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Archives: May 2008

Of the Olympics, Video Fingerprinting and Nationalism

Posted by: Peter Burrows on May 29, Categories: video

The Olympics may be a time for the nations of the world to come together. But evidently, they don't put aside hometown favoritism when it comes to choosing technology vendors....

Can Start-Ups Make Money Off Of Mobile Web?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28, Categories: wireless

Mobile Internet is viewed as the next big thing in wireless today. Lots of start-ups are getting funded, lots of new mobile Web companies are opening up. And yet, Web entrepreneur Joi Ito just posted a blog questioning whether it will be possible for entrepreneurs to make money off of the mobile Web.

Will Sony's Cable Deal Kill the Set Top Box?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 28, Categories: TV

A deal allows Sony to build cable TV set top box capabilities into TVs and other products. But subsidies may keep the traditional set top box alive.

Google I/O: Window Into the Real Future of the Web

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 28, Categories: Google, Microsoft, software, software as service

Google's Web-based applications such as Gmail and Google Docs often look to casual observers like a tiny sideshow to the company's main event, which overwhelmingly remains search. Some folks even...

New England’s Inferiority Complex, Or Why Route 128 Lost its Mojo to Silicon Valley

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 28, Categories: venture capital

Posted May 28 by Creative Capital New England’s entrepreneurial community has developed a sort of inferiority complex. This is one of the things that struck me when I attended the...

Windows 7: Does Microsoft Have a Big Idea?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 28, Categories: Microsoft

What is going to give Windows 7, which Microsoft insists will be out in early 2010, its wow? At the D: All Things Digital Conference last night, Microsoft CEO Steve...

Are You a Mobile Web User?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 27, Categories: wireless

Do you use a smartphone to browse the Web? I'd love to talk to you about your experience for a story. Please e-mail me at Thanks for your help!

A Solar-Powered iPhone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 27, Categories: Apple

A new patent filing suggests that Apple may be investigating making a solar-powered iPhone. It won't be the first company to try and integrate solar power capabilities into a phone: Motorola has looked at making a solar-powered phone for the past several years. But such a phone is yet to hit the market.

GE Cameras: Taking On The World

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 23, Categories: consumer electronics

Last May a company called General Imaging, headed by former president of camera maker Olympus Imaging, Hiroshi Komiya, began selling digital cameras under General Electric's brand. Today, I caught up with Rene Buhay, GI's senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas. And while GE is abandoning appliances, and many camera makers are leaving the crowded digital cameras space, this business seems to be doing well. "The sales are growing fast," Buhay says. "We are expanding rapidly."

Yahoo Delays Annual Meeting, Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 22, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

Yahoo just announced in an SEC filing this afternoon that it's delaying its annual meeting to the end of July, from a previously scheduled date of July 3. Yahoo also...

Google's Travel Plans

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on May 22, Categories: Google

Google has travel plans. The search giant is expanding its travel offering. Could GTravel be in our future?

Easier Access to Netflix Downloads

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 22, Categories: video

In my current column, I complain that the Netflix Web site makes it difficult to find which movies are available for streaming. Netflix has made some significant improvements to the...

Is Microsoft's New Deal Proposal Really a Signal to Yahoo Shareholders?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 21, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo

My colleague Jay Greene, who covers Microsoft out of Seattle, had some thoughts on Microsoft's surprising May 15 announcement that it's talking with Yahoo about a deal short of a...

Facebook To Overhaul User Profile Design

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 21, Categories: Facebook, social networks

Facebook is about to do a big redesign of the face that its users present to their friends and the public. (Sample of the feed page below.) Right now, the...

Another Sign 3G iPhone is Near?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 21, Categories: Apple

AT&T announced today that it will complete the roll-out of its new high-speed wireless network, which offers uplink speeds of 500 Kbps to 800 Kbps, in June. Incidentally, June is also the month when many expect Apple to release its new iPhone, able to run over the new network. Co-incidence? I don't think so.

