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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 10-Q on 08/09/2016|
demands and distinguish our services from those of our competitors. We may not be able to accurately predict technological trends or the success of new products and services. If we choose technologies or equipment that are less effective, cost-efficient or attractive to customers than those chosen by our competitors, if we offer services that fail to appeal to consumers, are not available at competitive prices or that do not function as expected, or we are not able to fund the expenditures necessary to keep pace with technological developments, our competitive position could deteriorate, and our business and financial results could suffer.
The ability of some of our competitors to introduce new technologies, products and services more quickly than we do may adversely affect our competitive position. Furthermore, advances in technology, decreases in the cost of existing technologies or changes in competitors’ product and service offerings may require us in the future to make additional research and development expenditures or to offer at no additional charge or at a lower price certain products and services that we currently offer to customers separately or at a premium. In addition, the uncertainty of our ability, and the costs, to obtain intellectual property rights from third parties could impact our ability to respond to technological advances in a timely and effective manner.
The implementation of our network-based user interface, Spectrum Guide, and downloadable security necessary for our Worldbox set-top box strategy, may ultimately be unsuccessful or more expensive than anticipated. In order to realize the benefits of our Worldbox technology, we must implement our downloadable conditional access security in our regional video networks. Our inability to maintain and expand our upgraded systems and provide advanced services such as a state of the art user interface in a timely manner, or to anticipate the demands of the marketplace, could materially adversely affect our ability to attract and retain customers. Consequently, our growth, financial condition and results of operations could suffer materially.
We depend on third party service providers, suppliers and licensors; thus, if we are unable to procure the necessary services, equipment, software or licenses on reasonable terms and on a timely basis, our ability to offer services could be impaired, and our growth, operations, business, financial results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We depend on a limited number of third party service providers, suppliers and licensors to supply some of the services, hardware, software and operational support necessary to provide some of our services. Some of our hardware, software and operational support vendors, and service providers represent our sole source of supply or have, either through contract or as a result of intellectual property rights, a position of some exclusivity. If any of these parties breaches or terminates its agreement with us or otherwise fails to perform its obligations in a timely manner, demand exceeds these vendors’ capacity, they experience operating or financial difficulties, they significantly increase the amount we pay for necessary products or services, or they cease production of any necessary product due to lack of demand, profitability or a change in ownership or are otherwise unable to provide the equipment or services we need in a timely manner, at our specifications and at reasonable prices, our ability to provide some services might be materially adversely affected, or the need to procure or develop alternative sources of the affected materials or services might delay our ability to serve our customers. In addition, the existence of only a limited number of vendors of key technologies can lead to less product innovation and higher costs. These events could materially and adversely affect our ability to retain and attract customers and our operations, business, financial results and financial condition.
Our cable systems have historically been restricted to using one of two proprietary conditional access security systems, which we believe has limited the number of manufacturers producing set-top boxes for such systems. As an alternative, Charter has developed a conditional access security system which may be downloaded into set-top boxes with features we specify that could be provided by a variety of manufacturers. We refer to our specified set-top box as our Worldbox. In order to realize the benefits of our Worldbox technology, we must now implement the conditional access security system across our video network. We cannot provide assurances that this implementation will ultimately be successful or completed in the expected timeframe or at the expected budget.
Our business may be adversely affected if we cannot continue to license or enforce the intellectual property rights on which our business depends.
We rely on patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws and licenses and other agreements with our employees, customers, suppliers and other parties to establish and maintain our intellectual property rights in technology and the products and services used in our operations. Also, because of the rapid pace of technological change, we both develop our own technologies, products and services and rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties. However, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged or invalidated, or such intellectual property rights may not be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current industry trends or otherwise to provide competitive advantages, which could result in costly redesign efforts, discontinuance of certain product or service offerings or other competitive harm. We may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses from these third parties on reasonable terms, if at all. In addition, claims of intellectual property infringement could require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements on unfavorable terms, incur substantial monetary liability or be enjoined preliminarily or permanently from further use of the intellectual property in question, which could require us to change our business practices or offerings and limit our ability to compete effectively. Even unsuccessful claims can be time-consuming and costly to defend and