Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google buy JotSpot and continue march to all-free Web applications

Google has just announced buying JotSpot, the leader in Wiki applications and online collaboration tools.

They have shut the JotSpot service down to new users until Google integrate them with their systems. JotSpot will likely stop charging for their services and make money by selling ads within free hosted Wiki applications.

If Google integrate JotSpot with Docs & Spreadsheets and Blogger.com, your average user could get ever closer to building their own, rich websites and website applications.

Smart move Google, and yet again, beware Microsoft!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Will Yahoo buy AOL?

The business rumor mill is spinning with the news that Yahoo may be trying to buy AOL. Could it be true?

It could well be, after all Yahoo shares have been as soggy as my kids nappies for most of this year so CEO Semel needs to do something.

And Time Warner need to increasingly focus on creating content and might be better off as a minority owner in a merged Yahoo/AOL business which would instantly become the worlds numero uno portal by a long way.

And hanging over Semel's head is the Microsoft guillotine. If Yahoo does not do something, Microsoft may end up eating them. Which is not a pretty picture.

The easiest option might be for Yahoo to try and remain independent, but it may be too late for that, the big Internet players have reached a point of maturity where consolidation should become the name of the game.

If so, Yahoo would be better off as a leader than follower. Better buccaneer than schmuck(aneer).

Verizon prove fixed telephony is stuffed and wireless as hot as an Indian curry!

Verizon today proved yet again that the fixed line business is as stuffed as Saddam Hussein's trial while the mobile sector is shining like his bald patch (or is it a wig).

They feel extremely clever about having delivered higher quarterly revenues than Cingular Wireless. Less clever is the fact Verizon Wireless is jointly owned with the UK's Vodafone and they would have to pay a fortune to buy them out!

Both residential and business telephony shrunk - so maybe they should think about buying into Internet telephony. How about going after Vonage? (Aren't they quiet of late).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Microsoft finally kicking ass again - or are they?

Microsoft proved they can still kick ass with the best of them as they announced an 11% increase in both revenues and earnings (that seems a little coincidental?) in the latest quarter.

The Xbox proved the star attraction (no, that's not a space game) thanks to the endless delay in Sony's Playstation 3 (how's its batteries looking?) and a slew of new products in the server division.

Meanwhile Microsoft promise that next year will be even hotter thanks to Vista and Office 07 which at least will be available in 07. We think, they promise, promise..!

Microsoft were a little less noisy about the fact that their Internet division went backwards. Revenues slipped and losses mounted. Mind you, they have so much (cash that is) - who cares?

Just Google!

Fon.com dishing out free Wi-Fi routers!

Fon, the Spanish Wi-Fi-for-everyone start-up has come up with a great wheeze for cashing in on free Wi-Fi routers. Buy a plane ticket to San Francisco and they'll give you one free starting lunch time today (and only today).

For the rest of us go down your local BestBuy and shell out $60 for a Linksys router.

And San Francisco is so nice this time of year.

Microsoft exec heading for Space!

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer (now there's a mouthful),

"While training to become the next tourist in space, Charles Simonyi was delighted to see that the hundreds of pages of Russian documentation onboard the spacecraft were written using Microsoft Word.

After all, he led the Microsoft team that invented the popular software."

Lets hope the space craft isn't as buggy as Microsoft software! And a little faster...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sony announces disastrous results

Sony's latest results were about as depressing as a ski slope in the spring today as net profits were down a gob smacking 94%.

The battery recalls and delays in the launch of PlayStation 3 are destroying Stringers attempt at turning the old battleship around.

They've got a long way to go now!

Oracle takes on Red Hat!

Oracle today announced they would make available their own version of the open-source operating system under the new “Unbreakable Linux” brand.

They also said they would offer bug fixes and full support for the software at a lower price than that charged by Red Hat, the biggest Linux company.

And they promise that their version will be identical to that of Red Hat.

Is that legal? It seems so. Such are the perils of open-source!

Jack "straight from the gut" Welch after the Boston Globe

Jack "straight from the gut" Welch is apparently considering a bid for the Boston Globe which is currently owned by the New York Times.

Given how the Internet is ravaging traditional media and newspapers in particular it is hard to understand how this would be a "Winning" move for the ex head of GE.

But the New York Times may be desperate enough!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Amazon spanks revenues while crunching profits - Oops!

Amazon today smacked out a whacking 25% increase in quarterly revenues, but a depressing (if your an investor) 37% drop in profits.

But they promise they'll be good boys and gals going forwards and spend less on technology and new products/services like their all new video/music-one-day service Amazon Unbox.

Their shares popped up 11% proving how little faith investors have in Amazon's R&D efforts!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Firefox V2 hotter than a cats ass on fire!

