Ebay and General Motors might seem unlikely bedfellows, but America’s largest carmaker and the world’s largest online auction site looked poised for an unusual partnership on Friday.
As General Motors emerged from bankruptcy protection and unveiled its new corporate identity, chief executive Fritz Henderson announced an unusual piece of news. He said that GM and Ebay would be working together to sell new cars through Ebay Motors. Read more
FT media editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson reports from the Wired design conference in New York:
Amazon lined up with those arguing that Google needs to be reined in earlier this week, as Jeff Bezos argued that the search juggernaut’s settlement with publishers should not simply be waved through by the authorities.
“We have strong opinions about that issue which I’m not going to share,” he said, before going on to share at least some of them. “Clearly that settlement in our opinion needs to be revisited and [in reference to the DoJ's recent requests for information] is being revisited.” Read more
New York media correspondent Kenneth Li reports:
Not all subscribers are born equal.
Imagine my surprise when I, a faithful subscriber to The New Yorker on Amazon’s Kindle, was denied full access to the NewYorker.com.
That’s what happened yesterday after I tried to pull up a copy of the much-discussed Carlos Slim profile in the latest edition of The New Yorker from its website, but was denied access. It is restricted to print subscribers.
Like other periodicals eyeing a bleak print advertising future, The New Yorker has begun restricting full website access to those who pay for the print copy or pay specifically for the right to access the site. Read more
The FT’s Lex column examines why the Kindle is no panacea for newspapers.
Newspaper executives increasingly believe gadgets such as the Kindle, Amazon’s sleek e-book reader, might fix their industry’s malfunctioning business model. This week, the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post announced plans to subsidise the cost of new Kindles to win electronic subscribers in certain markets. Even Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, is making noises about handheld gadgets. If enough people bought them, the NYT, for example, could theoretically save up to 35 per cent of its flagship paper’s operating costs if it sold only paperless subscriptions. Read more
Gadget Guru Paul Taylor has been covering the launch of Amazon.com’s new Kindle DX. Today he takes a historical view of the product, arguing that Amazon is in fact a latecomer to the e-book game.
Based on the buzz around Amazon’s latest Kindle wireless electronic book reader – the big screen Kindle DX, which will cost $489 – it would be easy to think that the US online book and electronics retailer invented the e-book reader category. Read more
Amazon is claiming to offer newspapers a new lease of life with the larger-screen Kindle DX, which transforms reading the printed versions of publications into an easier-to-carry internet-delivered digital experience.
The trend is towards a more literal and fixed digital representation of newspapers, likely to appeal to older audiences. However, in many ways, the more interesting experiments in new media are happening elsewhere, and have more to do with changing the fundamental reading (and writing) experience. Read more
Visiting the local GameStop on San Francisco’s Powell Street has aspects of going to a pawn shop and an under-the-counter porn store rather than the expected video-game retail experience.
Every wall of the store seems covered in second-hand titles traded in by gamers, new shrink-wrapped ones are hard to spot. Anyone wanting a brand new game generally needs to go and ask for it at the counter. Staff then look underneath or go in the back to try to locate the rare item. Read more
Amazon has found itself another route to the television and Roku another use for its set-top box under a partnership announced today.
The internet retailer has been exploring ways to widen access to its Video on Demand service beyond the computer and has already made it available through Tivo digital video recorders and Sony Bravia TVs. Read more
The timing is surely not coincidental. Next Monday, Amazon looks set to unveil the second version of the Kindle. So today, Google came up with a version of its Book Search that works on mobile handsets.
“Book Search” is a bit of a misnomer: it’s actually shaping up to be more of a “Book Read”. With the mobile service, Google says you can access the full text of 1.5m out-of-copyright books on your handset . And lest there be any doubt, it had this to say about its long-term ambition: Read more