The FT’s John Gapper writes that Apple, which just released the new iPhone 3GS, has become the hub of a creative network that is helping it stay ahead of its rivals.
It seems odd that companies can gain an advantage by working with others and by sharing knowledge. Yet being part of a network not only can help a company to gain from others’ knowledge but also can reinforce its market position, as Apple’s contest with Palm shows.
The FT’s editorial page argues that Europe’s data-protection commissioners are right to pursue a new regulatory framework to protect online privacy on sites such as Facebook:
Users must be made aware of how much personal information about them has built up and prompted to think again about how they want that to be used, with tools that promote an informed decision rather than simply pester users with constant requests for permission.
The FT’s Lex column looks at the dilutive stock sale that will see the founders of Dutch navigation device maker TomTom give up their majority stake in the company to head off a debt cruch. Its conclusion:
Painful, but a price worth paying to put the focus back on growth, and away from a tattered balance sheet.
The FT’s Paul Taylor examines Microsoft’s Bing search engine, designed to improve on rival offerings:
With Google synonymous with internet search engines, it might seem foolhardy if not futile for a rival to try to outdo it – even if that rival is Microsoft. Nevertheless, that is just what the world’s biggest software company is attempting to do with Bing, its new search engine, which was made publicly available on Monday.
The FT’s Lex column says that EMC and NetApp are right to be fighting over de-duplication company Data Domain:
The excitement is over software and hardware designed to reduce duplication. Data Domain specialises in identifying and removing multiple copies of files when a back-up copy of data is made . . . As the volume of data that companies must process explodes, Data Domain is growing fast – analysts forecast sales growth of 28 per cent this year.
The FT’s Lex column considers the three-way war for the living room, and concludes that with little console innovation on the horizon, Nintendo’s Wii, the current leader, could be vulnerable:
Microsoft has an opportunity to catch up on Nintendo. The US software giant has the cheapest console on the market at $199 in the US, for something that is more capable than Nintendo’s $250 machine.
The FT’s Lex column says the netbooks segment should not be overhyped just because it is the only area of growth for the PC industry in a recession:
Light and, above all, cheap, netbooks are useful for casual travellers and children who are more likely to break or lose a computer and can live with less processing power. Business users, who buy half the world’s laptops, will still want something more capable.
The FT’s Lex column considers the spin-off of AOL from Time Warner. The separation marks a final admission of defeat in the attempt to join film and television content with the free online world:
Talk about the mourning after. Almost a decade later, one of the worst deals of all time still has little to recommend it. In 1999, at the peak of the dotcom bubble, upstart AOL bought the old media dinosaur Time Warner for $164bn in stock. On Thursday – following the announcement AOL will be spun-out by the year’s end – Time Warner’s market capitalisation stood at $28bn, with the recently split-off Time Warner Cable valued at a further $11bn.
Apple’s MacBook Air, Sony’s Vaio P Series and now Dell’s Adamo belong to an elite category of portable personal computers whose appeal owes as much to design aesthetics as it does to technology, writes Paul Taylor:
Sony and Apple have a reputation for such products. But Dell – outside of its Alienware unit, which builds high-performance PCs for games players – is best known for producing solid mainstream desktops and businesslike laptops targeting corporate buyers and penny-pinched students. Read more