The Mozilla Foundation (no its not a league for dinosaurs!) today launched Version 2 of their browser, Firefox, and its hotter than a cats ass on fire as demonstrated in their logo! (OK so its a fox!)

Their launch comes on the back of Microsoft's latest version of Explorer (7) and it looks like Mozilla may have beaten them yet again on features, security and general WOW cooltito, kiss my cats ass, smoothy factor.

For me the look and feel is better, tabbed browsing is improved and finally spell check is 'in your face'.

Downloading was a bit messy but who's counting.

Google launches custom search!

According to CNET's News.com today:

"A new Google tool will let people use Google's search platform to create search engines focused on the content of their choice.

With the Google Custom Search Engine, announced by the company on Monday, Web site and blog publishers can provide custom results most relevant to their readers, incorporating a site's online community and its ability to provide contextual ads. The customized search engines can also be tailored to aesthetically match any Web site."

And if any of you can understand a single word of the above you get a TechBoard t-shirt.

The rest should go to Google Custom Search!

Sony Reader does for ebooks what the Palm Pilot did for PDA's - not a lot!

The Sony Reader is now available and its well, underwhelming!

Check out CNET News.com's video both reviewing and demonstrating the reader and you'll get why.

Its about as sexy as an old Palm Pilot and its, well, black and white!!

For more disappointment check out Sony Connect - the supposed iTunes for music, movies and ebooks! Killer? Not a chance.

I guess we'll have to wait for the Apple iBook to get into the game. Shame. Could it follow the iPhone as a major new product release for Apple in 2007. Oh please!

Sony announce they might lose market share in battery business - der yeah!

According to Reuters today:

Sony Corp said ... that a recall of up to 9.6 million of its personal computer batteries was overwhelming its production capacity and warned it could lose some business to its rivals.

Der yeah! Its about as likely as Jeff Skilling going to jail. 100 percento!

Monday, October 23, 2006

AT&T kicks big IPTV ass!

AT&T says they are kicking bag IPTV ass (who isn't) and are now planning to launch their hi-definition version of the apparently popular Internet TV service called U-verse (God knows why?).

It'll be available across 15 US metropolitan areas by year end and according to trial users in Texas "its as hot as mustard".

The fact that they are in such a remote part of Texas that cable hasn't reached them yet has absolutely nothing to do with the positive results.

AT&T have been quick to point out that they can finally whoop cable companies back in the xxx!

Big Blue sues Amazon!

IBM has decided to aim their big ass blue guns at poor little ol' (yeah right) Amazon as they are a little narked at the e-commerce sites abuse of one of their few gazillion patents.

Amazon seem to violate 5 IBM patents, including technologies that govern how the site handles customer recommendations, advertising and data storage. (Zzzzzzzz...)

IBM swears that they have been trying to negotiate with Amazon for a bunch of years and that "they are reasonable people," (IBM folk of course).

In the mean time IBM keeps rockin' out ever more patents, they received 2,941 US patents in 2005, for the 13th year more than any other company.

Their 'Patents' division now earns more than $1bn a year, which means many more company's can look forward to getting their asses sued by Big Blue!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sony unveil PlayStation 3 - does it rock?

Sony today kicked the formal PlayStation 3 marketing wheel into action in San Francisco.

And it looks cool - even if still somewhat over-priced. So, if you don't mind paying laptop prices, its the one for you.

And it'll take you online for free (un)like a notebook, even giving you a (Opera) browser, photo and video playback, messaging, basic social networking (whatever that means) and more.

Oh and there will be games available at launch - they promise - in fact 24 in all.

Plus the first 500,000 PlayStation 3's will include a free film with Colin Farrell - thanks to Sony Pictures (funny that).

Do you get value for money given that it costs nearly twice as much as the Nintendo Wii (Wee)? Probably not, but its a PlayStation so who cares!

Google kick competition into touch!

Google kicked major butt in its latest quarter as revenues soared 70% and net earnings nearly doubled.

In fact all key dials are pointing in the right direction and Google continues to dominate the search market not just in the US but increasingly around the world.

So how does Google continue to grow at this rate?

Who the hell knows!! (Just kidding.)

The real answer is they need more MySpace type partnerships, More YouTube style deals, they need to keep extending their ad network to include more media types (including radio and video) and they need to improve the Google portal and monetize the endless stream of products and services they have launched for both consumers and companies.

Easy really...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Apple hotter than ever - driving the REAL media revolution

Why is Apple so damned cool right now?

They keep defying gravity when it comes to share price, innovation and growth. But how do they do it?

Well, its simple.

Steve Jobs while at Pixar gained an appreciation for digital media and recognised early that the entire media landscape was about to go through a once in a lifetime seismic shift. And that shift was one where the creation of media, that used to be funded and controlled by a small band of elite, corporate film studios, TV networks and analogue publishers, would be unlocked.

