Archives: March 2009

Warner Archive Collection: Really Bare Bones

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 31, Categories: media

In a recent article about Warner Brothers Home Entertainment's new manufactured-on-demand DVDs of classic films, I said they were bare bones, lacking extras such as outtakes or commentaries. But a...

Facebook Ousts Chief Financial Officer Gideon Yu

Posted by: Spencer Ante on March 31, Categories: Facebook

Very surprising news out today in Silicon Valley. Facebook has let go of its chief financial officer Gideon Yu, reports the Wall Street Journal. Facebook spokesman Larry Yu confirmed to...

Another Google Killer Dies

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 31, Categories: Google, Power of Us, Search, Wikia, Wikipedia

When Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales launched his search service Wikia Search in late 2006, he was hoping to "fix Internet search by working to free the judgment of information from...

Demand for Online Music Services Is On The Rise, But So Is Uncertainty About Their Businesses

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 31, Categories: digital media

I'm a huge fan of online subscriptions, particularly music services such as Pandora and Rhapsody. I realized just how much I've come to rely on such services this weekend, when...

Google Forms Venture Group to Find "Next Big Thing"

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 31, Categories: Google, startups, venture capital

Once companies grow large, it's always tough for them to come up with great new innovations like the one that built them. As Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen has...

Adios, Encarta

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 30, Categories: Microsoft

Before Wikipedia finished off the encyclopedia as we knew it, Microsoft's Encarta started the venerable multi-volume reference works on their long path to oblivion. So it is somehow fitting that...

It’s Official: Twitter Hires Ex-Google Designer Douglas Bowman

Posted by: Spencer Ante on March 30, Categories: Twitter

Turns out the Web rumors were true for once. In a meeting last Friday afternoon in Twitter's San Francisco office, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told me that the company had...

Server Makers Wild About Intel's Nehalem

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 30, Categories: Chips

After months of hype, Intel officially took the wraps today off its new server chip, the Xeon 5500. Known for months as Nehalem, it's the first major upgrade to Intel's...

Should Apple Offer a See-Though Keypad iPhone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 30, Categories: wireless

Apple has always been able to spot promising new technologies, often already used by others, and to use them to create new products with tremendous mass-market appeal. If you'll recall, Apple was not the first to create a highly capable touch-screen smartphone that could be navigated with a finger. LG had beat Apple to the game with its Prada cell phone. But it was Apple's iPhone, offering some of the same functionality, that's captured popular imagination. That makes me wonder if Apple could next do something with the coolest innovation in touch screens today: see-through dial pads.

Heli-hoax: Beware the First of April (Updated)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 30, Categories: Curmudgeonly

Second Update (April 3): Hotelicopter comes clean, sort of. The company says that while the Hotelicopter flying hotel was fake, Hotelicopter is a "new travel brand launching next week." Much...

Google Lays Off 200 More, But Still Surprisingly Selective

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 26, Categories: Google

By now, it's apparent even Google is no longer unaffected by the economy, and now the company has announced further cuts in its staff--the third reduction this year. In a...

President Obama Conducts Online Town Hall

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 26, Categories: Web 2.0

On March 26, President Barack Obama conducted his first online town hall. Some 92,933 Internet users submitted 104,076 questions via White House’s Web site, and the president answered several questions that were voted most popular. “One of my priorities as president is opening up the White House to the American people,” Obama said in a short video encouraging people to submit questions. The online town hall was the first experiment of this kind for a U.S. president.

Nintendo Courts Developers

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 25, Categories: games

You'll have to forgive game developers if they feel a little bittersweet about Nintendo's runaway success with its Wii game console and DS heldheld. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata's message at...

Is WiMAX Losing Its Edge?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 25, Categories: wireless

The big advantage of WiMAX in the race to provide fourth-generation wireless services was supposed to be as a first mover: WiMAX boosters were counting on a lead of a...

