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Monthly Archives: February 2009
- As PC sales slump internationally, Dell reported a steep drop in sales and profit, despite meeting earnings expectations. Meanwhile, IBM, which recently exited the PC business, issued bullish guidance for the year.
- After yet another privacy row, Facebook rebuffed the critics by essentially opening up its terms of service to user input. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that “Facebook does not own users’ content.”
At last, a use for all that EU bureaucracy. With 23 official languages, the European Union employs an army of translators to produce massive multi-lingual stacks of laws, regulations and other documents each year.
Those heaps of offial translations have been a boon for Google, providing fodder for its own automated translation service to “learn” from, and they explain why Maltese speakers can now use the Google Translate service when they surf the Web while the many more numerous speakers of, say, Farsi can’t. Read more
Yahoo is combining its Tech and Product groups into a single organisation called, rather unimaginatively, Products. Ari Balogh, the chief technology officer who joined from Verisign only a year ago, is the coming man who has been put in charge. Read more
- Ratcheting up the growing rivalry between Google and Microsoft, Google will join a European Union antitrust case against Microsoft that claims the company is stifling competition in the web browser market by including Internet Explorer in Windows.
- Microsoft filed a suit of its own, alleging that in-car navigation system maker Tom Tom is violating eight of its patents, including three relating to Tom Tom’s use of open-source operating system Linux. This is believed to be the first time Microsoft has filed suit over Linux, which it has repeatedly said violates its patents.
Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, is warning that companies taking advantage of government stimulus packages to build future infrastructure and transportation projects are relying on tools of the past that waste energy and cost more.
Browser-based gaming has been confined largely to simple casual games to date, but a new service launching today promises to bring next-generation console quality to the experience.
The venture capital business needs Washington’s money like it needs a hole in the head (with apologies to Thomas Friedman).
Silicon Valley is just getting to the long-overdue end of one bubble. It really doesn’t need another one, courtesy of government bureaucrats. The contraction that is coming will be painful, but that’s no reason to put it off in the misguided name of stimulus (or the equally woolly “innovation”). Read more
Forget the vanity licence plates and the personalised URLs: what about owning your own top-level internet domain name, to put yourself on a par with the .coms and .govs? You’ll probably be able to apply for one by the end of this year – though it’ll cost you $185,000.
There is a serious side to the explosion in top-level domain (TLD) names that is about hit the internet. When anyone can pay up to create one – not to mention the myriad of new URLs that will suddenly become available – how on earth will companies protect their trademarks? And how will internet users find their way around a confusing virtual world in which www.coca.cola could be competing for attention with www.cola.coke? Read more
Yelp has won fans around the globe by providing a neutral platform where users can share reviews of local businesses. If a Vietnamese sandwich shop makes the best banh mi around, reviewers will rave and send more customers that way. If a kosher deli’s pickles are stale, reviewers will say as much, and other readers will steer clear.
But what if it wasn’t users, but Yelp’s own advertising team that determined the balance of — and in some cases wrote — the reviews that make up the meat of the site? Worse, what if Yelp’s advertising reps punished businesses that refused to advertise by the deleting positive reviews and promoting negative ones?
Facebook is always walking on eggshells when privacy is concerned. Last year it came under fire for storing user information after an account was deleted. In 2007, it revised its Beacon service, which shared users’ activity on other sites with their Facebook friends. Now Facebook is facing allegations that it is trying to take ownership of users’ content.
The latest row occurred after the blog Consumerist called attention to minor but potentially wide-reaching changes to Facebook’s so-called terms of service (TOS), the set of rules users tacitly agree to when using the site. Read more
That has been brought home by the handling of public “discussion” surrounding the stimulus package (which was signed into law on Tuesday). Before assuming office, Mr Obama promised to open all non-urgent legislation for online comment five days before signing it. The stimulus package got nearly that amount of time (according to TechPresident) – but the discussion was entirely one-way, which doesn’t really make it much of a discussion at all. Read more
As expected, smartphones have taken centre-stage at the big mobile industry bash in Barcelona (our coverage from the Mobile World Congress is here).
Also as expected, a company not even represented at the show is very much on everybody’s mind: Apple.
The fact is, Apple’s rivals have fallen badly behind in the smartphone business – even companies like Nokia and Microsoft, which have dominated the segment. Just how far behind was apparent when my colleague David Gelles and I set out to talk to independent developers to find out what they thought of the coming wave of App Store copy-cats and iPhone wannabes. Read more
Freescale has found a way of tapping tiny amounts of voltage and amplifying them to usable levels. Read more