leverage this into more sales to phone-makers? Which phone should I buy to help this?

obarthelemy
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:13 pm

Yep burngate, sorry, Liz confirmed the forum doesn't allow apostrophes in the title.

I could make a post about it titled "I'm thinking there's issues with this stinkin' Mingle", but ...

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Burngate
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Re: I?m puzzled

Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:21 pm

So I can't start a thread about Gerard 't Hooft or the asteroid 9491 Thooft and its constitution (http://www.staff.science.uu.nl.....ution.html)
Or about anyone called #&'! '96 (article 4 of the above)

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Re: I?m puzzled

Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:14 am

One other benifit to Broadcom that noone has mentioned is keeping it's employees happy. Some companies seem to forget that happy employees are more productive and are less likely to look for work elsewhere.

While sales of some ARM development boards may decrease, I'd expect that overall ARM sales would increase due to the R-pi. It's the non-ARM high-end microcontrolers and low-end system board market (mini-itx, etc) that I would expect to loose.

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:01 am

Quote from Burngate on October 16, 2011, 18:07
Still ... how can Broadcom leverage this into more sales to phone-makers? Which phone should I buy to help this?

From the features of this chip, I think this part is for TV Set Top Boxes, not for the cellphone market. If it was for cellphones, then a LCD display would be a lot simpler for the R-Pi models to control.

As for leveraging more sales of Broadcom parts; they are opening a new market segment, the under $50.00 USD personal computer running Linux. Being first in the market place with their part, gives them a powerful first to market advantage. Should someone like Roku (a set top box maker) jump into this new market, Roku competes with Raspberry Pi Foundation product, not with Broadcom on chips. It will take another chip house, pushing an other SoC, to take the parts business away from Broadcom.

Damn! Might be a good idea to invest in Broadcom & ARM stock. Maybe even Flash card makers, as each R-Pi will have two, if not more Flash cards each.

Remember you read it here first.

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:20 am

Quote from obarthelemy on October 16, 2011, 18:13
Liz confirmed the forum doesn't allow apostrophes in the title.

Nor does it allow apostrophes in User Names. My user name should read:

Bac'an.

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ukscone
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Re: I?m puzzled

Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:57 am

Quote from obarthelemy on October 16, 2011, 18:13
Liz confirmed the forum doesn't allow apostrophes in the title.


you can cheat and have a character that "looks" like an apostrophe. unicode U+02BC is a reasonable look alike in the apostrophe family

Bacan
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Re: I?m puzzled

Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:08 am

UKscone: I should look up UniCode for the accented "a" in Bac'an.

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