Pixazza "Product in the Picture" Service: AdSense for Images

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 25, Categories: Google, Pixazza, Search, advertising

Pixazza is looking to turn Web photos into money. It might just work. The startup, staffed by Netscape veterans with a $5.75 million Series A venture capital round, on Wednesday...

Chastened Facebook Tweaks Home Page Design Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 24, Categories: Facebook

The past three weeks since Facebook's site redesign was announced haven't been kind to the social networking phenom. Many users complained vociferously about the new design, which was intended to...

App Store Users to Quadruple? Not So Fast

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 24, Categories: Apple

Consultant In-Stat just released a new forecast: It believes the number of potential mobile app store users could quadruple within five years. Some 100 million handsets that will be shipped in the next half a decade will be tied to application markets like Apple's App Store, according to In-Stat.

Wrike: Making T-Mobile G1 Work for Business Users

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 24, Categories: Google

A start-up called Wrike has announced an important product today that could make Android-based smartphones more attractive to business users.

Google Keeps Tweaking Search Results, Leaving Little Room for Rivals

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 24, Categories: Google

Google just announced two new refinements to its search engine today, continuing to leave little room for competitors to get a foothold. The tweaks, announced in a Google blog post...

Oracle: Spending Money to Make It

Posted by: Aaron Ricadela on March 23, Categories: software

Coming off a quarter in which higher product support sales drove surprisingly strong profits, Oracle tacked on an acquisition Mar. 23 that could broaden the market for those contracts. Oracle...

Cisco Take On Apple? Please.

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 20, Categories: Cisco

There's a lot to admire about Cisco. It just might have the deepest bench of executive talent in all of tech. It's got a fast-moving, egalitarian culture. It's got one...

Multiple iPhone Models Due Out This Summer?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 20, Categories: Apple

Rumors that Apple will unleash several new iPhone models when it releases new hardware this summer have picked up a notch. The speculation is that the company could unveil a cheaper, lighter iPhone, an iPhone especially designed for business use, and a netbook -- in addition to upgrading its current iPhone model.

SXSW: Evernote, the Anti-Social Application

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 19, Categories:

Remember when people kept personal journals? With so many convenient tools for sharing our experiences with hundreds of others online, it seems that fewer people take time to record...

SXSW: Hulu Plans Smarter Video Recommendations

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 18, Categories:

Last week, the popular online video destination Hulu marked its one-year anniversary by unlocking new social features on its site. Visitors can now log in using their Facebook, MySpace,...

Apple's App Store: How Much Is It?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 18, Categories: Apple

How much would it cost to buy up everything in the App Store in December? Let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Why Wait? Google Replaces AOL-Bound Sales Exec with Vet Dennis Woodside

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 17, Categories: Google

Just days after Tim Armstrong, a top Google sales executive, announced he's leaving to become CEO of Time Warner's AOL unit, the search giant has already replaced him. Dennis...

SXSW: MySpaceID’s Anonymity Versus Facebook Connect’s Identity

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 17, Categories:

Both social networking pioneers MySpace and Facebook are making big pushes into friend portability. With MySpaceID and Facebook Connect, you can use your same user name and password to...

SXSW: Web Community Takes on Hollywood

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 17, Categories:

The concept of crowdsourcing has proved powerful on Web sites like Wikipedia, where an army of unpaid experts and enthusiasts have chipped in little by little to create one...

SXSW: Why Read One News Source?

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 16, Categories:

At technology conferences like South by Southwest, Gabe Rivera feels most at home in the press lounge, trading news tips with bloggers. But he’s no ordinary journalist. Four years...

Cisco "Crosses The Rubicon"

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 16, Categories: Cisco

That's how Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson put it, in describing Cisco's full-scale assault on the enterprise computing market. The networking giant is clearly no longer content to provide only...

Will Facebook Replace Twitter?

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 16, Categories: Facebook

Like many reporters and editors here at BusinessWeek, I'm on Twitter. And occasionally, I use it to conduct informal polls about a topic I'm writing on. What I'm writing and...

