Monthly Archives: September 2008

Richard Waters

Several European consumer groups have talked of attacking Apple’s “closed” music system over the past two years: it looks like the first challenge is now at hand.

Chris Nuttall

Nero LiquidTVThe deal Tivo has struck with Nero to bring its DVR interface and software to the PC sounds like a logical step for a service that has been stuck in a box under the television.

But freeing Tivo from the confines of the living room makes less sense when everyone else – Apple, Netflix, Amazon etc -  seems to be heading the opposite way towards that prime location. 

Chris Nuttall

Smallest billboardsLos Angeles is the biggest canvas for the art of the billboard, but the latest kind being deployed by Sony would not make much of an impact at Sunset and Vine.

To promote its forthcoming game LittleBIGPlanet, Sony has been planting probably the smallest billboards in the world all over LA, under palm trees and in public parks, and actually not minding if someone picks one up and takes it home. 

Richard Waters

anna-eshoo.jpgAnother sign the Yahoo/Google pact is on a razor’s edge: a group of 11 House Democrats from California has written to attorney general Michael Mukasey pleading with him not to block the advertising partnership. They’re led by Anna Eshoo (pictured), whose Silicon Valley district encompasses the HQs of both companies. Extract:

“The competitive and disruptive nature of the Internet makes it extraordinarily difficult for any company to dominate. The rapid growth of the market and the increased potential in this space invites more and more competition.” 

Richard Waters

This week’s official outbreak of the Mobile Broadband Wars (see my colleague Chris Nuttall’s description of the rival WiMAX and GSM initiatives to be announced in the next couple of days) has not come soon enough for many consumers.

Demand for high-speed mobile access has already become a big source of new business for Orange, according to Olaf Swantee, head of the French group’s mobile division. I caught up with Swantee when he was in San Francisco last week, and this seemed to be just about the brightest spot for his business right now. One in eight customers signing up for a new Orange account is doing so by buying a laptop computer in one of the company’s stores along with a broadband “dongle”, he said. 

Richard Waters

You have to hand it to Google’s founders: having vowed when they took the company public to make the world a better place, Sergey Brin and Larry Page are not afraid to wrestle with the social implications, even if it takes them in territory that corporate executives generally shun (for good reason – it’s not always wise to take a public stance on something that will antagonise at least part of the workforce.)

Sergey Brin admits in a company blog post that the November ballot proposal in California to ban gay marriage is an “unlikely question” for Google to take a public position. He goes on: 

Chris Nuttall

WiMAXA major skirmish in the battle over competing mobile broadband technologies is set for next week with launch announcements for WiMAX and HSPA.

Dan Hesse, Sprint chief executive, and Sean Maloney, executive vice president of Intel, will be in Baltimore, Maryland for the launch in that city of the first US WiMAX network. 

Chris Nuttall

LivemochaSocial networking can provide the most value when it comes to receiving advice and problem-solving, whether it be someone responding to a Twitter question or checking out a user’s restaurant review on Yelp.

Increasingly, sites are depending on the wisdom of their users to build their businesses, from CrossLoop’s IT support to Trusera and PatientsLikeMe’s health advice and statistics. 

Richard Waters

Plenty of bad blood has been stirred up by Microsoft’s heavy (and pretty effective) lobbying against the Yahoo/Google advertising alliance. The Yahoo/Google camp complains that Microsoft’s influence has been behind much of the chatter (both in the media and among trade associations representing advertisers and publishers) questioning whether the deal should be allowed to go ahead.

This just sounds like sour grapes. Microsoft tried to whip up a campaign like this against the Google/DoubleClick deal as well, but that effort singularly failed. There was simply no wider groundswell of anxiety about that deal. This time it’s different, and if Yahoo/Google hope to win the battle for hearts and minds they will have to do a much better job of explaining their case. 

It looks like Digg is getting serious about beating back some of the competition that has begun to crop up in the social news space. Yesterday, the company that pioneered the user-driven approach to news announced its third funding round, a $28.7bn $28.7m haul led by Highland Capital Partners of nearby Silicon Valley.

The move will double Digg’s coffers, allowing it to double its staff, move to a new headquarters, and expand overseas. Four years after its launch, Digg remains one of the most popular news sites on the web. But its vote-based method for deciding which stories to display on its pages has spread far and wide, with some big media names – most notably Yahoo, with its Yahoo Buzz site - getting in on the act.