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Monthly Archives: February 2010
In an interview at Nintendo’s Media Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Reggie Fils-Aimé (pictured), president of Nintendo of America, told me Nintendo had been “hand-to-mouth” in supplying retailers with product in January and February after 3.8m Wiis were sold in the US in December. Read more
Docstoc, which allows the sharing of professional documents, opened its DocStore to individuals on Tuesday, while Scribd, its larger rival, announced on Wednesday easier ways of making its documents accessible on eReaders and other mobile devices. Read more
Local reviews site Yelp is facing some unflattering reviews of its own service.
In a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court, the red-hot startup is accused of unfair competition and what amounts to extorting small businesses.
The plaintiff in the suit, an animal hospital in Los Angeles, alleges that after negative reviews about its business appeared on Yelp, sales representatives from the company called and said that for $300 per month, they could make the ads disappear.
Don’t be surprised if this sounds familiar. In a lengthy article last year, the East Bay Express leveled similar charges against the company. But in an interview with the FT, Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman flatly denied the claims. Read more
It was only a matter of time before Brussels began looking at an antitrust complaint against Google. Murmurings of discontent about the dominant search engine have been going on for several years now, and recently there has been a rash of smaller cases against the company.
Three particular cases are being considered by the European Commission. A complaint by Foundem, a UK vertical search company, one from ejustice.fr, a French legal search site, and a complaint made initially in Germany by Ciao!, a vertical search site recently bought by Microsoft. Read more
Google faces Brussels antitrust inquiry FT news story
Committed to competing fairly Google blog post
Why Europe could prove Google’s undoing Bobbie Johnson, The Guardian
Google Hit With Antitrust Investigation in Europe Mashable
Why The Big Smile, Mr. Ballmer? Google Been Slapped With an Antitrust Probe in Europe? All Things Digital
In what may be the first of many such formal disclosures, Intel included an unusual admission in its annual 10k filing to the SEC on Tuesday: It had been subjected to a “sophisticated incident” of computer hacking that might have been an act of “industrial or other espionage”.
The top semiconductor manufacturer said that the incident in question occurred last month, around the same time Google made a startling and more detailed announcement along similar lines. Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said there was no definitive link between the attempt to break into Intel and the spying campaign that targeted Google and as many as 30 other technology companies, including Adobe and Symantec. Read more
Late on Monday, it announced a patent cross-licensing deal with Amazon. Among other things, this will cover the e-commerce company’s use of Linux in its servers. That is a big deal: given Amazon’s ambitions to become one of the biggest operators of public computing “clouds”, this amounts to a major endorsement of Microsoft’s claims over some of the core IP in Linux.
There is a caveat, though: the announcement was short on detail. And that is sure to bring accusations that the software company is once again using FUD to scare other Linux users into submission. Read more
“Sony’s Vaio line of Windows-based laptops has always managed to combine elegant design with equal measures of fun and business functionality, and the new Z Series VPCZ114GX/S is no exception. Read more
In the Great Depression, people went to the movies to lighten their mood. In the recession of 2009, they bought a flat-screen TV.
It was a smaller one than they would have liked, but it was cheaper and they could still watch movies, sports and Desperate Housewives in high definition.
An editorial in Tuesday’s Financial Times says China’s policy towards technology companies shows it knows how to tilt markets to its advantage – to the disadvantage of others.
Whereas national security once required controls on what technology could be exported, today it increasingly requires a critical look at what is imported. If the world converges to the standards China requires, computers everywhere risk being at the mercy of its willingness to refrain from cyberattacks. A recent infiltration of Google’s systems, allegedly with Beijing’s involvement, puts that willingness very much in doubt. Read more
According to Rebecca McKinnon, an expert on Chinese internet censorship, China is already getting to grips with Google Buzz, filtering out parts of the new social networking service as they pass through its Great Firewall.
But this is one service that China’s overworked internet censors may actually have a reason to welcome. Read more
The past has a way of catching up with you. Iridium, the satellite phone company, has been working hard to re-invent itself following its 1999 bankruptcy. Last September it returned to the stock market through a reverse takeover, and has set about raising money for a new fleet of low-earth orbiting satellites.
In the 1990s Iridium launched with the idea of selling satphones to a wide consumer market, but was soon overtaken by the mobile phone industry. It became chiefly a niche provider of phones to aid workers and the military.
Now, Matt Desch, chief executive, believes there could be a big new market to be exploited in tracking all sorts of objects, from trucks and cargo containers to polar bears, by satellite. Read more
RealNetworks’ founder Rob Glaser stepped down as chief executive in January as the company went on to announce the spin-offs of its games business and Rhapsody music service in response to falling revenues in 2009.
It has taken no less than two years of testing, but HBO Go, the subscription TV channel’s broadband portal, has finally launched in the US.
Initially available to Verizon’s estimated 3m television and high speed internet customers, the Time Warner-owned HBO plans to offer this to all 30m of its subscribers at no extra charge in a staggered rollout. HBO said it was in talks with European pay TV operators on similar versions outside the US. Read more
Not so long ago, I heard a senior internet executive expressing bemusement over the fact that Google had so notably failed to offer any financial support to the cash-starved Wikimedia Foundation, the not-for-profit that runs Wikipedia.
After all, there is a clear symbiosis here. The majority of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from search engines (60-70 per cent was the estimate I was given by Jimmy Wales recently.)
Likewise, Google benefits tremendously from the existence of a massive source of free reference material online. Indeed, many internet searches are started with the aim of finding an article on Wikipedia. Read more
Demand Media has devised one of the most controversial – and apparently effective – new media business models around: acquire massive amounts of online content and distinctive URLs on the cheap, then use that to suck large volumes of traffic off the search engines.
So I’m very glad to say that Steven Kydd, Demand’s head of content, is a last-minute addition to speak at our Digital Media and Broadcasting Conference in London in two weeks’ time. Putting new media figures like Kydd alongside the heads of established powers like WPP, The New York Times and the BBC should produce a pleasingly combustible mix. Read more