SXSW: Facebook’s Morin on Twitter

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 16, Categories: Facebook, SXSW, Twitter

Earlier this month, Facebook senior platform manager Dave Morin shot an e-mail to TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth, asking him if he could build a new version of his program...

Intel & AMD: Things Get Uglier

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 16, Categories: Chips

The squabble over AMD spinning off its chip manufacturing business has gotten nastier with Intel's threat to revoke agreements that allow Intel and AMD to use each others key technologies....

SXSW: Facebook Holds a New Carrot for Developers

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 15, Categories: Facebook, SXSW

Last year, Facebook ticked off a good chunk of its third-party development community by redesigning its home page. Their “apps,” widgets like games and photo tools that users can...

SXSW: Mint.com’s Data-Driven Revenue Model

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 15, Categories:

Plenty of ink has been spilled over Mint.com, the personal finance site that’s seen so much growth in the past year that its competitors are getting jealous. Its simple-to-use...

SXSW: Phone Calls as Web Widgets

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 15, Categories:

These days, developers of Web applications can choose from a wide variety of widgets – pieces of code they pop into their site to trick it out with nifty...

SXSW: Loic Le Meur Bridges Facebook and Twitter

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 15, Categories:

Two years after Twitter’s coming-out party here at Austin’s South by Southwest festival, the white-hot microblogging company is skipping the event altogether. Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who head...

SXSW: The Brains Behind “Diggnation”

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 15, Categories: video

Early Saturday evening, the line to get in to Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in downtown Austin stretched around the block. The attraction: a live taping of Diggnation, the weekly online video...

SXSW: Lessig Takes on Political Corruption

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 14, Categories:

One of the world’s foremost reformers of digital copyright, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig helped found Creative Commons, a movement for free, fair use of content online. Recently, he’s...

BusinessWeek @ South by Southwest

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 14, Categories: Internet

Greetings from Austin, Texas. From now through Tuesday, I'll be posting updates from the South by Southwest Interactive festival being held in the conference center here in downtown Austin....

iPhone 3.0: Wish List

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 13, Categories: Apple

Apple seems to introduce new iPhone models every June/July. Last year's iPhone offered a number of improvements over the original device, including greater storage capacity. What would you like this year's model to add/be able to do? Let's start a wish list right here.

Hulu’s Greatest Hits

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on March 12, Categories: video

This month, Hulu turns one. And to celebrate, the joint venture of News Corporation and NBC Universal is pulling back the curtains to reveal which video clips and full-length TV...

One Number to Ring All Your Phones: Google Resurrects GrandCentral Service

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 12, Categories: Google, VOIP, telecom

With no news for so many months after Google bought GrandCentral Communications in July 2007, a lot of people thought it might be one more Google acquisition that ended up...

Plantronics Bets on Unified Communications

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 11, Categories: unified communicatons

For the past few years companies such as Microsoft, Cisco System, IBM and others have been preaching the benefits of connecting computers, landline phones and cellular phones to one system....

Is eBay Ready To Start The Bidding For Skype?

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 11, Categories: eBay

At its annual meeting today, eBay executives broke out more details about the health of its Skype unit than it has in the past. Turns out the Net phone calling...

Foxconn Joins Alliance to Focus on Ultra-Cheap Netbooks

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 11, Categories: netbooks

Today, contract manufacturer Foxconn joined an alliance whose members seek to make ultra-low-cost PCs. The alliance members, which include chipmaker Via, plan to put out netbooks as well as laptops. And that's bad news for companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer.

Can the Newspaper Industry Be Saved?

Posted by: Spencer Ante on March 11, Categories: media

Check out my first YouTube video upload. I created a new account called NYCSpencerAnte to experiment with video blogging. This is my first installment. Let know what you think. Is...

