Monthly Archives: March 2013

Chris Nuttall

Michael Dell is ready to tear up the PC model on which he built his business in order to claw back market share lost to Asian rivals such as Lenovo and Asus.

The new high-stakes strategy is revealed in Dell’s 274-page proxy filing released on Friday and is likely to shake up competition in the ailing PC industry. Dell would switch from the build-to-order bespoke PCs that made its name to the “build-to-stock” model of more generic PCs made by its rivals that anticipate demand and are built before a purchaser has been identified.

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Chris Nuttall

John Riccitiello made a final public appearance as chief executive of Electronic Arts at the unveiling of Battlefield 4 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.

He steps down on Saturday, resigning, according to the official account, over the company missing its numbers for the current fiscal year ending March 31.

The poor performance of another first-person shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, last autumn contributed to this, but Mr Riccitiello’s green-lighting of Battlefield 4 could give his successor an easier ride this coming year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

King.com’s rebranding of itself this week as just King is hardly innovative, but it does sum up the publisher’s current position in casual games.

Its Candy Crush Saga is the most popular game on Facebook by daily active users – with 14m players, according to Appdata – while also being the top-grossing app on iTunes and the top free app on Google Play. Read more

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has been fighting to turn around its plunging sales by learning a lesson or two from Apple. First: spend on branding, which Apple does well and HTC does not. Second: don’t ship scratched phones, which Apple did when it first launched the iPhone 5.

To the dismay of investors and consumers, the launch of HTC’s newest smartphone has been delayed. The reason has been the difficulty producing the phone’s camera and metal back — compounded, says its marketing chief, by a desire to avoid Apple’s error and waste his newly-enlarged ad budget by annoying buyers with scuffed gadgets.

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Already the third-largest online user base in the world, India has the potential to double its economic contribution from the internet in the next three years.

India could see a surge in the internet’s role in the economy from 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2011, to up to 3.3 per cent in 2015, putting it near developed countries on this measure, according to a McKinsey report.

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Robert Cookson

Ford and WPP have apologised for tasteless ads showing scantily-clad women bound and gagged in the back of a car.

While the images were never published as part of an official campaign, someone at JWT India, Ford’s agency in the country, uploaded them to the sharing site Ads of the World. Read more

Apple has bought WifiSlam, an indoor mobile location service, as the Silicon Valley giant continues to compete with Google in mapping capabilities.

The deal closed recently for $20m, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source.

WifiSlam’s technology uses ambient wireless signals that are already present in buildings to pinpoint the location of smartphones, as opposed to the space-based satellite signals relied upon for larger-scale GPS mapping and navigation systems. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

At the South by Southwest Interactive festival, the annual geek gathering in Austin, Texas, a new Google gadget was the talk of the town – literally. Google’s “talking shoes” crammed a tiny computer, sensors, speakers and a Bluetooth wireless controller into a pair of Adidas that shout at their wearer when they aren’t moving around enough.

Google’s latest venture into wearable technology was more an attention-seeking gimmick than a serious new venture. But with the search giant ploughing significant resources into Google Glass, it’s another indication that Google is serious about moving from the digital to the physical – plans that seem to include a smart watch, too. Read more

It is 600 miles from Olathe, Kansas, to Englewood, Colorado, and both towns can seem a million miles from the media hubs of New York and Hollywood. Yet two announcements from the US heartland this week provide important pointers to the future of the cable industry and the content companies that depend on it.

In Olathe, Google unveiled plans to roll out the fibre optic network it is testing in nearby Kansas City, offering broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. That is roughly 100 times faster than the country’s typical download rate, for $70 a month or $120 with a video service.

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Publishers may take a cue from the software industry as they regroup from a decisive loss in the US Supreme Court over copyright rules.

After failing to persuade the justices to protect their foreign-made titles from resale in the US in the Kirtsaeng v Wiley case, publishers must instead rethink their international business practices.

While traditional publishers of books, music, and film have generally viewed the computer industry as a foe in various policy battles, it could find a saviour in borrowing its concept of software licensing agreements and applying them to physical goods. Read more