It seems to be an agreed-upon point of view within the Digirati crowd that AT&T is killing the iPhone. If “killing” is not your bowl of soup, then we can substitute “is highly detrimental,” “the Achilles heel,” or “the main reason I switched to another smartphone.” But aside from the few high-profile and outspoken members of the Digirati community, what real reasons exist to prove that AT&T is really the “dark side” in the relationship? In this article, I dissect the great plethora of FUD, bogus, and unfounded claims about AT&T wireless as it relates to the Apple iPhone. Read more »
Posted in ATT
As a member of the geek community, I tend to get asked a lot of tech questions. As soon as people see the screen on my iPhone, the first question I get is “Wow! How did you do that?” I have non-standard icons, an awesome unlock screen, and the ability to answer texts without unlocking the phone. Should you jailbreak? What is jailbreaking? Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each. Read more »
Posted in App Store
Facebook has announced its acquisition of real-time social network site FriendFeed. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
This is unmistakably a move to become more “real-time” and more competitive with Twitter. FriendFeed never caught on with the mainstream public like Facebook has, instead being used by passionate tech fans the world over. The social network was the first to deploy true real-time updates – which didn’t require a page refresh to update information. It did so all while maintaining a very clean interface. Sites like Facebook regularly “adopted” (read: aped) these features.
As part of the deal, FriendFeed will continue to operate on its own and all FriendFeed employees will join the Facebook team. Most importantly, Facebook will be able to call on FriendFeed cofounders — ex-Google executives – Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit. As Facebook realized the true power of real-time networks (real-time search), it tried to acquire Twitter. That deal fell through.
I expect FriendFeed to operate independently for the next six months to a year, at which point the stand-alone service will be discontinued and FriendFeed’s features be rolled into those of Facebook. To become more relevant in the land of real-time, however, Facebook will need to do much more on the side of mobility, giving users a bigger incentive to plug information into the social network on their cell phones. Currently, Twitter dominates that space, with an abundance of mobile apps for multiple mobile platforms.
Full press release: Read more »
Posted in Acquisitions
, Social Networking
, Web 2.0
Back in 2008, Microsoft announced Office Web Applications – the web-based version of its ever-popular productivity suite – Microsoft Office. We’ve come across more details recently, with the beta release of Office 2010: the online suite will be made up of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, will be capable of synchronizing with the desktop, will be platform and browser-independent, but will contain less features than the desktop versions of those programs. That should not be an issue, however, since most Office users use very few features in Office.
The suite will be available to everyone for free via Windows Live and to corporate users through different distribution channels. Since the announcement, such questions as “How would this affect Google Docs/Apps and the Zoho office suite?” have been widely discussed topics. Let’s take a pragmatic look at what we should really expect from Office Web Applications. Read more »
Posted in Apps
, Web apps
RadioShack is undergoing a major rebranding that will change the company’s forward-facing name to “The Shack.” The name change may hint at a new direction for the company, venturing into the general home electronics space thus far occupied by general technology retailer Best Buy. How will the move impact RadioShack and will it be a success? Read more »
Posted in Business
This was to be expected: Google CEO Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple’s board today, citing a conflict of interest. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.”
For quite some time, Apple and Google have been serving the same markets:
- Web-based email, calendaring, and contact lists: Apple’s MobileMe and Google’s Gmail/Calendar/Contacts
- Cellular phones: Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android
- Browsers: Apple Safari, Google Chrome
- Productivity applications: Apple’s iWork online and Google’s Docs
- Most recently, Google has announced that it will enter the desktop OS space with Chrome OS, which would compete head-on with the Mac OS
When initial whispers regarding the effectiveness of Mr. Schmidt on Apple’s board began to spread, many analysts pointed out that even though the two companies compete in many spaces, they have different business models for the aforementioned products: Apple charges a premium price while Google either gives its products and services away for free or doesn’t charge an OEM a fee for a license (in the case of Android and Chrome OS). As I’ve stated on our daily bit podcast before, this argument holds no merit: different business models or not, most consumers will end up purchasing only one of the above products/services – either an iPhone or a Google Android-based device. That is, unless the consumer has unlimited amounts of resources (read: money) – in which case the simple rules of economics no longer apply. The same goes for the rest of the markets in which the two companies have overlapping products/services. Now that any conflicts of interest are out of the way, I see the two companies becoming more competitive, especially in the following areas:
- Mobility: enhanced multitouch support on Google Android-based devices should more closely compete with the iPhone
- Productivity: Apple’s iWork online suite being made available as a standalone product to directly compete with Google Docs
- Operating Systems: Google’s Chrome OS not withholding any punches versus Mac OS X
Yet one has to wonder what words were exchanged between Jobs and Schmidt when Apple booted all Google Voice-related apps from its App Store last week. Would that alone have been a reason for Schmidt to step down as Apple board member? Most likely, not. But it must have played a role in his overall decision. Full press release after the break, if you’re interested: Read more »
Posted in Apple
, Eric Schmidt
, Industry News
, Steve Jobs
You have an idea for a business. What’s the next thing you should do? Write a business plan?
