Monthly Archives: July 2012

It is a hazard of holding a patent trial in the San Francisco Bay Area that many potential jurors have links to Silicon Valley companies. It took the full first day in a San Jose court to select a fair and balanced jury for the patent case between Apple and Samsung, dashing hopes that the court might have heard the two companies’ opening arguments on Monday afternoon. Read more

The alliance between Apple and Twitter almost became a direct investment last year, it emerged late on Friday, in a sign of the power plays at work as Silicon Valley companies grapple with the high-stakes shift to mobile.

United by common competitors in Facebook and Google, Apple discussed a possible investment in Twitter at a multibillion-dollar valuation more than a year ago, just as the social media service was being built deep into the latest iPhone. Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

Even though Apple’s earnings disappointed Wall Street this week, attention quickly shifted to the forthcoming iPhone 5 and the latest version of its Mac operating system, Mountain Lion. Read more

Facebook stock has tumbled to a new low in after-hours trading, as its first quarterly earnings as a public company underwhelmed investors.

Already nervous after Zynga’s disastrous results on Wednesday, markets were unimpressed at Facebook’s mere meeting of analysts’ consensus forecasts with $1.18bn in revenue and earnings, excluding certain items, of 12c. Read more

Roku and Vizio are the battling underdogs of the US TV industry, surviving and even prospering against bigger players thanks to their aggressive pricing strategies and rapid innovations.

Roku’s set-top box for streaming internet content has held its own against Apple TV, while Vizio has duelled effectively with Samsung over TV sales leadership. Now Roku has earned fresh legitimacy with a $45m investment led by News Corporation and its part-owned broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting. Read more

Get ready for the mother of all product launches.

That was the message earlier this week from the top brass at Apple. Sales of the iPhone 4S are winding down: with the coming of the iPhone 5, Steve Jobs’ heirs are about to face their first real test.

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Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories”. Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets”. Tumblr’s “Sponsors” in Radar and Spotlight. A pattern is forming in how social media companies charge advertisers to promote their “organic” postings.

The latest to flip the revenue switch in this way is Foursquare.

More than three years after the location-led app took the South by South West Interactive festival by storm, “Promoted Updates” are Foursquare’s first big ad productRead more

Apple’s third-quarter results have fallen short of Wall Street expectations, in a rare miss for the maker of the iPhone.

Apple reported revenues of $35bn and profits of $8.8bn or $9.32 per share, compared to an analyst consensus forecast of  $37.2bn and $10.37 per share. Its shares fell 5 per cent to $570.00 in after-hours trading on the news in New York

Apple’s chief executive and chief financial officer were  questioned by analysts on the miss – caused mainly by lower-than-expected iPhone sales – on the company’s earnings call.  Our live blog from that event is after the jump. Read more

It was a big week not only for Yahoo but for Marissa Mayer, who capped her appointment as chief executive with the announcement that she is expecting her first child. Once the initial surprise had passed, Silicon Valley was abuzz with speculation about whether Mayer could be the spark that has been missing from Yahoo for the past few years.

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Marissa Mayer

In January 2009, Marissa Mayer – by her own admission – broke the internet.

As Google’s vice-president of search products, Ms Mayer was responsible for what was then the world’s most popular website. An errant “/” in a computer code had triggered a chain of events that resulted in the message “This site may harm your computer” popping up alongside every search result.

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Microsoft office on microsoft surface

Microsoft Office 2013
Rating: 4/5

It may seem hard to think of getting touchy-feely with a spreadsheet or sociable with a word processor but a more connected, collaborative, mobile, app-ified version of Microsoft Office seems set on converting us to new ways of working.

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On Marissa Mayer’s first day as the new chief executive of Yahoo, a heartfelt plea from a neglected corner of the struggling web portal lit up social media. Read more

Fed up with labouring in the shadow of Silicon Valley, two Hollywood studios have belatedly woken up to social media with the launch of two new ventures that take advantage of their own in-house technology.

Dreamworks Animation, the studio behind the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda films, today launches Ptch, a mobile app that lets users create 60-second movies using pictures and video shot with their smartphone – and then share them via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Read more

First, the good news: Yahoo’s latest appointment of a chief executive was handled with the minimum of chaos. The arrival this week of experienced Google product manager Marissa Mayer wasn’t preceded by the usual barrage of leaks and second-guessing.

The bad news is that given the turmoil Yahoo has been through recently, the hapless internet company has had too much practice at getting this sort of thing right. Including interim holders of the title, she is the fourth CEO in less than a year. Yahoo was overdue, finally, for a smooth transition.

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Yahoo’s appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive had already been lauded by many in the technology industry as a “coup” for the beleaguered internet company.

But as more details emerge of the appointment, the oft-criticised Yahoo board is likely to win praise from a wider constituency – one that normally only pays attention to Silicon Valley to point out the dismal ratio of male to female executives.

Ms Mayer, 37, is six months pregnant with her first child. “Another piece of good news today,” she tweeted.  Read more

As news broke that the social news sharing site Digg had been sold for less than it raised in funding, several tech commentators suggested it served as a cautionary tale for hyped start-ups and widely used social media services.

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PC-maker Acerhad said that it could post as low as zero per cent annual growth in the number of computers it ships this year.The announcement sent its shares tumbling 3 per cent, even though news that PC sales are freezing should hardly be surprising given the global economic slow down.Acer, the world’s third-largest computer vendor, had previously forecast 10 per cent annual growth in the number of computers it ships. That has now been trimmed to zero to 5 per cent growth, according to a company source.

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Powershots x260HS

For anyone heading off to a major sports event, such as the London Olympics, here are three personal tech items – digital camera, iPhone add-on and binoculars – that may be worth space in your luggage along with, or instead of, the suntan lotion.

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A major investor in Gaikai, the cloud gaming service bought by Sony for $380m last week, has said the console maker could do something revolutionary with its acquisition that would transcend its hardware business.

“I think [Gaikai] will really show its true promise in the hands of Sony,” Mitch Lasky, general partner at the Benchmark Capital VC firm (pictured left), told the GamesBeat 2012 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “My hope is that we are going to see ‘PlayStation as a Service’,” he said. Read more


This week marks the first anniversary of Spotify’s much-hyped invasion of America.

The Swedish digital music service took two years of negotiations with labels to reach the world’s largest music market. But although the music industry has warmed to streaming services in the past year, Spotify has yet to prove whether it can achieve the massive popular success of fellow countrymen Abba – or if it must settle for the critical international acclaim of a more niche band such as The Cardigans.

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