Monthly Archives: March 2011

Gianfranco Lanci’s departure from Acer was as harsh as it was abrupt. The (now former) chief executive was effectively told to leave after two bad quarters. Prior to that, he delivered stellar growth for six years as president and three as chief executive.

There is already talk that Mr Lanci was being made a scapegoat. Read more

Ingram Pinn illustration

In Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, the Victorian writer Charles Mackay describes a company formed during the South Sea Bubble in 1720 which declared in its prospectus that it was “for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is”. After investors hurried to buy shares, the founder “set off the same evening for the Continent” and was never heard of again. Read more

More than two decades ago, soon after starting out in the mobile phone business, Nokia found itself on the receiving end of a massive patent infringement lawsuit from the company that had pioneered cellular communications: Motorola.

The Finnish group was in a vulnerable position. As a newcomer, it lacked enough patents of its own to counter-sue Motorola and fight it to a standstill. Read more

Microsoft has filed a formal complaint with European Union competition regulators over Google’s dominance of the internet search market, escalating a debate that has already placed the online search group at the centre of an EU probe. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • is courting the world’s big  music companies as it seeks licensing deals that would help improve the online music service it launched Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The moves are also an attempt to calm the music groups’ concerns over the lack of notice of the online retailer’s plans, the WSJ says.

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The details of Paul Allen’s testy personal relationship with Bill Gates have been the most eye-catching part of his forthcoming memoir. But it is the Microsoft co-founder’s damning critique of the company’s current problems that could well prove more telling.

In a draft of the forthcoming book, seen by the FT, Mr Allen writes: “How did a company once at the forefront of technology and change fall so far behind? It’s a thorny question, with roots that go back decades, but I believe it boils down to three broad factors: scale, culture and leadership.” Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Microsoft is working on a version of its Windows Phone software that will let customers use their handsets at a checkout counter to buy merchandise, according to Bloomberg. The move to include mobile-payment technology is part of the software group’s efforts to narrow Google’s lead in handset software.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • James Gosling, the programmer who founded Java at Sun Microsystems, has joined Google, Cnet reports. The online search giant is currently suing Oracle, which bought Sun Microsystems last year, over how the Java technology is used in Android.

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Amazon – not Apple nor Google – is the big new player in cloud music services, launching its offering on Tuesday while those of its rivals are still the subject of speculation. The online retailer announced Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player – the first service gives users 5Gb of free data storage online and the second allows them to play, in a web browser or smartphone app, music they have uploaded to the cloud drive. Read more

Parts for the Nintendo 3DS, which went on sale on Sunday at $250 in the US, cost the Japanese console maker just $100, according to analysts. A “teardown analysis” by IHS iSuppli prices the bill of materials for the handheld at $100.71, with the 3D upper screen and lower touchscreen accounting for a third of the bill. Read more

This time last year, Twitter wrote a somewhat smug blog post trumpeting its success in tackling spam. It had reduced the percentage of tweets that were spammy from a peak of almost 11 per cent in summer 2009 to less than 1 per cent in February 2010, it said. Everyone was very pleased.

Fast forward a year, and it seems that the spammers are starting to stage a comeback. Read more

Facebook is trying to entice a new generation of advertising executives to tap consumers’ emotions through social advertising rather than obsessing over the traditional clicks and conversion rates. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Facebook is in talks to hire Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s former White House press secretary, to help manage the company’s communications, according to the New York Times’ DealBook. The talks come ahead of the social network’s planned initial public offering next year.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Google Music, a streaming service that will store user’s existing music library on Google’s servers, is nearly complete and being tested on internally, reports CNet. Greg Sandoval writes, “Negotiations with at least some of the top publishers and four largest record labels are ongoing, according to sources.”
  • Kodak is suing RIM and Apple over an image preview phone patent. Bloomberg reports that $1 billion dollars could be at stake.

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A guest post by Ben Fenton, the FT’s chief media correspondent

The rumour that won’t go away right now is that The Times is soon not going to be behind the same kind of paywall that currently shields it and its very fine writers. If that sounds like a convoluted sentence, it is deliberately so. The situation is opaque and must be approached cautiously. Read more

Gamers lined up to buy the new Nintendo 3DS in their thousands last night, according to UK retailers HMV and Game, as the Japanese electronics company goes head-to-head with Apple’s launch of the iPad 2 to see which gadget can attract the bigger crowd. Read more

Few people outside the New York Times headquarters can have been happier to see the publisher announce its (very) long-awaited model for charging for online news last week than Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz.

The founder of The American Lawyer and the former head of set out two years ago to persuade publishers around the world that such paid models were feasible, and to provide them with the software to implement them. Read more

Apple is accentuating the software possibilities of the iPad 2 as well as its new hardware improvements, with more than 65,000 apps now designed specifically for the tablet. As it goes on sale internationally on Friday, this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section looks at some of the best of these, including the new iMovie video editing and GarageBand music creation software. Read more

In its last full year as an independent company, Sun Microsystems suffered an operating loss of $775m. Now, less than two years later, Oracle says it’s well on the way to making a $1.5bn profit from the same businesses.

So did Sun shareholders make a big mistake in selling out too soon, or has Oracle really pulled off an overhaul in record time? Read more

In the annals of video game history, Duke Nukem Forever stands alone as the title that never fails to disappoint. Disappoint in the sense that, 14 years after development began on the sequel to 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D, the game has still not appeared. This despite countless tentative release dates and its developer 3D Realms being reduced to saying in 2001 that it would be released simply “when it’s done”. Read more