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Monthly Archives: August 2007
There is an old kids’ riddle which goes:
Q. When is a door not a door?
A. When it’s ajar. Read more
A search engine for hot concert tickets and a social networking site for silver surfers are among 20 fledgling web businesses selected for a week-long entrepreneurship bootcamp that its founders hope will spawn Europe’s answer to Google.
Seedcamp, which starts on Monday, is billed as an intensive series of events, run by investors, entrepreneurs and experts in marketing, finance and human resources, aimed at equipping European high-technology start-ups with the skills to grow into multi-billion dollar companies.
Call it the winner’s curse. Facebook Platform – a service that allows outside developers to build applications that work on the Facebook social networking site – sparked huge interest when it launched this spring.
The service proved so popular that Facebook almost immediately began receiving complaints that some rogue opportunists were spamming users’ friends with application invites. Power users who installed many applications soon found that their Facebook news feeds – an important source of information about what is going on in their friend networks – were being flooded with application updates. Other users reported isolated cases of developers engaging in deceptive or misleading practices, such as tricking users into inviting friends to join a new application. Read more
The supposed Chinese bid to buy a US disk drive company gets more and more curious. It all started over the weekend, when the New York Times quoted Bill Watkins, ceo of Seagate, as saying that an approach had been made – though he wouldn’t say who had made it, or to whom. For good measure, he added that people were "freaking out" about this in Washington DC, since control of advanced disk drive technology could help the Chinese plunder US secrets.
Since Seagate and Western Digital are the only remaining US disk drive makers (IBM having sold out to Hitachi), and since it was Watkins making these comments in public, this seemed to point a finger directly at Western. Read more
New friend notifications on Facebook, weekly events newsletters, Twitter updates; the list goes on. As web-based services have come to permeate our lives, so too have automated email updates come to permeate our inboxes.
Such messages present a dilemma. They resemble spam in that we are bombarded with them daily. Subscribe to too many web services and you may soon find that such updates are clogging your inbox, just like spam. They are unlike spam, however, in that you actually want to read them, at some point – just not right now. Computer geeks now have a term for this kind of troublesome "non-spam spam": Bacn. As in, bacn is better than spam, but still clogs your inbox. Read more
Colleagues at our sister paper Financial Times Deutschland have unearthed some tantalising details about Apple’s iPhone distribution deals in Europe. FTD reports that T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 of the UK have agreed to hand over 10 per cent of their iPhone service revenues to Apple in exchange for the honour of being the first European mobile networks to partner with Apple on the new mobile handset. Most industry watchers are fairly certain that Apple had struck a similar revenue-sharing deal with AT&T in the US, but today’s story marks the first time that a concrete number has been established.
Assuming that Apple’s 10 per cent cut applies not only in Europe but to its US AT&T deal as well, and further assuming an average monthly iPhone bill of $79.99 (that’s not including overages or roaming charges – which have proved substantial in some cases), Apple could be making an additional $95.88 per handset per year on service revenues on the iPhone. If Apple hits its goal of selling 10m iPhones by the end of 2008, that would mean an extra $950m in service revenues by the end of next year. Not half bad. Read more
There’s a natural cycle in the corporate tech business. Suppliers come up with the latest Big Idea. PR departments promote the heck out of it. Tech journalists, always on the lookout for some shiny new thing, rush to write about it. Sometimes, customers even buy it. Within a couple of years the spotlight moves on to the next Big Idea – and noone stops to ask too much about the ideas that flopped.
"Service-oriented architecture" has been climbing this hype curve for some time. Yet the platforms on which SOA are meant to be built – such as those from Oracle and SAP – are still years from completion. Early adoption rates are very low. This may end up being the new architecture of the software business, but somehow these things have a way of mutating. Few customers bet big on a whole new architecture. In time, the idea is revised and adapted, a new label is found. The PR departments come up with a different slogan. Read more
Watching the Web measurement companies trying to keep pace with changing audience habits on the internet is a bit like watching the credit rating agencies attempting to keep up with the latest trends in sub-prime mortgages: by the time the score-keepers work it out, the rest of the world has pretty much figured out what’s going on.
comScore’s latest stab at defining the internet search market is of interest nonetheless. It has changed its methodology to reflect the fact that many searches these days originate on affiliate sites, not the main search engines themselves, and that internet users often carry out different types of search for the same query by clicking on the "web", "images", "news" and other tabs – something known as "cross-channel search." It has also started to include results for search queries on "vertical" sites like eBay and Amazon. These are the highlights: Read more