Moblyng: Mobilizing Multimedia

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 21, Categories: wireless

I talked to an interesting company this morning. Moblyng, which received $5.7 million in funding from MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures and Deep Fork Capital today, allows consumers to mobilize existing social media like Slide and RockYou slide shows, YouTube videos and MySpace videos slide shows and photo albums.

Microsoft Tries to Get Search Traffic by Paying Users

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 21, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Search, Yahoo, advertising

Microsoft on Wednesday is launching its latest attempt to make a dent in Google's dominant market share in search and raise its currently single-digit percentage of search queries: Live Search...

Netflix Hitting Its Online Stride?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 20, Categories: TV

Couch potatoes rejoice? Not just yet. Movie rental company Netflix just introduced a $99 set-top box capable of streaming movies over the Internet directly to televisions in the home. The...

If Microsoft Is in the Driver's Seat, Why Isn't It Driving the Car?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 19, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

At Google's Zeitgeist conference in Hertfordshire, England, today, the search giant's trio at the top said they're meeting tonight to discuss how to respond to the new possibility of a...

One Fifth of Americans Have Never Used E-Mail

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 19, Categories: Web

We keep talking about Web 1.0 and Web. 2.0. But the fact is, a huge percentage of America has never been to a Web of any kind. One fifth of Americans have never used e-mail, according to a recent survey by consultancy Parks Associates.

Microsoft Proposes Search Deal With Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 18, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Search, Yahoo, advertising

Microsoft has proposed to Yahoo that it ally on a "transaction" that is something short of the full acquisition that Microsoft abandoned on May 3. Although the companies aren't detailing...

Facebook Pulls Out of Google Friend Connect

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 16, Categories: Facebook

Google's new Friend Connect initiative is in trouble. On May 15, Facebook effectively pulled out of the Google Friend Connect service, which links social networks and traditional Web sites. That puts Google's social networking plans in jeopardy.

Will Someone Take on Philly Wi-Fi?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 16, Categories: wireless

On May 19, Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Green will address his local chapter of global wireless networking group Mobile Monday. The title of his speech: "Why and how Philadelphia must react to EarthLink’s pullout." What I thought was interesting is that reps from Motorola, AT&T and several other wireless technology companies are going to be present at that meeting.

What If Microsoft Doesn't Want Icahn's Yahoo!

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 16, Categories: Yahoo

Time to play let's pretend. Assume that Carl Icahn wins his proxy fight and installs his board at Yahoo! with the express intent of selling the company to Microsoft. But...

Yahoo Fires Back at Icahn: Carl, You Ignorant Slut...

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 15, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

Just hours after billionaire financier Carl Icahn launched a battle to replace Yahoo’s board and get the Internet icon back into talks with onetime suitor Microsoft, Yahoo has fired back....

Biting the Hand That Fed You

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 15, Categories: Yahoo

If there is one person in the world who would seem to have reason to be grateful to Yahoo!, it's Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. After all, it was Yahoo!...

EDS Deal: Good or Bad Move for HP's Ann Livermore

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 15, Categories:

Written by Arik Hesseldahl One of the questions making the rounds today in the wake of Hewlett-Packard's deal to acquire tech services firm EDS was what this all means for...

Icahn's Going for It: Launches Proxy Fight Against Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 14, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo

So corporate raider Carl Icahn will indeed launch a proxy fight against Yahoo and its board, according to Reuters and the Journal. No details at this point except that a...

RIP, Free Muni Wi-Fi

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 14, Categories: wireless

Earthlink's announcement that it was throwing in the towel on an ambitious plan to bring public Wi-Fi to the entire city of Philadelphia marks the end of a glorious, but...

It’s Even More Official: Social Networking is Hard to Monetize

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 13, Categories: Social Media

Looks like monetizing social networks is going to be harder than people thought, as we recently warned our readers. Today, on May 13, research firm eMarketer lowered its forecast for...

