Monthly Archives: October 2010

Chris Nuttall

Consumers will soon be spoilt for – and confused by – choice in the number of ways they can move video wirelessly from one device to another.

Apple, Google, Intel and a host of lesser known companies are pushing their own technologies for this, which is why the first products signalling a unified approach, announced today by the Wi-Fi Alliance with its Wi-Fi Direct, are welcome. 

From the FT’s beyondbrics blog
South Korea’s leading mobile operator, SK Telecom, has long deemed that domestic dominance is insufficient. It has desperately sought to expand abroad – only to see recent ventures in China and the US end ingloriously.

Now the company has a new, even loftier ambition: to develop software for mobile phones, thereby competing with Apple, Google and others. Not surprisingly, the proposal has raised doubts. 

Richard Waters

Is SAP about to take the same sort of battering in the press from Oracle that has made HP’s board quail recently? Not if it can help it.

Late on Friday, SAP asked a Californian court to put a gag order on Oracle’s legal counsel ahead of the scheduled November 1 start of the trial to decide damages in the TomorrowNow case. But even if it can silence Oracle’s lawyers, SAP probably has a bigger problem on its hands: Larry Ellison, who shows no inclination to hold back in public. 

Chris Nuttall

For a company rebooting its mobile phone strategy, the simple building-blocks look of the home screen on Windows Phone 7 is an apt visual metaphor for the extensive reconstruction work under way to rebuild Microsoft’s smartphone reputation.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, I reviewed one of the nine launch phones sporting this refreshing new interface – the Samsung Focus. 

Chris Nuttall

Steve Jobs says netbooks are just slow, cheap laptops with low-quality displays and are no good for anything.

He dissed them as such during the unveiling of the iPad and, judging by falling sales since then, he may have a case. Except that the new MacBook Air, launched on Wednesday, has just become my new favourite netbook. 

Paul Taylor

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was in fine (fighting) form on stage at the annual Gartner Symposium in Orlando today, punching his hands for emphasis and positively bristling at the suggestion that Microsoft should split its consumer and corporate businesses.

He described a recent Goldman Sachs idea to spin-out the consumer unit as “nutty” and  “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” Unfortunately he did not tell his audience of about 5,000 senior IT executive what was the craziest. 

Richard Waters

Facebook’s latest privacy gaffe – allowing its users’ IDs to slip out to advertisers via third party apps – is not as unusual as you might think.

A year ago, researchers found that 11 of 12 social networks allowed user IDs to leak (only Google’s Orkut passed the test.) Linked with the behavioural information that third party ad servers collect, these IDs can become a “magic key” to unlock a user’s real identity, says Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Chris Nuttall

Apple has unveiled a new version of its MacBook Air notebook and a “younger brother”,  costing under $1,000, with a smaller 11.6-inch screen.

A new version of its Mac operating system, codenamed Lion, was also shown along with an updated version of its iLife software suite in a media event at Apple’s  Silicon Valley headquarters.

Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive, who lead the presentations, said the Air was “the future of notebooks”. 

Richard Waters

I confess to being a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to investing in the stock market. As a committed adherent of the efficient markets hypothesis (I know, I know, they haven’ t always looked that efficient recently) you can count me among those who find it hard to believe that any money manager can consistently beat the indices.

Add in the the high fees and lack of transparency that come with active managers, and it doesn’t seem that customers are well-served by this particular part of the financial services industry.

That’s what makes a site like Wealthfront interesting. If the web is the perfect medium for raising transparency and reducing distribution costs (and fees), then this is a good demonstration of how to go about it. 

David Gelles

Square, the much-hyped mobile credit card processing system created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has a big problem: it doesn’t work with the iPhone4.

In a blog post buried deep in the support section of Square’s website, the company acknowledges that the Square card reader interferes with the already problematic iPhone4 antenna.

“This renders our card readers inactive for your iPhone4,” the company wrote on October 9. “We are working on redesigning our card readers and will be contacting our iPhone4 users as soon as they are ready for shipment.”

Update: Square has clearly been scrambling for a fix for awhile now. The day after this post was published,  they emailed to say that, “As of today, we have shipped new card readers to to active users who are accessing Square via an iPhone 4.”