Friday, July 28, 2006

Microsoft's Ozzie declares the PC is dead - long live the PC!!

Microsoft's Ray Ozzie has declared the end of the PC era!! Proving what a smart cookaracha he is and why Billie boy Gates is on the beach in Africa rather than directing software supremo Microsoft through its next techno transformation....

Ozzie of course states that the future is bright for the future is Internet services (yawn), and then goes on to tell us that this move (to Internet services dummies - keep up!) will turn computing on its head. I hate to correct such a luminary - but hasn't the move already happened and already turned things on their heads - particularly Microsoft?!!

Oh, and Ray's strategy for success lies in Windows Live and Zune - proving yet again again that Google and Apple's iTunes are all he cares about really! Really?

Let's see. In the mean time I'll stick to Google and Apple to win Web 2.o for now. Sorry Ray!

The annual girlie blog conference "shows ya the money!"

The annual girlie blog conference is going on this weekend in California and it's sold out. Hosted by all female (author) blog network BlogHer, the conference has attracted over 700 attendees, proving at least that there are still a bunch of future bloggers trying to figure out what this blogging thang is all about!

But the programme looks good whether you are new to blogging or nearly new - which covers a few hundred million by the look of the latest looney blog stats.

A key theme of the conference is how to make money from blogging - and if you believe all the BlogHer propaganda it's simple - become a woman and join the BlogHer network as an editor - apparently 80% of them earn over $50,000.

Now that's better than a smack in the face! Mind you the sex change may hurt...

Amazon producing movies - WHAT?!

Amazon is making its first foray into the big-screen movie business after buying an option to develop a film from Keith Donohue's fantasy novel "The Stolen Child."

Amazon said it will not co-finance the film, but it plans to meet with studios and potential partners who can put the tale, in which fairies steal a young boy and replace him with a changeling, on the silver screen.

I'm a little confused about what Amazon are doing here other than mimicking Starbucks rather ill fated attempts at co-producing and distributing movies.

Amazon and Starbucks may succeed in becoming distributors of digital movies and music - but they should leave production to the experts. I also wonder when Amazon will stick to the knitting a little more. They seem to have an inordinate amount of confusing/distracting projects on the bubble.

Once upon a time their vision was to become the Wal-Mart of the Internet - well they still have a long way to go before they achieve this lofty goal - why not stick to it?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Zune, Zune, Zune - Microsoft socks it to Apple

Microsoft has finally had enough of watching Apple rule the digital music roost (and as a result handheld computing market) with the runaway success of the iPod and is to launch their own version of iPods and iTunes called Zune!

Zune devices will be wireless using Wi-Fi and will feature collaboration tools down the road as the Xbox does. They´ll be available by Xmas - hey, that´s what they said about Vista?!

Apple will have to respond as this is the first serious challenge to their digital music franchise which now amounts to one third of their entire revenues. Expect a wireless iPod by Xmas and Apple to accellerate into a combination mobile phone and iPod as well as intelligent TV´s - the iTV.

I´m only left with one lingering question - given the success of Apple´s Intel Macs - will Microsoft launch a bundled all Microsoft PC? And what will it be called? How about MacZune or macaroni? I knew I should have been a branding expert. Oh, and don´t steal this one Seattle - I might just have patents!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mobile, Internet leaders kick growth butt, WIntel burns...

Given the last post I have to add Nokia to the new order mix. They prove yet again, with their latest butt smackin´ results, that mobile is the future and tethered the past!

So Google, Apple, Yahoo, Nokia and Motorola may be the new tech world order, with the Internet, mobile and computer/sumer electronics the engines of future tech growth.

Microsoft will try and fight back by taking all of them on (what's new) but will ultimately accept that their future lies in corporate computing (as IBM learnt) and will re-org around it!! No guesses what'll happen to them thereafter!

Google, Apple and Yahoo new tech pin ups - WIntel the dogs!

