Monthly Archives: March 2008

Facebook’s users are bound to be excited by news that the social network is planning to roll out its own chat service in the coming weeks; Facebook developers, perhaps not so much.

There are dozens of developers offering chat applications designed to run on the Facebook platform. Facebook’s decision to get into the chat business for itself means those developers will now have to grapple with an 800 lb gorilla in the room, sucking up all the air Read more

Richard Waters

vista-sp1.jpg  More than a year after the launch of Windows Vista, the first big upgrade is at hand (there’s no official word yet from Microsoft, but is offering the new, improved version for shipment tomorrow.)

Microsoft must be hoping the arrival of Service Pack 1 will mark a turning-point for one of its most troubled big software releases. After years of delay and a redesign that stripped some of the original core features out of the operating system, Windows Vista finally arrived with a slick “glass” interface and a whole bundle of glitchesRead more

Richard Waters

flash.jpg When Macromedia first tried to charge mobile phone companies for the privilege of carrying its Flash player for viewing video, even its own executives were surprised by their success. After all, the PC version of the player had always been free. That helped to attract a large number of eyeballs to the player, which in turn meant the company could sell software to creative types who wanted to produce content in Flash (that is the same business model behind Acrobat, the free PDF document reader supplied by Adobe, which went on to buy Macromedia.) Surprise, surprise: it turned out that mobile companies were actually prepared to pay for the player as well.

So when Steve Jobs bad-mouthed mobile Flash earlier this month it sounded very much like a heavy-handed attempt at public negotiation. The current version of the software is not up to scratch yet and won’t be appearing on the iPhone, according to the Apple boss (as my colleague Chris Nuttall wrote here last week, the lack of Flash is one reason third-party developers are sounding luke-warn about their new ability to write applications for the iPhone.) When I spoke to Gary Kovacs, Adobe’s vice president of mobile products, at the end of last week he was tight-lipped about relations with Apple but still managed to hint heavily that this was really about price rather than technical competence: negotiations with Apple are ongoing. Read more

Chris Nuttall

iPhone SDKAfter the acclamation, for Apple opening up its iPhone to outside applications, comes the anxiety.

Developers were expressing concern today at what they saw as a poorly-worded email from Apple that could be read as suggesting many were being left out of the iPhone developer programme for the foreseeable future. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Gibson patent diagramYou’ve probably heard of Guitar Hero, the best selling game from Activision that puts a guitar-shaped peripheral in gamers’ hands and lets them play along to well known rock songs.

Guitar Hero has surpassed $1bn in retail sales in North America, sold 16m units worldwide, enlivened countless parties and prompted Guitar Hero nights comparable to karaoke ones in clubs and bars across America. Read more

Richard Waters

platform.jpg Steve Ballmer has a certain inimitable style (I use the term loosely.) This recapitulation of his famous “monkey dance”, delivered last week on a stage in Las Vegas, has Microsoft insiders squirming, but at least it makes a point. The software company now has its sights set on building a technology platform for Web developers, not just the software developers commemorated in Ballmer’s original 2001 outburst.

Google has a quieter way of doing these things, but make no mistake: there is a fight brewing here for hearts and minds. This battle will determine which vision wins out for the next stage in the internet’s evolution as a computing platform. Read more

Richard Waters

Tim Armstrong Google appears to be confirming – at least unofficially - Wall Street’s fear that its advertising is not recession-proof after all. This is Tim Armstrong, head of advertising in the US, when asked at a Bear Stearns conference today how search advertising performs in an economic slowdown:

“It does reflect the macroeconomic environment… From a macroeconomic viewpoint, people do search what’s on their mind and what they’re thinking about” (Translation: if they’re tightening their belts, they’ll probably do fewer searches for the latest hot gadgets.) Read more

Richard Waters

Nick Carr has been wondering whether Microsoft is about to embark on some “vast data center push” that will advance it much faster down the road towards cloud computing.

Not so, says Ray Ozzie. When I spoke to him last week, Microsoft’s chief software architect was nothing if not ambitious (one day, he said, “most major enterprises and many, many, many independent developers will be running their services in our datacentres” - this is the report of the conversation.) But this is what he had to say about the pace at which those datacentres will get built: Read more

Chris Nuttall

ZivityThe investors in San Francisco start-up Zivity would prefer to think they are funding the next wave of social networking rather than an online peepshow.

Zivity, which serves up photo-shoots of scantily clad and tastefully nude women for subscribers paying $10 a month, is announcing its second-round funding today and has raised $7m from some prominent venture capitalists. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel AtomLife begins at 40 goes the saying and Intel yesterday outlined a new life for itself as it celebrates its 40th birthday on July 16th this year.

From mid-year, the company expects to be making major strides with its Silverthorne microprocessor, now branded AtomRead more