Monthly Archives: January 2009

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David Gelles

streetview.JPG

Discovering the many odd, amusing and unfortunate moments captured by Google Street View has become something of a sport for online voyeurs.

Just this week, eagle-eyed users spotted a South Dakota man toting a rifle in public, and a gent in Melbourne using the loo.

Also this week, a now infamous series of images emerged capturing one of the Google Street View cars hitting a deer in upstate New York.   (Google apologized and the images were removed.)

Add to this list a series of incredible Street View scenes from one road in Pittsburgh. All along Sampsonia Way, amazing random events seem to be taking place. Read more

  • Defying the grim global economy, Amazon.com reported a terrific fourth quarter, with profit up 9 per cent and sales up 18 per cent. The online retailer attracted customers with low prices and free shipping, and continues to benefit from the buzz surrounding its Kindle e-reader, the second version of which is expected on February 9. Amazon shares were up 13 per cent in after hours trading.
  • Other tech companies were not so lucky. Sony and Toshiba both reported losses, as the slowdown in consumer spending continues to hit the electronics industry particularly hard. Even Nintendo, recently buoyed by strong sales of the Wii, has the jitters. It cut its full year profit forecast by 33 per cent as a strong yen looks set to erode earnings.

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Richard Waters

dead-parrot-sketch.jpgMatt Rosoff, writing on Cnet today, reports Microsoft’s increasingly irrelevant claim that the Zune is not dead – at least, not yet.

It’s irrelevant because, given the latest disastrous sales numbers, it’s now clear that the moment for the Zune device to make any sort of impact in the digital music business has passed. The battle over digital music is moving on. Read more

  • The weak economy and plummeting advertising revenue has prompted AOL to cut 700 jobs. The news comes shortly after Google wrote down its 2005 investment of $1bn in AOL. Once valued at $20 billion, Google’s new valuation puts AOL at $5.5bn. Kara Swisher, who broke the story, has chief executive Randy Falco’s memo to AOL staffers.
  • In Davos, Vladimir Putin gave Michael Dell a public smack-down. After Dell asked “how can we help” expand IT in Russia, Putin replied: “We don’t need help. We are not invalids. We don’t have limited mental capacity.”

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  • The senior management team that must run Apple in Steve Jobs’ absence is now complete. Mark Papermaster will soon be free to join as the top hardware engineer for devices like the iPod and iPhone, following settlement of a lawsuit brought by former employer IBM.
  • The wait time for an Amazon Kindle just got shorter. Amazon, the e-commerce company that had a breakout hit with its e-reader, looks set to announce the next generation of Kindles in New York City on Feb. 9. One clue that the new e-readers are ready: the Kindle order page now says units will ship in four to six weeks (until very recently the wait was 11 to 13 weeks). As Bits points out, “The device has been out of stock since November, after Oprah Winfrey touted the device on her show.”

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Richard Waters

Google likes to talk about how it’s AdSense system supplies the lifeblood for much of the Web, feeding the adverts that generate income for many other websites. Through its network of advertising affiliates, Yahoo plays a similar role.

So based on the latest results from both companies, the rest of the Web must really be hurting. Read more

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Richard Waters

ie8.jpgFacing a fresh attack from European regulators and with Google breathing down its neck, Microsoft could really do with something special from the next version of its Web browser. That would be one way to silence the critics who claim its dominance of the market has killed off innovation.

As it happens, there are plenty of good ideas in IE8 (a near-complete version of which was released today.) As often with Microsoft, though, some of these represent refinements of breakthroughs that were made by rivals rather than genuinely new ideas. The main new features in IE8 include: Read more

Monday

  • IPOs are a rare commodity these days, but that hasn’t stopped fuel-from-waste company Changing World Technologies from trying its luck. WR Hambrecht opens the books on an auction for the company, which has amassed losses of more than $80m over the past four years.
  • Analysts expect a big drop in sales for Texas Instruments for the fourth quarter. Slumping demand overall, and the decision by Nokia, TI’s biggest customer, to work with multiple suppliers, could make for a grim 2009 forecast as well.

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