How things have changed! Google, Yahoo and Apple are the new tech stars. This week they all demonstrated stellar and continued kick ass growth that would make any investor wobble at the knees.

Apple kicked off flogging mre than 8 million iPods in the quarter and continue to dominate the space and decimate the competition - while Mac sales are finally on the rise again, up 12%, thanks to their awesome new Intel chip range.

Google almost doubled revenues and earnings whle Yahoo blew revenues through the roof - with earning yet to follow.

Meanwhile Microsoft ad Intel disappointed yet again with Intel announcing yet another bold re-org!!

The new tech order is taking shape with WIntel the dinosaur´s and Google, Apple and Yahoo the future. Unless of course Microsoft buys Yahoo - then of course it'll be ding ding all change yet again!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yahoo and Microsoft keep getting closer!

Microsoft has been as subtle as a hippo in a lake about their desire to wed Internet dream babe Yahoo and the two while not wed just get closer and closer. Their decision to marry their IM users in an interoperable fest is just another step.

Yahoo may be able to hold Microsoft off for now - but as soon as the Internet (ad) market takes a turn for the worse - Microsoft will scoop them, up. Just watch!

Dell still stuffed!

Dell's decision to cut prices qnd do away with rebates and promotions, while a boon for customers, will likely make little difference to Dell's performance.

Cos the real issue is that they finally have kick rear-endo competition (from HP, Lenovo and Acer) and this ain't going away - oh, and they can all weather a price war pretty much as well as Dell.

Plus, the US is sliding into recession so PC sales will slump over the next couple of years. Sorry Dell!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apple set to launch wireless iPod

Apple is set to launch a wireless iPod!

According to CNET's Apple Blog, Apple has filed a bunch of patents for a wirless iPod player.

Our prediction:

"Apple will launch their wireless iPod (with voice capabilities?) before December 2006 just in time for Xmas sales."

Go for it Apple!

Microsoft smashed by the European Union!

Today is a black day for Microsoft!

The European Commission fined Microsoft 280.5 million euros ($357.3 million) today to punish its failure to comply with a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling.

This is a political first and to make matters worse the EU has stated that if Microsoft does not comply by 31 July this year they will face a further Euro3M fine per day!!

Oooh, poor 'ol Microsoft! - Not.

And to make matters yet worse, worse (as if they could be) Gates seems to be announcing that Wondows Vista will still not be ready next January - handing a boon to both Linux and the Open Source community as well as Apple.

But, to try and push some good news out there (boy do they need that!) Ballmer (why's it always him with the good news?) has announced that Vista will be a blockbuster (??) and Microsoft will next year compete with Proving what we said a while ago - that Google should buy Salesforce.

Good luck to ya, Microsoft.

Who wants a MySpace for the politically obsessed?!

According to CNET: "A team of U.S. political strategists is creating an Internet forum for debating hot-button issues, hoping to connect the politically obsessed the way hooks up hypersocial teens. launches in October, shortly before U.S. congressional elections, and aims to draw top political personalities as well as grass-roots community organizers to swap opinions and ideas."

Oh, that'll fly - not!

When will the MySpace rip-offs end. Probably about the same time MySpace suffers a legislative crackdown to defend its users!

Dell to slash consumer & small business PC prices

"Dell plans to announce "a major pricing initative" for consumers and small business customers on Thursday, it said in a press release distributed Monday.

Further details were not immediately available."

Which is street corporate mumbo jumbo for - "we need to slash and burn prices to stand any chance of winning in the cut throat consumer PC space - and HP and a rejuvinated Apple are eating our *****!"

Good news for consumers!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Movie studios crawling all over Internet distribution!

BitTorrent is lining up entertainment companies as it prepares to sell downloads of feature films, TV shows and other video entertainment.

The San Francisco-based file-sharing company today announced that it has signed licensing deals with four independent movie studios that will allow it to sell 1,600 video titles over the Internet.

And only two months ago they signed Warner Bros.

