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Archives: February 2009

Facebook: Not in the Clear

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on February 27, Categories: Facebook

You can’t please all the people all the time. But has Facebook, in opening a public “comment period” on its new and improved, proposed terms of service, assuaged the groups...

Safari 4: First Impressions

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 26, Categories: Apple

For a long time, the Web browser was something of a poor relation in Apple's OS X. It's easy to forget that the primary browser in the first version of...

UPDATED WITH DETAILS: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Revamps Management

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 26, Categories: Yahoo

New CEO Carol Bartz just announced in a detail-free blog post the much-anticipated shakeup of Yahoo's management ranks. Although she didn't say what the reorganization would involve beyond making the...

Authors' Guild Way Off Base on Kindle

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 25, Categories:

For obvious reasons, I am as sympathetic as anyone to authors' desire to make a living. But that said, the Authors' Guild [UPDATED original misidentified organization as the Writers' Guild]...

A Milestone for $2 Billion in Debt Paid Off

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 24, Categories:

When I wrote a cover story on in summer of 2000, Can Amazon Make It?, I was uncomfortable with the implication of the cover language that there was a...

The Gmail Outage: How Reliable Is Reliable? (UPDATED)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 24, Categories: Google

Update, Thursday Feb. 26 I can't claim credit for this, but Google has followed my suggestion and implemented a status dashboard for its various services. (Thanks to TechCrunch for the...

Motorola Sells Good Technology

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 24, Categories: Motorola

When I read that Motorola has sold its Good Technology division today, an alarm went off in my head. Good Technology staffers have been at the heart of Android development at Motorola. For months now, they've been working on new phones built around the Android operating system, developed by a slew of companies including Google. Motorola's execs have touted Android-based phones as their future, as the products that will pull the company out of the mess it is in. But now, Motorola is selling Good? What is going on?

Games in the Cloud?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on February 24, Categories: games

One of the biggest downsides to playing most games is their lack of portability. Generally, you have to sit in front of the same screen on which you launched the...

Gmail Back After Major Outage

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 24, Categories: Google

Gmail service seems to be mostly restored after a major worldwide failure took it down for more than three hours this morning. Although a status update on the Gmail...

Major Gmail Outage (Updated)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 24, Categories: Google

UPDATE: 8 am EST Gmail seems to be partially back up, with many users reporting strange errors. I just got in but only after filling out a CAPTCHA because Google...

Mobile Apps: A Waste of Money?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 23, Categories: wireless

Pinch Media just published an interesting report: It claims that only 30% of iPhone owners who buy an app use it the next day. Fewer than 5% of people use the app after 20 days.

The Times on Kindle: The Next Best Thing to Paper

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 23, Categories:

Last month, Silicon Valley Insider’s Nicholas Carlson did some math and concluded that The New York Times would be better off if it stopped printing the paper and gave each...

Andreessen & Friedman: Start-ups and VCs to the Rescue!

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 23, Categories: venture capital

I gotta hand it to Marc Andreessen and Thomas Friedman--they both nailed it this week and repeated a message I've been preaching for the last year on my personal blog,...

New Steps to Toughen Government Cybersecurity

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 23, Categories: Cybersecurity

The Obama Administration took office promising a major effort to protect the government's networks from attack. In part, the new team is building on efforts already in progress and today,...

Carol Bartz Prepares to Revamp Yahoo Management

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 22, Categories: Microsoft, Yahoo, advertising

Even if it's a spectacularly obvious thing for a new CEO to do, Carol Bartz's reorganization of Yahoo's management ranks as early as this week will be a pivotal development....

Will Ad Networks Usher in a New Media Order?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 19, Categories: LinkedIn, advertising, blogs

When I proposed the story on how the economy is hitting online advertising, which appears in this week's BusinessWeek, I had hoped to take it a little further than I...

Making Word Work on Netbooks

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 19, Categories: Microsoft

In my current column, I complain that most standard PC applications don't work well on netbooks because the menus, toolbars, and other fixtures take up so much of the very...

Chris Shipley Leaving DEMO After This Year

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on February 19, Categories: startups

In about 10 days I'll be headed to the DEMO conference in Palm Desert, Calif. It's one of the premier venues for tech startups to show off their ideas for...

Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent Win the Verizon Wireless LTE Sweepstakes; Clearwire Talks Trash

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 18, Categories: telecom

The battle for the fourth generation wireless networks is officially on. At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Bareclona today, Verizon Wireless announced that it has selected Ericsson and...

The Complaint Almost Filed Against Facebook

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on February 18, Categories: Facebook

Even after bloggers and consumer rights groups kicked up a cloud of suspicion around changes Facebook quietly made to its service agreement in weeks prior, the social networking site didn't...