Carl Icahn Keeps Yahoo in Play

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 13, Categories: Yahoo

Ten days after escaping a bear hug from Microsoft, Yahoo hasn't completely won its independence yet. Billionaire financier Carl Icahn is looking at launching a proxy fight against Yahoo's board,...

Android Developer Challenge, Round One

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 13, Categories: wireless

The results are in. Google has published a list of 50 applications that a panel of some 100 jusges selected of 1,800 entries from 75 countries. These applications are deigned to run on top of the new Android operating system for mobile phones, the first of which will debut in the second half of the year.

Is HP-EDS Deal About the Cloud or the Heavy Metal?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 13, Categories: Cloud Computing, Data Centers, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, computers

Judging from Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd's conference call this morning, ably reported by Between the Lines' Larry Dignan, HP's $14 billion purchase of Electronic Data Systems is all about cutting...

Finally, a Sign of Online Ad Weakness

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 13, Categories: advertising

When Google reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Apr. 17, a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on online advertising breathed a sigh of relief. Even Yahoo, whose bread-and-butter is not...

The Future of the Past (Blade Runner Edition)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 12, Categories: Curmudgeonly

The other evening, having nothing better to do, I headed over to one of my favorite places, the American Film Institutes's Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., for a screening...

Hewlett-Packard's Mark Hurd About to Make His Big Move?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12, Categories: Hewlett-Packard, IBM, outsourcing

With the big exception of that pretexting scandal in 2006, Hewlett-Packard has kept a remarkably low profile under CEO Mark Hurd. That may be about to change shortly, as the...

EarthLink vs. City of Philadelphia

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 12, Categories: wireless

Philadelphia's Wi-Fi project is in jeopardy. Over the past year, Wi-Fi builder EarthLink has exited a number of municipal Wi-Fi projects claiming they were unprofitable. Now, it appears that the company is preparing to exit its most ambitious municipal Wi-Fi project: Philly. But the city isn't about to let that happen without a fight.

Not-Just-A-Search-Engine Powerset Launches Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 12, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Powerset, Search

After a couple of years of anticipation, the upstart search engine-plus Powerset is launching on Monday to the public in limited form--limited not just in being in beta test but...

The BlackBerry Bold (ex-9000) Finally Arrives

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 11, Categories: mobile computing

More than one pundit has already called the BlackBerry Bold (known during development as the BlackBerry 9000) an “iPhone killer.” But that’s not the mission of the new super-BlackBerry announced...

News Corp/Google Eyeing blinkx?

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on May 09, Categories:

Is blinkx looking to sell? Speculation that News Corp., Google, and others have their sights on the video search engine--traded on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker BLNX--sent shares...

FTC to Police Wireless Content?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 09, Categories: wireless

At a meeting yesterday, a Federal Trade Commission commissioner said his agency intends to start policing wireless content offers. The commissioner wants mobile content sellers to provide more diclosure related to the games and video service's price. Think of it as Surgeon General's warning on a pack of cigarettes. That's good news for consumers -- but bad news for carriers and content providers.

LIVEBLOGGING: Schmidt, Page, and Brin Happy About Failed Microsoft-Yahoo Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 08, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

I'm sort of liveblogging a talk that Google honchos Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page is having with reporters before the company's annual meeting. I'll post their comments in...


Posted by: Catherine Holahan on May 08, Categories: Twitter

Will people still micro-blog in the future and, if so, will they do it on twitter? My colleague Stephen Baker is exploring these questions and he is turning to the...

Vonage Earnings: A Mixed Bag

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 08, Categories: VOIP

Vonage's earnings are a mixed bag. Churn is up, subscriber growth is down. But there are also plenty of good signs as well.

That Cash Sure Is Burning a Hole in Ballmer's Pocket

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 07, Categories: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

After deciding not to spend $22 billion or so of its cash to buy Yahoo, now there's word in Kara Swisher's Boomtown blog that Microsoft is interested in buying the...