According to Kevin Ryan, ex-CEO of DoubleClick and founder of six start-ups, the answer is a resounding “no.” Kevin’s advice is that writing a business plan – while helpful – won’t be as useful as putting together some seed money and starting the business. Kevin also advises not to work with an investor if he is going over the details of your financial model too closely: it’s a sign that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Watch the man say it himself below!
I agree with Kevin for the most part! Sometimes, however, it’s useful to put together a plan of action, rather than a full-fledged business plan. Doing so will make the entrepreneur think of certain details that s/he has not yet thought of, and allow for making decisions in a proactive, rather than in a reactive matter.
Posted in Biz Tip
This post is a part of the Yahoo! gets Microsoftified series – where we cover the facts, points of view, and details of the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal. To see all posts of the series, click here. More posts are coming soon!
This morning, Yahoo and Microsoft announced a 10-year search deal that will see the two companies join forces to take on Google. Basically, Microsoft’s technology will power Yahoo’s search results, while Yahoo will be charged with selling ads for both companies’ search sites. Here are the facts:
- Yahoo is outsourcing search on its web properties to Microsoft
- Microsoft is providing the technology (Bing), while Yahoo will deliver the worldwide sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers
- Ad sales will be handled by Microsoft’s AdCenter sales tool
- Microsoft is getting the reach (scale) that Yahoo has with its web properties while Yahoo is getting superior technology and the ability to save by not having a dedicated search team
- The companies will share resources and combine engineering efforts
- Combined, the two companies make up 30% of the search market, compared to Google – which still controls more than twice that amount
- The deal is for a time period of 10 years Read more »
Posted in Bing
, Industry News
Late last week, Google announced that its Latitude location-aware service is now available on the iPhone. Latitude is a location-aware mobile app, similar to services offered by Loopt and brightkite.
Latitude has been available for Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry (most models with color screens), and Symbian S60 devices for five months, making the iPhone/iPod Touch the latest mobile device compatible with the service. Unlike on all the other major mobile platforms that have a standalone Latitude app, iPhone users must run the service inside the Safari browser. As such, it has received criticism of being crippled and worthless. Read more »
Posted in Apple
, Industry News
We all love Apple. Well, most of us do. The last few years, especially since the Vista launch, modern media has pushed on us the virtues of owning a Mac. Most of the top names in the tech blogosphere use Macs, and support almost all of Apple’s products. Leo Laporte, Ryan Block, and Peter Rojas are all self-admitted Macs (though they all come clean to using PCs). The “in” thing to do in the industry is to be a Mac. While this may put Apple in a position to become the leader in the PC industry, there are several reasons as to why Apple doesn’t want to and cannot do so.
Apple has long been the underdog of the PC industry. Right before Steve Jobs’ return as iCEO, we can see that this was for a good reason. Apple’s product line-up was a mess and the company was suffering through its worst years ever. Apple started out as a company that was all about the ability to “Think Different.” With Jobs’ return to Apple, this concept was embraced again, and the company started producing computers for the people. The original iMac and iBook are perfect examples: a colored and translucent computer was all about style and appealed to a younger audience. On the other hand, Windows PCs of the day were still considered the computers of choice amongst the tech elite and the business world.
Cut to today
Apple’s lineup of computers is amazing, to say the least. An Apple computer represents the latest and greatest in hardware: processors, graphics cards, RAM, connectivity technology, and enclosure engineering are all top-notch. The Mac lineup caters to both personal and business users and does so with extreme precision. Yet Apple is still the underdog of the personal computer market, having approximately 10% of U.S. market share. And this is exactly where the company needs to and wants to be, give or take a few percentage points.
One of Apple’s greatest strengths is its ability to manufacture both the software and the hardware that combine to make an amazing piece of machinery which outperforms all competition. But this level of performance comes at a price: the company’s second-greatest strength is the margin it enjoys. The last bevy of financial reports have pegged profit margin in the area of 30% or higher. Compared to rival companies such as Dell and HP, that’s an astounding number! It has turned Apple into a company that’s not only debt-free, but one that also enjoys tens of billion of dollars in the bank (and other short-term investments). But why can Apple charge so much more for its computers while other companies try so hard to earn even a 5 percent margin? Read more »
Posted in Apple
, Operating Systems
, Windows 7
, Windows Vista