Employees Back Sprint CEO Dan Hesse

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 18, Categories: wireless

In a recent survey, Sprint Nextel's CEO Dan Hesse has received the highest employee satisfaction score among carrier CEOs, of 50%. By comparison, CEO of AT&T Mobility only received a 36% rating. What gives?

Fearing 'Cyber Katrina,' Obama Candidate for Cyber Czar Urges a ''FEMA for the Internet'

Posted by: Keith Epstein on February 18, Categories: security

For all the fears of sophisticated digital intrusions preoccupying many computer security professionals, President Obama’s leading candidates for “cyber czar” also are focusing on an all-too-human vulnerability: The nation’s...

Drafting a Facebook Bill of Rights

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on February 18, Categories: Facebook

After a revision to its terms of service contract landed Facebook in hot water with users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg this morning issued a mea culpa and pledged to come up...

Antitrust Suit Filed Against Google

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 17, Categories: Google, Search, advertising

Google is fast replacing Microsoft as everybody's favorite antitrust target. Even the U.S. Justice Department last fall indicated it was ready to file an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant...

Intel Snags a Cell Phone Partner

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on February 16, Categories: Smartphones

There's been a great deal of skepticism about the potential for a new class of Web-surfing devices called Mobile Internet Devices. Chipmaker Intel has been touting them as an option...

With $35 Million More in the Bank, What's Next for Twitter?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 13, Categories: Twitter

It appears the venture funding market isn't closed for everyone, not even Web 2.0 startups with no apparent revenue plan. Twitter, the white-hot microblogging service, just raised more than $35...

Android Market to Debut Paid App

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 13, Categories: Google

Today is a big day for makers of software for Android, an operating system developed by a consortium of companies lead by Google and used in cell phones and other devices. Android Market -- the portal where users of Android-based devices can download applications -- announced that it's now accepting paid applications from U.S. and U.K. developers. First paid apps will become available in the U.S. starting mid next week and will use Google Checkout for payment.

Google Switches Off Radio Ads (But Not TV Ads)

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 12, Categories: Google

In what would be more of a surprise had Google not already exited its Print Ads project late last month, the search giant just announced it's tuning out of its...

Seven Twitter Addicts Explain Twitter (Video)

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on February 12, Categories: Twitter

What is Twitter? Is it a publishing medium, like a blog? Is it a marketplace? Or is it more of a club? Judging by the bizarre mix of attendees to...

Twitter Gets Shorty (What’s Next? Best Status Updater Awards?)

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 12, Categories: Social Media

Last night I was getting ready to leave the office and go home when my colleagues Doug MacMillan and Arik Hesseldahl asked me if I wanted to go with them...

How Do I Sell My eBook: Kindle, Rights Management, and First Sale

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 11, Categories: digital media

Every spring, I look forward to the Stone Ridge Academy of the Sacred Heart used book sale. The Catholic girls’ school in my neighborhood fills a couple of gyms with...

NetApp Rethinks The Future.

Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 11, Categories: Tech Spending

Dan Warmenhoven is an ebullient, optimistic fellow. So when he was preparing to advise employees a few days ago that he was going to have to fire 530 of them,...

In Entrepreneurs We Trust

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 11, Categories: Entrepreneurship

Trust may be the most scarce commodity around right now. Wall Street can't be trusted much these days, thanks to the financial crisis and a guy named Madoff. A lot...

WiMAX on World Tour

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on February 11, Categories: mobile computing

Intel just offered its pre-Mobile World Congress update on the state of WiMAX: Executive Vice President Sean Maloney says WiMAX has become "a global reality." PC OEMS, Acer, Fujistu, Lenovo,...

Econo-collapse? Not Us, Says RIM (Updated)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 11, Categories: wireless

The world may be full of gloom and doom, but in Waterloo, Ont., the sun still seems to be shining brightly. BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion today increased its forecast for...

Reader Poll: What's Cisco Going To Do With $30 Billion Bucks?

Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 10, Categories: Cisco

Once it completes its surprise $4 billion debt offering, networking giant Cisco Systems will have more than $30 billion in the bank. That's more than Apple at $27 billion and...

Will Smartphone Sales Flatten?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 10, Categories: wireless

Nomura analyst Richard Windsor sounded an alarm this morning. While most cell-phone manufacturers still expect smartphone sales to grow 10% to 20% this year, he believes that they will hardly grow at all. "I find that the industry view that there will be good growth in smartphones in 2009 to be fundamentally flawed," Windsor writes. "I see 2 years of almost no growth before a strong bounce back in 2011." Could this be right?