Google: FCC Must Clarify Open Access

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 06, Categories: wireless auction

What does wireless open access mean? Google sees the definition as very different than Verizon Wireless. And Google is now asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take sides and clarify its so-called "open access" requirements, imposed onto a chunk of spectrum recently purchased by Verizon Wireless. Open access dictates that consumers using the spectrum should be able to use devices and applications of their choice. But while that may seem self explanatory, it's not. As always, the devil is in the details.

Stop the Presses! Yahoo Sets Annual Meeting!

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 05, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo

I never thought I'd write about something so mundane as a company setting its annual meeting of shareholders. But in Yahoo's case, it's actually reasonably big news, because the now-aborted...

Jerry Yang Speaks: Mixed Feelings on Microsoft Pullout, Doesn't Rule Out Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 05, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

I got a few minutes to talk with Jerry Yang today, so in the interests of passing along his so-far rare thoughts ASAP and provide Yahoo's side at a...

T-Mobile USA: Android Coming in Q4

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 05, Categories: wireless

Is support for Google's Android strengthening or waning? T-Mobile USA says it plans to put out "a new device" running Android in the fourth quarter of this year. But what about other carriers?

T-Mobile Limps Into 3G Service

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 05, Categories: wireless

T-Mobile launched it's long awaited 3G service in New York today, but subscribers should be forgiven if they are left wondering just what the excitement is about. Beyond being limited...

Will Yahoo's Stock Plunge Send Yang Crawling Back to Microsoft?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 05, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

After Microsoft pulled its offer to buy Yahoo for at least $33 a share, Yahoo's stock has fallen this morning from Friday's $28.67 close to around $24.50 a share. That's...

Microsoft Walks from Yahoo Deal; Ball’s In Your Court, Jerry

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 04, Categories: Microsoft

Wow. I can’t believe Microsoft actually walked away from the Yahoo! deal. But while I am truly surprised, I believe Steve Ballmer made the right call. I’ve said from the...

Microsoft Drops Yahoo Bid--At Least For Now

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 03, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

Microsoft announced it's dropping its unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo late Saturday afternoon. (The announcement and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's letter to Yahoo CEO and cofounder Jerry Yang, as well...

Microsoft-Yahoo Talks Intensifying. What a Surprise.

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 02, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo

Forgive me if I feel like I'm coming down with a case of whiplash. First, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says he might walk away from his company's unsolicited bid...

Updated 2--Excel 2007 Still Can't Add

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 02, Categories: Microsoft

SECOND UPDATE 5/5 4 pm EDT Commenter Anthony Jones is absolutely correct--it's a floating-point rounding error, described in Microsoft Knowledge Base article 214118. The article offers a couple of workarounds,...

Microsoft May Go Hostile, Yahoo May Announce Google Search Deal

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 01, Categories: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

After a pretty quiet several weeks, the Microsoft-Yahoo battle is suddenly getting a lot louder. After Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said early Thursday he might walk out on its offer...

Ballmer Talks the Walk But Keeps Door Open

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 01, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo

In Steve Ballmer's town hall meeting/call this morning, reported on Silicon Alley Insider, the Microsoft CEO said he wouldn't pay a penny more than Yahoo is worth. He didn't say,...

Whither WiMAX?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 01, Categories: wireless

The wait for a U.S. commercial launch of the new WiMAX mobile broadband technology may finally be coming to an end. Struggling Sprint Nextel has repeatedly pushed back its planned...

iPhone = Free Wi-Fi

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 01, Categories: wireless

Exclusive U.S. iPhone seller, AT&T, is supposedly offering buyers of the Apple gadgets a really sweet deal: They can access all AT&T Wi-Fi locations for free. Do you know, can you still use AT&T's hot spots if you use an unlocked iPhone?


BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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