FCC Filings Can Guide Consumer Decisions and Provide Insight about Competitor’s Products

Before selling new communication devices, companies must seek certification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is a government agency responsible for regulating communications in the United States, so these filings are made available as public records in a searchable database on the FCC website. This reveals potentially sensitive technology and exposes new products before they can be purchased. Other companies can use this information to find out what their competitors are developing, and new products are quickly publicized as a popular topic in technology blogs. These blogs can sway consumer buying decisions by notifying them of upcoming new products or upgrades to existing products. According to the PS3News blog, Sony attempted to deter competition by submitting two FCC filings for its PlayStation 3 Slim product under a company named "Sand Dollar Enterprise, Inc." However, the blog found that Sand Dollar is headed by Sony's general counsel. While the initial model of the PS3 Slim had already been publicly announced, a second filing describes another version with twice as much storage capacity. Speculation on this suggests that a premium model will be available for a higher price in time for the holidays; some consumers may use this knowledge to postpone their purchase until the higher capacity PS3 Slim is on the market.