No Czar Yet - Obama Chooses Bush Player as Cybersecurity Advisor

Posted by: Keith Epstein on February 09, Categories:

She’s not quite a cyber czar yet, but Melissa Hathaway – a top cybersecurity advisor who helped craft a multibillion dollar, partly clandestine initiative to defend the nation’s computer networks...

The Kindle: A Platform That Can No Longer Be Ignored

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 09, Categories:

The big news today is that Amazon released the new version of the Kindle, its electronic reader. I've been a big critic of e-books for years but it's clear that...

Meet the New Kindle

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on February 09, Categories:

This morning, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle 2, a thinner, sleeker device than its predecessor. It will ship on Feb. 24 for $359, the same price as...

Trouble Signs Already With Microsoft's New "My Phone" Service

Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 06, Categories: Microsoft

In reporting on Microsoft's soon-to-be-unveiled mobile strategy last week, a common theme from company executives was that the company was going to be much more focused on the consumer experience....

Boost Unlimited: Not Cannibalizing Sprint

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 06, Categories: wireless

I just spoke with Matt Carter, president of Boost Mobile, about Boost Unlimited, a $50 a month prepaid monthly plan that launched in January. The plan includes unlimited calling, text messaging, wireless Web, and walkie talkie service. When it launched, some analysts feared the plan could encourage some postpaid customers of Sprint Nextel, whose network Boost uses, to switch to Boost for a cheaper service. Well, it's not happening.

Microsoft's New Mobile Strategy

Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 06, Categories: Microsoft

For the past few years, Microsoft has been losing share in PCs to Apple. It’s been losing huge money on the Web. And it’s been badly shown up in mobile...

A Blog Helps Microsoft Get a Key Win 7 Feature Right

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 06, Categories: Microsoft

It's fascinating to watch how the use of corporate blogs, when used for dialog rather than propaganda, can change the way business decisions are made, generally for the better. A...

Mathematica Made Affordable

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 05, Categories: software

When is a $300 software package a bargain? When it would otherwise be a $2,500 application. Wolfram Research's Mathematica has long be legendary among folks who use serious mathematics both...

DTV: Rabbit Ears and FUD

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 05, Categories: Digital TV Transition

Spreading FUD--fear, uncertainty, and doubt--is an old marketing technique in the tech business--and Washington policy debates. The discussion of the now-postponed digital TV transition has been mired in an unusual...

Cisco To Restructure Up To 2,000 Employees Out Of Jobs. But Just Don't Call Them Layoffs.

Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 04, Categories: Cisco

On Cisco's second quarter conference call, CEO John Chambers seemed intent on not doing what nearly every big tech company (except Apple) has done in recent weeks: announce layoffs. But...

The DTV Transition Will Now Happen..Whenever

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 04, Categories: digital media

Will the U.S. ever complete the transition to digital television? Congress set the process in motion in 1996. In 2002, lawmakers voted that the change should be complete by the...

Asus Takes on the iPhone

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on February 04, Categories: iPhone

A year ago, GPS device-maker Garmin announced with some fanfare that it was developing a touch-screen phone that doubles as a location-based personal navigation device. It was beginning to smell...

Yahoo Search Pad: Making Online Research Easier

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 04, Categories: Google, Search, Yahoo

When you're researching something online, whether it's a place you want to vacation or (like me) a subject you want to write about, it's still not easy to collect...

Google Latitude: Tell Your Friends Where You Are

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 04, Categories: Google, Privacy, Search, mapping

Ever wonder where your friends or your spouse or your child is? That's the question Google hopes to answer for you with a new service launching Wednesday called Google...

The iPhone: A Blessing and a Curse?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 03, Categories: Apple

Consultant Forrester Research came out with some really interesting data today: Apparently, consumers that switch wireless service providers for hot new devices such as the iPhone come with a risk to carriers. More than 20% end up being likely to switch plans again in the next six months.

Check Out Our New Blog: Technology at Work

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 03, Categories: venture capital

My colleague Rachael King has just launched a new blog, Technology at Work, where she explores how companies can use innovative software and to cut costs to survive and prosper. Today, she wrote about a company called iWidgets that just raised $4.1 million -- at a time when raising funds is extremely tough. The start-up helps companies take their content and syndicate it on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. CBS, for example, is using iWidgets to syndicate video clips of CSI and other shows on Facebook.

Google Earth’s Deep Dive

Posted by: Aaron Ricadela on February 02, Categories: Chrome, Google, software

Google trotted out some eclectic star power Feb. 2 to show a new version of Google Earth that spotlights the world’s oceans. At an event at the California Academy of...

The (Not Very) Magical Properties of Obama's BlackBerry

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 02, Categories: wireless

Coverage of President Barack Obama's BlackBerry keeps ascribing what seems to be great technical prowess to government wizards who have managed to add all sorts of extra security features to...


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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