Today Guba also announced a deal with Sony Pictures to distribute a tonne of their movies over the Internet.

Leading Internet movie sites, BotTorrent, Guba and YouTube are making massive strides. By the end of this year all the major movie studios will have multiple deals to distribute their movies online. The revolution has begun!

Nielsen could shatter success of TV commercials!

Nielsen could soon shatter the success of TV commercials and as a result put another revenue drag on already struggling traditional media companies. Nielsen has announced plans for the first time ever to rate the success of TV commercials - starting in the US this Fall.

The new ratings will be gathered the same way Nielsen compiles its existing TV ratings. The firm will use set-top monitors in 10,000 Nielsen homes, checking viewers' TVs several times per minute to determine what show is on. The monitors record whether viewers are changing the channel during a commercial break or zapping through the break with a DVR.

As for visits to the fridge or bathroom (or presumably both - preferably not at the same time), Nielsen viewers are supposed to use another device to record when they leave a room in which a set is playing. The system isn't foolproof, but Nielsen says the company believes more than 90% of its viewers comply with this rule.

Proving that viewers will do almost anything for a few extra bucks. As long as they don't confuse the device with toilet paper I guess all's OK!

On a more serious note, the Nielsen commercials ratings are almost guaranteed to trigger another wave of shifting ad dollars to the Internet and more measurable/pay as you go mechanisms. TV networks in turn will be forced to embrace Internet TV and digital interactivity ever more rapidly. Poor luvvies!

Monday, July 10, 2006

CNET in deep **** over stock option abuses!

CNET are in deep **** over their stock option scandal and look set to have to restate years worth of results. This could pummell their stock price and reputation.

More than 50 largely tech firms are under the spot light of federal authorities for possible backdating of stock-option grants to give employees quick gains. CNET is facing probes from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California and the SEC.

According to the Wall Street Journal CNET believes the charges are material, and it currently expects to restate results for 2003, 2004 and 2005. However, the company doesn't expect the restatement to impact its previously reported revenue or cash positions.

I.e. - they're royally up the creek without too many paddles. I just wonder how many more tech companies will get hit by this rampant options abuse scandal.

PC makers change ads to sizzle and sex!

First HP did it, then Apple and now Dell are at it. They are all changing the style of TV adverts that they pump at us. No longer do they talk about processor speed or memory size or price (thank the Lordy), now they are using consumer electronic talk (i.e. "sexy") to lure today's consumers.

HP filmed celelbrities talking about how their particular HP PC changes their digital life and powers their video editing, movie sharing, music, blogging, coffee making et al.

Then Apple hit us with their new Apple dude talking to chubby Windows PC spod and created humorous PC ads - Woah!

And today Dell have announced a new TV approach selling up their sexy gaming, video making and music playing PC's.

What next? How about Lenovo getting Bono to sing "One PC, one brand, one Lenovo"? Mmm, that should do it - not. Maybe that's why I'm not in advertising?!

Freescale cracks revolution in computer memory - WOW!

According to the FT Motorola's old basket case chip division has just gone commercial with a revolutionery new approach to computer memory!

Soon your computer and mobile phone/MP3 players could produce more relaible memory without the need for electricity to power it.

Oooh, does that mean I could finally move to that desert island to write my blogs and books? I hope so. Virgin Islands here I come!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Microsoft could get an EU spanking as early as next week

According to Reuters: "The European Commission confirmed ... it would debate antitrust sanctions against US software giant Microsoft at a regular meeting on Wednesday.

"The Commission on Wednesday should be discussing the Microsoft issue and if we have to apply sanctions for (Microsoft) not having respected decisions from March 2004," the EU executive's spokesman, Jonathan Todd, said at a news briefing (today)."

That means Microsoft could get the first of a series of EU butt whoopings starting next week. No wonder Bill Gates has jumped ship!

Reuters do want Warner Music after all - but not that badly??!!

