Monthly Archives: September 2010

From the FT’s beyondbrics blog
It doesn’t take much to irritate a Chinese internet titan. Alibaba Group, the country’s largest e-commerce company, had already fallen out with its biggest shareholder, Yahoo, over a Google-government hacking dispute. (Yahoo backed Google, Alibaba said be quiet.)

Now Alibaba has reacted angrily to a report that Yahoo’s Hong Kong site might compete with its own for advertisers. Read more

By Jane Rickards in Taipei

Samsung Electronics foresees an oversupply of dynamic random access memory (D-Ram) chips in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year if the PC market continues to slow, marking the latest twist in a tortuous saga of gluts and shortages. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Google has a neat trick in its Chrome browser of spotting web pages displayed in foreign languages and offering to translate them, then doing so instantly and in reasonable fashion.

But Linguee, launched on Wednesday in five languages, does a better job when it comes to grasping context and finding just the right word for the occasion. Read more

Richard Waters

If Google Instant is everything that Google hopes it will be, the entire industry of search engine optimisers and marketers has some work to do.

The new search feature, launched at a slickly staged event at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (Google is finally learning some of the Apple magic), predicts a user’s intent and returns results as a query is being typed. With each additional keystroke, Google says it can make a fresh calculation of the most likely search query and show instant results.

In theory, as Googlers on hand like Marissa Mayer and Sergey Brin were quick to point out, this should make no difference to the eventual results or the adverts that users click on. The ranking algorithms remain the same. But in practice, Instant could have far-reaching effects. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

This summer has seen some interesting blog posts from the venture capital community on the “rise of the super angels” – seasoned entrepreneurs who’ve cashed out and are reinvesting in the next generation.

Seedcamp, the European investor and events programme, is a big part of that story. Next week will see the fourth Seedcamp week in London, with 23 young companies jostling for up to €50,000 in investment and expert mentoring in what’s been dubbed the “X Factor for startups”.

But the increasingly active angel community means that Seedcamp has found itself facing competition too. Read more

From the FT’s beyondbrics blog

After eight years writing his Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, Paul Taylor has signed off with a look back at the dramatic changes over that time.

Paul is launching a new section on later this month called The Connected Business, including reviews on technology for the workplace. After the jump, his last word on the rise and rise of smartphones. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Samsung is urging operators to bundle sales of its new Galaxy tablet with cell phones and their data plans in order to cut the cost to consumers.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Lee Don Joo, head of global sales and marketing for Samsung’s mobile products, said it would be a burden if consumers had to pay for a separate plan for the Galaxy Tab on top of their existing phone plan. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Rivals to the iPad will come in similar shapes but all screen sizes, judging by the launches here in Berlin on Thursday of tablets from Samsung and Toshiba (pictured).

The competition is also packing its cheaper devices with features the iPad may not have for some time, such as cameras with video calling. Read more

Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Hulu and Sony are all providing a way for viewers to purchase video content online. However today’s Lex writes that content providers might not be fully on board just yet: “While renting out old shows and films individually or on subscription generates some extra cash, there is little incentive to encourage a full à la carte system.”

Continue reading “Internet TV”

Tim Bradshaw

There are two ways one could think about Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab.

One would be to look at its slick casing, its compact 7-inch form, the latest Android software and extensive 3G support from European mobile operators, and say: here is a device which proves the iPad isn’t the only show in town.

The other would be to look at its slick casing, its compact 7-inch form, the latest Android software and extensive 3G support from European mobile operators, and say: isn’t this just an oversized smartphone? Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple is making a more serious bid for the set top box market with 99 cent TV and $4.99 new movie rentals that are streamed through a smaller version of AppleTV.

Chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the new device at an event in San Francisco. It will cost $99, down from $229, and is available for pre-order today, arriving in about a month.

The new AppleTV will offer rentals exclusively, no purchases. This will eliminate storage issues. First-run HD movies will rent for $4.99 on the day of the DVD release. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony is challenging Apple and Google with an internet “cloud-based” music streaming service that will be available on many of its networked consumer electronics products.

The MusicUnlimited service was announced at IFA, a major consumer electronics show in Berlin, barely an hour before Apple’s own music-themed press conference in California.

After the jump, the archive of our live coverage of the event. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The FT tried something new today. We took to Twitter to answer questions about one of the day’s bigger news stories in the digital-media world: that the UK’s advertising regulator, the ASA, is extending its rules on accuracy and decency into corporate websites, social networks, blogs and mobile apps.

Seeing as many people already discuss the day’s news on Twitter, we thought it would be an interesting experiment to focus the conversation a little, get the views of people affected by the ASA’s new regime and add some personal perspectives to the coverage in today’s paper.

We tried to examine how successful this attempt to police the web will be; whether it’s realistic for UK-based regulator to reach into such an international medium; how it might affect freedom of speech or the playful nature of social networks, and if you or your company are going to have to scramble to make big changes as a result.

Given the ASA story is partly about Twitter, it seemed an ideal place to start our first #FTchat, which could be tracked on the site using that hashtag.

A few of the contributions after the jump… Read more

Chris Nuttall

Just ahead of Apple’s expected announcement of an autumn refresh of its iPod lineup today, SanDisk has unveiled an update to a rival portable media player in the sub-$100 category.

SanDisk claims parity in market share with Apple where the iPod shuffle plays and says its Sansa Fuze+ has far more features. Read more

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard is announcing an entertainment-oriented  refresh to its notebook computer line today–and the most notable addition comes with its own 3D glasses.

The HP Envy 17 3D’s glasses automatically turn on when the user is watching a 3D Blu-ray DVD on the machine and then turn off again, giving the glasses a projected year of battery life.

In a test, I found the background shapes to have distracting shadows, but HP said it is tweaking the technology and will ship before the winter holidays at $1,600 or more. Read more

This is a guest post by FT Media Editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson

Not much has been heard of Beyond Oblivion since the FT pulled back the veil on its ambitious vision of tackling piracy by asking devices manufacturers and broadband providers to pay for music consumed over their products and services.

At the time, we reported that Adam Kidron, a serial entrepreneur, had been backed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Allen & Co. According to the Beyond Oblivion site the start-up is still aiming for an October 10 launch (sorry, “insurrection”), but we wait to hear which music rights holders, smartphone and laptop manufacturers or internet service providers are on board.

Today’s proxy filing by News Corp pulls the veil back a little further on Beyond Oblivion’s financing, however. Read more