The content creators of tomorrow would be EVERYONE, professional and amateur alike, each producing to their level, with personal creativity and drive the only boundary.

So, when he returned to Apple half a dozen years ago, he set about providing consumers with the new media tools that almost anyone could use. Hence they launched powerful iMacs with a suite of moron-proof, digital creation and management software called iLife.

Then he looked at the gandets that would transform the media capture process and ensured that they all just "plugged-in" to Apple devices like a power cable plugs into the wall. Camcorders, cameras, Hi-Fi's etc.

Then he threw Apple engineers and the Apple brand behind the hardware devices that would take digital media everywhere. First up they developed the broadband PC and laptop, then the iPod, then the Airport Wi-Fi/music station, then iTV, then the iPhone (to be launched January 2007).

So, now Apple has armed the pro-sumer to create tomorrow's digital content, delivering it direct to consumers via iTunes, blogging, iWeb, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr etc.

And that just leaves Google to provide the digital tools for the mass market amateur.

Together they are redifining and driving the REAL new media landscape where anyone, anywhere armed with an Apple computer and a broadband Internet connection can become the next John Grisham, Annie Liebowitz, Eminem, or build the next NY Times, Warner Music, ABC, BBC, Penguin Books, Christie's, or Reuters, from your own basement at almost no cost.

Just the cost of your time, your imagination and an iMac.

Sony collapsing under the weight of battery recall fiasco

Sony’s recovery prospects just took a major U-turn for the worse as it issued a profit warning and cut its annual forecast for operating income by 62% (!!) because of costs stemming from its faulty-battery recall.

But its not over yet!

Stringer's recovery plan has hit a gargantuan iceberg. Will he/Sony survive?

Tech giants report another mixed bag of results - what's up?

More tech giants announced their latest results today and it was another mixed bag, with AMD disappointing as Intel competition hit their margins, ebay improving a little and Apple blowing the market away.

Apple and Google (that report later this week) are proving to be the consistent winners in the tech universe.

Why? Because they both consistently innovate ahead of the market and know how to listen to and delight their customers. Innovation is the norm and speed/flexibility the name of the game.

Apple's iPod just keeps dominating and their all new Intel Macs have only one way to go - up. Probably right up to the point where they grab 20% of the PC market worldwide. But they'll need the iTV to revive the desktop space.

The iPhone mobile phone, to be launched at MacWorld in January will take them into an all new product category and a next wave of growth.

So, save some Xmas money for it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Verizon are at it too - dumping directories unit!

Ooh, now Verizon are doing it too! They've just announced demerging/dumping their directories business. (Which means Yell wouldn't pay up.)

Couldn't they have saved us all a bunch of time and just merged with Time Warner Cable?

Less investment banking fees, less companies to consolidate down the line, less depressed investors, less Internet downtrodden company spin-offs/dumpings!

... less for me to write about...

Time Warner Cable's gonna IPO!

Time Warner Cable is finally gonna spin off from Time Warner in a monster IPO.

Now that makes some sense and could even allow the No2 US cable company to be a leader in the consolidation of the cable industry, which lets face it, is its only defence against Internet video etc.

So, Carl baby Icahn was right about Time Warner spinning them off. Nice one Carl.

And we think its a good move too - at least for Time Warner, cos their future's about content creation - not delivery.

Where does that leave AOL? Oh, they'll get spun off next year. Then Time Warner have no excuses left.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tech giants stumble, falter and rise - its earnings kick-off!

Well, its the opening of the tech quarterly reporting season. Today saw Motorola, IBM, Intel and Yahoo all let their pants down!

And it was a mixed bag. IBM and Motorola are up. IBM thanks to cornering the tech services market and some savvy software company acquisitions and Motorola thanks to the Razr and somer nifty anacronysmic marketing with the Rokr, Slvr, Razr and all new Krzr (is that for cursor or CRAZY??).

Meanwhile Intel and Yahoo predictably sank, both weighed down by market share losses to their biggest respective competitors. At least Intel's performance was not as bad as some (analysts) expected.

Intel also has the benefit to come of a rash of new products (and whacky brands to boot) while Yahoo still does not have Facebook. They may need them after these results.

And Yahoo's losses are Google's gains. (Or is it the other way round??)

Apple iPhones coming in January

Analysts are predicting
that Apple will finally unveil two iPhone mobile phones in January at MacWorld.

A fully featured Apple smart phone plus a slimmer music phone. And they should roam across mobile and Wi-Fi networks.

I bet the analysts are right - and here's a video ad for one of them/a prototype!

The PC's dead - long live the smart phone!

Symbian's CEO today predicted that within 5 years PC's will be dying and the smart phone (obviously a Symbian powered smart phone) will be taking over the world.