According to Reuters, EMI is keen (no, not the band Keane!) on Warner Music - but not so much so that they'll over pay (now that's a sharp management team talking). And it makes sense, proving at least that not all is sheer lunacy in the rock 'n roll industry.

Mind you by the time EMI and Warner Music finish bargaining with eachother Robbie Williams will be a grandfather and I'll have signed my first rap record deal!

AMD growth slowing?

AMD have just announced that they expect a decline in 2nd quarter sales from the 1st - but still predict they will be 52% above the same period last year - which ain't half bad.

The business press is stating that this must mean that Intel's price slashing and new products are finally beginning to slow AMD's recent growth spurt. I'm not so sure - as AMD apparently had a sizzling quarter for their key server chips.

My guess is that these results may reflect a general slowdown in the PC industry - particularly in the US. Intel have a way to go before they hurt AMD again and we can expect quite a basket case set of results from them in the coming weeks.

Radioshack hire new CEO - poor luvvie!

Radioshack have hired a new Chairman and CEO, called Julian Day, with retail turnaround experience from Safeway, Sears and Kmart. Given that each of these groups were once right royal lemons, he seems to have the right blend of experiences.

Radioshack though does present quite a different level of confusion as it is hard for anyone to figure out what they stand for. Do you? If so, please feel free to right in and tell us - or even better tell the new CEO as I'm sure he's dying to find out.

Until then we'll keep shopping at Best Buy. Mind you the new Apple stores are quite sexy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It's official - Ebay are scared ****less of Google!

Today it became official across most of the business press that Ebay are indeed afraid of Google and so are their investors. The papers and Internet sites are buzzing with the news that Ebay's head of PayPal seems to have resigned and as a result Whitman has instigated a major management reshuffle - which is corporate mumbo jumbo voodoo doooodooooo for "Oh, shit, we're up the panny without Pampers!".

And Ebay are indeed - largely thanks to Google. First they launched Google Base (what a disastrous name!) which is a monstrous, free classified service that could eat at some of Ebay's lower lying Web auction fruit.

Then last week Google launched Checkout, which over time could challenge Ebay's PayPal. All of this has royally spooked Ebay's investors such that their share price has regularly tumbled.

Soon Ebay stock may become so cheap that Microsoft will finally buy them - or, how about Google??!!

HP's remodelling their offices!!! Zzzzzzzzzzzz...

According to Reuters "Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's second-largest personal computer maker, today announced plans to merge several hundred properties into fewer main sites as part of a cost-cutting plan announced a year ago.

The company has not decided which facilities to close, and has not yet said how much money it may save from the four-year effort. It will use some of the savings to add new features to its main offices and give them a "consistent look and feel," Hewlett-Packard of Palo Alto, California, said."

I mean come on, who cares? Has business news today reached such an all time low that this entirely uninteresting piece of old news (unless of course you're one of the laid off HP'ers) actually got coverage. HP's press departent must be the most surprised.

And HP are supposed to be cool for offering VOIP and wireless Internet access in their cafeteria? Er, OK, that even out blue's Big Blue!

Microsoft to launch its own iPod & iTunes all-in-one music service

According to the Financial Times Microsoft will launch their own replica of the iPod and iTunes to try and become the Pepsi of the digital music market to Apple's Coke!

If true, this will deliver a massive strategy change by Microsoft as well as introduce the first real challenge to Apple's iTunes and iPods. The strategy change is because Microsoft will in effect be admitting that a software only approach does not work in certain consumer electronics markets.

First they cracked by launching the Xbox and for the first time ever built an all Microsoft product from scratch that seamlessly integrated software and hardware. Now they agree that Apple's hardware and software together approach makes a digital music player work better and simpler.

It also allows the product to build a single and more powerful brand for the user. If Microsoft admit that consumer electronics products that integrate hardware and software together are better this could have huge implications for other sectors of the market, including PC's and mobile phones.

Will Microsoft launch their own PC and mobile phone one day? Quite possibly.

