Monthly Archives: March 2007

Edwards_podium Rudy Giuliani on MySpace, Barack Obama on Flickr and Hillary Clinton on Twitter (no updates yet, Hillary, what gives?); presidential candidates from across the political spectrum are rushing to web 2.0 sites to spread their message, but none moreso than John Edwards. 

According to this handy chart, Mr Edwards’s campaign is active on 25 different web communities, from mainstays like YouTube and MySpace to less well known sites like and hi5. That is five times the number of sites of his next-closest competitors in the 2008 race.  Read more

Roosevelt_hotel For all the attention focused on Microsoft’s potential acquisition of DoubleClick, there’s one key wrinkle that has been overlooked – at least, that’s what Mark Cuban thinks.

One of our intrepid reporters caught up with the baseball owner and Scourge of YouTube at the bar of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. According to Cuban, DoubleClick’s real value to Microsoft may be that it serves ads for YouTube. As a result, it could give Bill Gates and company a privileged view into Google’s efforts to commercialise the site (though $2bn sounds a lot to pay for that inside look.) Read more

Bmw_7_series John Rodman, Xbox group product manager, has a car analogy for the new Elite addition to the 360 family.

“Think of BMW with its 3, 5 and 7 Series, we are now adding the 7 series,” he said. Read more

Here is another bit of technology that Europeans do well: corporate websites.

FT Digital Business is on Wednesday publishing a new index of corporate websites, evaluating these on how well they serve various groups such as customers, investors, members of the press, jobseekers and society in general.  Read more

Tinkerers have begun to take apart Apple’s new Apple TV set-top box to have a look at its guts. The results suggest that there is much more to the Apple TV than meets the eye.

From the outside, Apple TV resembles a big iPod. Like an iPod, it is intended to be used to store and play back (or in some cases stream) content downloaded directly from iTunes.  Read more

Googleboys The Silicon Valley moneymen are cutting their ties to Google. Last week came news that Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital is stepping down from the board. Now the San Jose Mercury News reports that John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins has sold 1.1m shares (slightly more than 200,000 of which were sold on behalf of Kleiner clients.)

On the face of it, there doesn’t look to be anything too unusual about any of this – after all, Google has been a public company for more than two and a half years. The early investors need to cash in sometime. Read more

Sakila_the_dolphin Those who complain that Europe doesn’t produce enough big and ambitious technology companies should look for a moment at MySQL, the open source database company, started by two Swedes and a Finn.

  Read more

Twittervision Keeping this short. The new style. Microblogging for the lazy. Say it in 140 characters or less on Twitter or keep a scrapbook in Tumblr.

Tabblo, the latest addition to Hewlett-Packard’s photo printing portfolio, is an interesting case study of how computer and printer maker is trying to branch out from its inkjet and laserjet roots in search of new growth.

Tabblo, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a nifty little web site that lets users take photos from their computers or from any number of other photo sites like Flickr, and turn them into products like posters, coffee mugs, and the like.  Read more

Tv NBC and News Corp have come up with their response to YouTube: don’t wait for the audience to come to you, find a reason for all the big internet distributors to carry your TV shows. However, their new joint venture for online distribution leaves at least five important questions unanswered:

1. What share of the ad revenues have they had to give up to persuade Yahoo! et al to give their video player a position of prominence? The big Web networks are amassing big video libraries of their own: will they give pride of place to old media shows, and how much will they charge for the privelege? Read more

Cod3 A sign of changing times in the video game industry is that audience reach is becoming talked about as well as unit sales.

Until now, publishers’ interest in statistics ended at the checkout. They wanted million-selling games, and unit sales just about summed up their revenues. Read more

Appletv Apple TV is out, and the tech-heads are weighing in from across the blogosphere. In spite of a glowing review this morning by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, there is a fair amount of skepticism about Apple’s attempt at a home media device.

Thomas Hawk’s list of ten gripes includes a lack of ability to stream content from anything other than iTunes (no YouTube, for example) and the lack of a built-in DVD player.  Read more

In an intriguing exploration of the value placed on virtual life, a Chinese company has effectively held internet game characters hostage: demanding players give up their virtual goods or, get this, donate their real blood if they want to continue to play.

Moli Group recently froze the accounts of 30,000 players of its massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) title "Cabal" that it believed guilty of such abuses as using automated sub-routines to generate virtual wealth. Read more

Bigband_2 It seems that Wall Street’s new passion for technology IPOs has not been a casualty of the risk-aversion that has been spreading out from the sub-prime lending market.

Case in point: BigBand Networks, a supplier of technology to cable companies, which made its debut late last week. In keeping with the new fashion of the times, this nine-year-old Silicon Valley company had yet to turn a profit when it filed to go public late last year. It’s annualised revenues only reached $150m. Yet three days into its life as a public company, BigBand’s stock has jumped by more than 30 per cent, giving it a value just shy of $1bn. Read more

Galleryplayerscreen Creators of expensive high-definition video and TV channels may be dismayed to learn that the second most popular HD channel on the Comcast cable network is made up entirely of still pictures.
GalleryPlayer’s channel is second only to the ESPN sports channel in the ratings, although the Seattle company admits its viewers may not always have their eyes on the screen.
It believes it has created a new category, which Kevin Akeroyd, chief executive, labeled as “HD Lifestyle Imagery” when I spoke to him on the fringes of the TV of Tomorrow show in San Francisco this week.
Consumers want to have some kind of visual muzak to show on their big-screen HDTVs when they host parties rather than have the equivalent of a black hole in their wall.
GalleryPlayer has negotiated rights with picture libraries and museums to create tasteful high-definition slideshows from the Art of Claude Monet to pictures of great golf course and 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.
After the considerable start-up costs of acquiring images and the technology to ensure correct formatting, the company expects to be making profits by next year.
It is exploiting numerous distribution methods – PC screensavers distributed through Google Pack and Windows Media Center, DVD sales of images, channels on HD providers such as Comcast and hotel channels.
Moving images will be next. Don’t expect any live sports action, said Mr Akeroyd, but burning log fires, aquaria and spectacular waterfalls are expected to be just as popular with his big-screen customers.

Halo3 So why did Sony’s PlayStation 2 outsell its technically far superior successor by more than two-to-one in the US last month?

The answer is easy: price. Read more

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has blown the whistle on what it says is a sinister plot by Hollywood studios to take control of digital televison in Europe.

According  to the EFF, new product standards being developed by the Digital Video Broadcasting project would limit customers’ ability to record and store digitally broadcast films and television shows by introducing strict digital rights management into the next generation of IP TV devices. Read more

Createchannelsnow YouTube may still be hogging the headlines but, in other news, more internet video channels are on the way. launched this week with a channel model designed to provide a more personalised and organised online video experience. Read more

Telephone There are two interesting aspects to Microsoft’s acquisition of voice technology company Tellme today (Business Week has an interesting pre-acquisition piece on the company here.)

One is that Microsoft is competing harder for hot young start-ups. This is a company that might easily have gone in the past to Google, which has tended to be far more aggressive in buying into promising new ideas. Steve Ballmer laid out the importance of acquisitions to Microsoft on a trip to Silicon Valley last year, and the results are starting to show. Read more

Janus_friis "Some things have to stay the same."

Janus Friis is one of the last people in the world you would expect to say that. He and Niklas Zennstrom, inventors of Kazaa and Skype, have come to symbolise the disruptive power of the internet. Read more