Daily Archives: May 8, 2009

One of those Sony synergy moments, which Sir Howard Stringer has been endlessly encouraging, happened today in its Home virtual world on the PlayStation 3.

The chief executive expects joined-up thinking between different divisions, and Sony Pictures Entertainment – the movie studio – and Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) – the PlayStation people – have delivered.

Sony Pictures announced the launch of a Loot team, a name that conjures up piratical skunkworks. Read more

The FT’s Lex column examines why the Kindle is no panacea for newspapers.

Newspaper executives increasingly believe gadgets such as the Kindle, Amazon’s sleek e-book reader, might fix their industry’s malfunctioning business model. This week, the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post announced plans to subsidise the cost of new Kindles to win electronic subscribers in certain markets. Even Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, is making noises about handheld gadgets. If enough people bought them, the NYT, for example, could theoretically save up to 35 per cent of its flagship paper’s operating costs if it sold only paperless subscriptions.

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Gadget Guru Paul Taylor reviews the best automated back-up products:

Simplicity. Leonardo da Vinci described it as “the ultimate sophistication”, while Albert Einstein said “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”. More recently, we have been urged to adopt the “kiss” principle – “keep it simple, stupid”. Read more

The FT’s Lex column examines the plight of one of China’s internet market leaders:

Investors generally know better than to expect a coherent long-term strategy from executives in the internet business. But when a $7bn company tears up its entire business model within a year of going public, it can be accused of pushing its luck. Read more

Gadget Guru Paul Taylor has been covering the launch of Amazon.com’s new Kindle DX. Today he takes a historical view of the product, arguing that Amazon is in fact a latecomer to the e-book game.

Based on the buzz around Amazon’s latest Kindle wireless electronic book reader – the big screen Kindle DX, which will cost $489 – it would be easy to think that the US online book and electronics retailer invented the e-book reader category. Read more

Womma, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, has made its name trying to provide an ethical framework for the viral and buzz marketing industry.

It’s not an easy task, as viral and buzz practices can often appear deceptive, leading readers to believe that crafted conversations are in fact organic. Yet Womma has done a laudable job over the years, developing and revising a clear code of ethics that many companies now subscribe to.

So I was surprised to learn that Womm-U, the organisation’s upcoming summit in Miami, is being sponsored by Izea, a company notorious for its dubious ethical standards. This is a bit like if McDonald’s were to sponsor a PETA convention. Read more

  • Google executives mounted a concerted public defence of how the search company wields its wide-ranging power on the internet amid signs of growing regulatory concern. The comments came as a Google lawyer confirmed for the first time that US regulators had shown their interest in possible competition issues raised by chief executive Eric Schmidt’s position as a director on Apple’s board.
  • Hulu, the US online video service owned by NBC Universal, Fox and Walt Disney, has signed its first batch of content deals with international television producers, the first step towards a full global launch of the service. The company was set up 18 months ago by the media companies as a viable alternative to YouTube for professionally produced content.

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Technological change doesn’t slow for a recession, but customers do stop buying.

That’s a real headache for any tech company which has the misfortune to be on the verge of a major new product cycle in the depths of this downturn.

A case in point is Xerox, whose “solid ink” technology is one of those long-term projects that has been years in development, and which is now ready to yield a significant product breakthrough. Read more