Microsoft's move into the digital music market will also deliver a major innovation - wireless downloads. This is extremely smart and has to push Apple to deliver a wireless iPod possibly before Xmas this year - something we have been pushing for a long time.

Either way, it looks like the digital music market and possibly also the consumer electronics industry is in for some major changes and a formidable new competitor.

Microsoft does a major about face over open document format

Microsoft will offer free software that will allow Word, Excel and PowerPoint to handle documents in rival technology formats, responding to government requests for interoperability.

The translation tools will be developed and licensed as open source software, and will be offered as downloadable add-ins for several older versions of the Microsoft Office system, according to Microsoft.

This is a major about face by Microsoft and a sign of the company's diminishing power and possibly even arrogance. Of course it goes without saying that the move should provide a boost to both the Open Source movement and to users.

AOL speeds move to free ad portal - why?

AOL is considering offering all their services for free to anyone with a broadband Internet connection. This would complete AOL's transition from a subscriber based ISP business model to a free advertising supported Internet portal.

AOL's new leader, Bewkes, would be taking a bold move if Time Warner's board choose to implement his plan - but only bold moves such as these transform companies. The real question is transform AOL to what?

Being yet another free Internet portal competing with the almighty Yahoo, Google, MSN and MySpace may not be enough. They should embrace online video much more aggressively and potentially acquire YouTube. To become the Internet TV and movie portal - now that is a space they could own and perhaps even dominate.

They will have to move fast and ambitiously though, for Yahoo and Google are making big strides.

Intel and Motorola invest in WiMAX leader Clearwire

Intel is investing $600 million in Clearwire Corp., a company led by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, as part of a $900 million investment that could help spur adoption of WiMAX.

Motorola will also chuck a tonne of money into the WiMAX champion and buy their hardware division.

Clearwire, based in Kirkland, Wash., sells wireless Internet access in 26 metropolitan markets in the US, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Mexico. The company's service is based on a precursor to WiMAX but has been expected to convert to the newer technology.

The three compnaies together plan to develop WiMAX technologies and standards together as well as speed up its adoption, which will help Intel sell more wireless chips over time and give Motorola a hedge against mobile networks.

This deal is a major bost for WiMAX - and about time, for the wireless technology holds enormous promise.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Google Checkout has already attracted over 100 stores and some big brands!

Last week, Google introduced Google Checkout, an online checkout system that lets people make purchases from participating merchants using a single sign-in system. It competes with Microsoft Passport, the less than successful attempt at a universal Web passport and payment system.

And like all payment systems the proof initially is in the amount of merchants that adopt the system. If you get enough of the right merchants - you should get the users.

After a little research it looks as though Google is on a good track. They have already attracted over 100 merchants including Levi's, Timberland, and Starbucks Store.

Now lets see if the users follow. TechBoard will keep you posted.

Gawker Media struggling or growing up?

The worlds highest profile Blogging Network, Gawker Media, has just been attacked by the New York Times for laying off some folk and closing a couple of their underperforming sites.

Mind you, when you look at the numbers it seems to me that what Gawker founder, Nick Denton, is doing is tightening the ship up and realigning his portfolio of 15 sites to deliver better results and make more money.

The 2 sites on the block, Sploid and Screenhead, have not performed well, whereas the others now have a staggering 4+ million monthly unique visitors.

So my guess is Gawker Media, having been operating for quite a while, is now focused on profits first, so shaking the rotten apples from the tree has to happen at one point. It is also a sober reminder that blogging is becoming so competitive that any blogger need remind themselves that launching a new blog is an extremely expensive, time consuming and risky exercise.

Bloggers should beware - for like traditional magazines, it can take years and a chunk of change to establish a new title - and even then it may never be profitable. Examine regularly what your real objectives are for your blogsite.

Amazon launches toy and baby store to compete with Toys "R" Us

Amazon has launched a toy and baby store to replace its once exclusive relationship with Toys "R" Us. Toys "R" Us in the mean time has launched their own independent site.

