Daily Archives: May 29, 2009

Richard Waters

OK, so Mike Arrington went a bit over the top yesterday in declaring Google Wave “one of the most ambitious and exciting products the tech world has seen in a long while.”

And you have to bear in mind, as Rob Koplowitz at Forrester warns, that any time Google claims to have “reinvented” something it gets the rest of us talking, even if it’s often hard to assess the eventual impact of projects like this (at least it balanced Microsoft’s claim the same day of having reinvented search.)

Still, there was something charmingly excessive about the idea of sending a team of hot-shot developers to Australia for a couple of years to work on a secret project, then jetting them to San Francisco for an 80-minute demo in front of 4,000 eager developers (YouTube video here.) Lars Rasmussen’s rock-star status as creator of Google Maps had already guaranteed him an easy ride in front of this crowd.

In reality, like a lot of these things, Wave is both more and less than it seems. Read more >>

The FT’s Lex column considers the spin-off of AOL from Time Warner. The separation marks a final admission of defeat in the attempt to join film and television content with the free online world:

Talk about the mourning after. Almost a decade later, one of the worst deals of all time still has little to recommend it. In 1999, at the peak of the dotcom bubble, upstart AOL bought the old media dinosaur Time Warner for $164bn in stock. On Thursday – following the announcement AOL will be spun-out by the year’s end – Time Warner’s market capitalisation stood at $28bn, with the recently split-off Time Warner Cable valued at a further $11bn. Read more >>

Apple’s MacBook Air, Sony’s Vaio P Series and now Dell’s Adamo belong to an elite category of portable personal computers whose appeal owes as much to design aesthetics as it does to technology, writes Paul Taylor:

Sony and Apple have a reputation for such products. But Dell – outside of its Alienware unit, which builds high-performance PCs for games players – is best known for producing solid mainstream desktops and businesslike laptops targeting corporate buyers and penny-pinched students. Read more >>

For the FT’s New Technology Policy Forum, University of Chicago professor Richard Epstein considers the European Commission’s recent fining of Intel for anticompetitive behaviour:

On May 13, 2009, the European Commission fined Intel just over €1bn for its supposed abuse of its dominant market position in violation of Article 82 of the EC Treaty. That decision marks yet another effort by commissioner Neelie Kroes to ratchet up the enforcement of EC competition policy, all in the name of preventing consumer harm. Yet the devil lies in this one detail. The aggrieved “consumer” of Intel is its long-time junior rival, AMD, which filed three separate complaints against Intel between 2000 and 2006. Read more >>

  • The economic slump hasn’t ended yet. That was the word from the executives of Microsoft and Dell, as they countered the recent optimistic views expressed by other big tech companies. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said: “To think that things would be back in a year seems naive to me.” Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said: “Based on what we see in the marketplace, we’re not comfortable talking about seeing a bottom at this point.”
  • Microsoft and Google took direct aim at each other’s core businesses as they showed off ambitious new services that represent some of their biggest internet development efforts. Microsoft unveiled its new search engine, Bing, to generally positive reviews. Google, meanwhile, stole the thunder by showing-off Wave, a new communication platform that incorporates elements of email, chat and document sharing.

 Read more >>