Check it out, squeeze this link - at least for a laugh!

People have been predicting the PDA/smart phone would take over the world for about as long as it has continuously failed to do it - which is at least 25 years.

Could Symbian be right this time? Nearly - but not for at least another 15 years! That's our bet.

The Sony battery saga just gets worse and worse...

The Sony battery recall saga gets more proposterous by the day!

Now Sony themselves are asking consumers to return faulty Vaio's. Oh, my God, not their laptops as well.

But, of course it was OK when it was other manufacturers laptops. That just made the market feel fine about the whole thing!

And Sony Group is feeling the repercussions - admitting for the first time that they will have to restate earnings. Ouch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

CBS cuts exclusive Internet news deal with Yahoo!

CBS, fresh from a deal with YouTube, has today announced an exclusive local news deal with Yahoo!

Yahoo News users can expect to see 10 to 20 news videos a day, according to a statement from Yahoo. The clips will include feature pieces, as well as breaking news footage. Visitors will be able to search for local video using zip codes.

Nifty move from CBS, and the deal proves how fast the distribution of content is becoming fragmeneted and how Yahoo just keeps getting closer and closer to becoming one huge Internet cable company. Look out Comcast!

Steve Jobs on how the iPod won and why Zune will not!

Newsweek interviewed Steve Jobs this weekend on how the iPod won!

Oh, and the lively leader of Apple believes music is good for the sole (not the fish dummy), so long as you don't play it on a Zune.

Toshiba sue Sony!

Toshiba announced today that they may seek compensation from Sony for possible damage to its brand image and loss of potential sales due to a recall of Sony-made PC batteries in the latest blow to the electronics conglomerate.

They believe their brand is worth at least $10 and feel good about collecting the cash from Sony.

Vodafone goes hi-speed with HSDPA devices

Vodafone, the worlds largest international mobile operator, today unveiled their new line-up of 3G super-high-speed, practically broadband phones for this holiday season (am I allowed to say Xmas?).

The devices are exclusive to Vodafone (cheeky) and speedy as Gonzales on a caffeine binge.

They are all HSDPA enabled, (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), which could help mobile operators offer speeds of 1.8 megabits per second to start with, rising to as much as 14mbps soon, bringing broadband speeds to mobile devices. (FINALLY!!!!) Existing 3G networks at best offer Internet speeds of about 384 kilobits per second (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...).

Way to go Vodafone. Now you just need to get Vodafone Live working/off our screens and you're in business. And given your share price performance - get working!

Will Microsoft become the GE of the tech space?

Check out Steve Ballmers NY Times interview over the weekend.

"Is Windows near end of its run?" - or is Steve?

I don't know, but this picture doesn't exactly help. And Microsoft, the conglomerate style dinosaur of the software industry - can it really become the GE of the tech space?

Well, IBM nearly did - so Microsoft may even pull it off. That's out tip of the day.

Oh, and p.s. - Google will one day become the conglomerate of the Internet!! But sshhh...

A wind turbine on every roof - now that's the future!

The latest fad could be wind turbines on your roof. And no, that does not mean you have to stand on your house and let rip!

But, the UK government has just put up over $150M to develop the concept of wind turbines on houses fuelling (pun intended) their annual heating requirements.

One South Londoner already has a turbine on his roof and it does him nicely. Ooh, can I have a cup of tea?

And it does take the idea of organic tea to a whole new level!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Its cool to be RED thanks to Bono & Jobs!

Apple today launched the iPod Nano RED - and the 4GB device retails at $199 of which $10 goes to Bono's stop AIDS in Africa appeal.

Go on, do some good this weekend and buy a Nano RED, then head to the GAP, Emporio Armani, and a Motorola store making sure to use your RED Amex Card.

Help cure AIDS.

Its cool to be RED again - and you don't even have to be a commie to achieve it!

Vista all set to go - REALLY!

Microsoft today announced that Vista is ready to go for business customers next month and as a result for consumers in January. No more delays! Honest. Honest...

And they believe they comply with the EU's potential objections re anti-competitive behavior with the security companies, Adobe and of course Google (tee hee).

Mind you Microsoft's view of complying and competitors/EU's view of complying are often as far apart as a Palestinian and a Jew! Let's see.

Google's Schmidt on YouTube, Facebook and the future of video on the Internet

Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, is featured at FT.com today supposedly commenting on the news in general under their new 'View from the Top' Internet series.

Instead he (not surprisingly) barks on about Google's recent acquisition of YouTube (which, granted, is newsworthy!) and is careful to tell everyone that the acquisition does not pit Google against traditional media company. That's being done by b-uncut!

He dodged the question of who will lose in the video on the Internet seachange - when the real answer of course is media company laggards and traditional distributors such as cable and satellite companies. Oh, and TV networks had better watch out too!