The company's decision to start its own toy and baby stores follows a long court battle with Toys "R" Us. A New Jersey judge ruled in March that Amazon violated its agreement to give Toys "R" Us the exclusive right to sell toys and baby products on Amazon's Web site.

I wonder which out of the two will end up being the real winner? At least consumers will see greater competition in the increasingly competitive world of kids gear and wear!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

China Mobile still on the hunt for international mobile assets

Cash-rich China Mobile will continue its search for overseas assets in spite of its eleventh-hour decision to abort a $5.3bn bid for Millicom International. So those of you sad to see that China Mobile didn't pull off a major international deal need not fear.

How about buying Vodafone - they're looking pretty cheap right now!

New video sharing site will pay video creators share of ad revenues

A new video-sharing site,, (boy could they do with some branding advice) is offering videographers a share of the advertising dollars that their movies generate, at a time when most video-sharing sites are just trying to eke out a profit.

This will drive two trends - one healthy, where we will increasingly see video sites such as YouTube and Yahoo Movies share revenues with content creators (der yeah) and the other painful cos we're gonna have even more garbage home movies clog up our broadband airwaves - giving the telco's yet more ammunition to fight net neutrality!

Hedge Fund babe says Warner Music should take over EMI and not other way round!

In the confounding/never ending battle between Warner Music and EMI over which one should take over the other (??) it looks like Edgar Bronfman has got a little ego desperate by hooking in a reasonably irrelevant yet unabashedly outspoken Hedge Fund Babe to bat for him.

Eclectica Asset Management, which claims a 2% stake in EMI and a smaller investment in Warner Music, reiterates its argument that Warner should buy EMI, rather than the other way round, in a letter to the Financial Times. So that Bronfman can run the combined outfit.

Proving that Hedge Funders have larger gobs than ownership stakes!

Monday, July 03, 2006

New Chinese mobile phone giant fails to get out of the blocks

Millicom, the Luxembourg based mobile phone company with ventures throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, ended talks with China Mobile Communications of Beijing just hours before Millicom executives were due to fly to the Chinese capital to announce a $5.3 billion acquisition of their company.

The planned acquisition by China Mobile, had it been completed, would have been the largest foreign purchase by any Chinese firm.

Apparently the Chinese decided that their intial offer was a little generous once they looked under the bonnet (technical term for 'due dilligence'). Plus, it seems that China's bureacracy proved about as helpful in getting a deal done as a blindman behind the wheels of a Formula 1 Ferrari.

Lastly the Chinese decided that the sprawling collection of international mobile assets owned by Millicom might prove a bit of a headache to manage - which does not say a great deal about their confidence in Millicom management who were doe to stay on!

So, a new giant and international Chinese tech company to rival Lenovo looks set not to be unleashed - or at least not for now.

Is the hot selling MacBook also too hot to handle!

My last post announced that Apple's MacBook sales are red hot. Well, according to CNET that's not the only thing that's extraordinary about the MacBook.

It seems as though about 70 plus customers of the cheaper white version of the MacBook are discovering potentially faulty plastic for the white casing which means that after a few weeks use they get indellible stains!!

So, no more tinkering with your bright white MacBook after you've been fiddling with your matching all white Jeep (engine)!

MacBook sales rock Apple

2 months into the launch of Apple's star laptop - the MacBook - it looks like sales are roaring. And review after review makes the MacBook look like a winner product with a sensible price tag as well.

According to Mac Daily News Apple's MacBook sales have bounced up in June (the 2nd month they went on sale) and Apple are due to sell over 2M MacBooks and iBooks in 2006, plus 1M MacBook Pro's, which would represent a 39% increase in Apple laptop sales over 2005.

It may be that the MacBook proves to be Apple's arrowhead when it comes to fighting the market share war against Windows only PC's. The fact that their new Intel computers run both Apple's OS/X and Windows may finally get Apple into decent market share territory for the first time in a long, long time!