Monthly Archives: September 2010

Joseph Menn

Yahoo executives on Thursday outlined plans to improve its mail, news and other main services in the next few months, pledging faster load times, better integration with Facebook and Twitter, and deeper personalisation.

Chief product officer Blake Irving, who has been on the job since April, didn’t signal any bold new direction during the presentation at the company’s Sunnyvale headquarters. Instead, he argued that the company has been on the right track all along and just needs to move faster. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

YouView is finally open. The BBC-led internet-TV consortium, formerly known as Project Canvas, is open for business, open to all comers, and open-ended in its ambition.

That’s not a quote from Richard Halton, appointed chief executive of the joint venture on Thursday. It is the message that its new logo – as Project Canvas rebrands as YouView – is designed to send to viewers, content owners and developers. Read more

Richard Waters

Does Google trample on tech start-ups that get in the way of its larger advertising ambitions?

That’s what Skyhook, a small company whose software is used in handsets to identify their location,  says in a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts on Wednesday. It accuses the search giant of twisting the arm of Motorola, forcing it to eject Skyhook’s software (and replacing it with Google’s own) as a condition of being able to ship Android handsets.

There’s no question that location data is becoming a very valuable resource in mobile advertising, so Google had plenty of incentive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guilty as charged (it’s funny how the mere filing of a commercial dispute like this brings out a rash of stories on the Web about Google’s supposed willingness to “do evil”.) Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft says the average person spends half of his or her time on a PC looking at a Web browser. So it’s nice to be able to report that the latest version of Internet Explorer promises to bring some notable improvements to the everyday grind of Web viewing.

As we reported on Wednesday, even Google, while hell bent on winning more
users over to its rival Chrome browser, takes its hat off to IE9 (while promising to match it soon.) Read more

Chris Nuttall

Demo, a kind of Britain/America’s Got Talent for technology startups, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with its first conference in Silicon Valley.

The 66 companies showing their wares here are restricted to six minutes to make their pitches to an audience of VCs and media, with those only at the  “alpha” stage of development limited to just 90 seconds.

It can be hard to pick out the winners from the crowd, but my “judges notes” from the Wednesday morning session featuring 17 consumer technologies are after the jump. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The first thing that struck me about the new Twitter is that it goes on forever.

Hopping onto the 140-character communications site and reading the latest tweets was always a risky endeavour, with so many potential distractions and jumping-off points. Now, before you even reach the bottom of the screen, the next batch of tweets is loaded, and you can just keep on reading – and reading and reading…

If Twitter’s aim is to keep people on its site for longer, that’s certainly a good start. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A new Dell tablet with an innovative swivel-screen that turns it into a netbook grabbed all the attention at Intel’s developer forum on Tuesday.

But smartphones running the chipmaker’s Atom processor were notable in their absence again, suggesting Intel is making heavy weather of breaking into the key mobile handset industry. Read more

Richard Waters

An idealistic young San Francisco developer (with photogenic long hair and a gift for talking to the press) is inspired to create software to help those living under repressive regimes to get around internet censorship. He tests it first in Iran, with plans to roll it out around the world.

“It’s the perfect narrative that people wanted to believe,” says Mehdi Yahyanejad, the creator of a successful Persian language Website who reviewed the software, known as Haystack.

Alas, the software – the brainchild of 26-year-old Austin Heap – did not deliver as advertised, and could actually have put its users at risk (though Mr Yahyanejad points out that using censorship-circumventing technology is not in itself illegal in Iran). Read more

From the FT’s Alphaville blog

It seems somebody doesn’t believe Apple, Intel, Samsung or some other big company is going to launch a cash offer for the UK chip designer. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel introduced “Sandy Bridge” on Monday as a chip that would revolutionise the PC, with analysts agreeing it was part of a graphics trend that could reshape the industry.

Sandy Bridge will compete with rival products from AMD and Nvidia, with chipmakers focusing on consumer interest in watching and processing high-definition video as the best use case for the extra capability they are adding to processors. Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft’s shareholders have applauded in recent years as it has fought a zealous campaign against software piracy. But it clearly should have tempered that zeal with much more circumspection.

General counsel Brad Smith was forced into a humiliating concession on Monday. Quoting a piece in The New York Times over the weekend, he said there had been reports that police in Russia have used the crackdown on piracy of Windows and other Microsoft software as a cover for human rights abuses, confiscating the computers of campaigners and journalists who have caused the government trouble. In some cases, according the the NYT, outside lawyers representing Microsoft were willing and eager participants in the actions. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The motivating force behind Seedcamp – the early stage tech investor and events programme that got underway today in London – is to bolster the European technology community.

Alongside better-known deals like AOL-Bebo and Ebay-Skype, the $700m sale of internet security firm MessageLabs to Symantec in 2008 is one of Europe’s biggest recent exits, and its two founders were on hand to share their experiences. Read more

From the FT’s Alphaville blog

Ho hum. Another day, another Hewlett-Packard bid… Read more

Chris Nuttall

Einstein said it should speak peace unto nations, Goebbels made sure it spoke war, but radio had little say at all at Berlin’s International Radio Show (IFA) this past week.

3D TVs, smartphones, tablets and cameras dominated, but I was still able to track down some rare wireless specimens for the Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sales for the video game industry are becoming as bloody and horrific as their best-selling titles.

“The August sales results were, in a word, shocking,” said Wedbush Morgan analysts in a research note on Friday. Read more

Richard Waters

To the extent that the mobile phone business is turning into a battle of rival software platforms, then having Stephen Elop at the top of the world’s biggest handset maker makes a lot of sense. But there’s much more to it than that, of course, which is why Nokia’s choice for its next CEO is a risk.

Short of finding a magic wand with which to conjure up another Steve Jobs, it’s hard to see what Nokia could have done to solve all of its problems. Read more

Will tablets eventually replace the PC? Today’s Lex writes, “As the PC market shows signs that the second half of the year will be weaker than expected, there are signs that tablet computers are beginning to cannibalise sales of their folding compatriots.”

Read the rest of “Laptop PCs”

Chris Nuttall

The International Radio Show (IFA) in Berlin is a misnomer these days, considering it now bills itself as the world’s biggest consumer electronics show and is stuffed with 3D TVs, home appliances, digital cameras and computers.

Radios are an endangered species at a show they monopolised when it first opened in 1924 as the Great German Radio Exhibition. But there were still a handful on display as I found out researching my first Personal Technology column for Business Life. Details of the “best in show” after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Arm’s unveiling of the capabilities its Cortex-A15 processor design, previously codenamed Eagle, expands the possibilities for Arm-based chips well beyond the mobile phone industry they dominate.

The launch in San Francisco on Wednesday night also expanded Arm’s share price in London on Thursday as it rose 4 per cent to a new 52-week peak of 403p – 200 per cent higher than a year ago. Read more

By Virginia Garcia Martinez of mergermarket

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