Google To Start Behavioral Ad Targeting

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 11, Categories: Google, advertising, behavioral targeting

Google today will step into an emerging but controversial method of targeting ads to people's interests and online behaviors. This morning, the company announced it will begin offering these ads...

The New iPod Shuffle: How Minimal Can You Get?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 11, Categories: Apple

Minimalism has been the prevailing aesthetic at Apple for some time. Products are monochromatic, mostly white or silver. Buttons, ports, or anything else that would spoil the clean lines of...

Marc Andreessen-Backed kaChing Joins Social Investing Fray with New API

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 11, Categories: Marc Andreessen, Power of Us, Web 2.0, kaChing

Several years ago, I wrote a story about online people power that mentioned an interesting company called Marketocracy. The company lets people set up model portfolios of stocks to see...

Can Optek Turn Guitar Hero Fans Into Real Musicians?

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 10, Categories: Digital Music

Back in 1989, Rusty Shaffer decided it was time to try his hand at playing lead guitar, rather than just strumming chords. So he bought a music book and started...

Congress to Commission A Study on Performance Rights

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 10, Categories: music

On March 10, House Committee on the Judiciary held yet another hearing to discuss whether AM/FM radio stations should be required to pay royalties to musicians for playing their songs. The hearing resulted in one important step forward in the long-standing impasse between radio and music industries: Both sides have agreed for Congress to commission an independent study on the impact a new royalty could have on the industries involved.

Tech Deal-Making Grinds to a Near-Halt

Posted by: Spencer Ante on March 10, Categories: private equity

I just got a hold of an illuminating (and depressing) report on tech deal-making through the first two months of 2009 from the Boston investment bank America's Growth Capital. In...

Will Fewer But Bigger Ads Rejuvenate Display Advertising?

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 10, Categories: Search, advertising

With the ascendancy in recent years of search advertisements, the little snippets of commercial text that appear next to search results, display ads don't get much respect these days. While...

Clearwire Announces New CEO

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

After the market close today, wireless broadband provider Clearwire announced a new CEO. Bill Morrow is taking over the role from Ben Wolff, a co-CEO or CEO of the company since 2004. A long-time sidekick of Chairman Craig McCaw, Wolff will stay on as co-chairman.

WolframAlpha: A New Way To Search?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 09, Categories: Search

Using semantics--the meaning of words rather than just the words themselves--as the basis of Web search has been a prime goal of researchers for some time, but except for limited...

Android: Great for the Enterprise?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 06, Categories: Google

At this year's Cebit, Reinhard Clemens, CEO of Deutsche Telekom's large businesses division T-Systems, criticised Windows Mobile -- while giving thumbs up to rival Android software for mobile phones. The comments are interesting, as they seem to shed new light on the future of Android as software for corporate users vs. only consumers. They also may show that Microsoft's corporate supporters are starting to look elsewhere, to alternative software and devices like the iPhone, which also offers access to corporate e-mail.

BlackBerry App World: Thumbs Up or Down?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 05, Categories: blackberry

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is inching closer to opening up its new mobile applications store. The company unveiled a new storefront last night. The store is still closed, so it's too early to judge. But a couple of things we already know about the App World have given me pause.

LIVE: Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out Facebook's Next Moves

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 04, Categories: Facebook, Social Media, advertising, social networks

I'm heading to Facebook this morning for a briefing with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on the company's latest product developments. One of them will be the next step for...

DEMO 2009 Wraps Up

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on March 04, Categories: Entrepreneurship

Another DEMO conference has come and gone, and I just wanted to go over the coveted DEMOgod awards, given to the companies who have given outstanding presentations. They're chosen for...

Mac mini Margins, Not So Mini

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 03, Categories: Apple

As part of a general refresh of all desktop products, Apple today announced a long-overdue update of the Mac mini line. The mini gets a badly needed upgrade of its...

LIVE: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Speaks

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 03, Categories: Microsoft, Search, Yahoo, advertising

At the Morgan Stanley technology conference, analyst Mary Meeker is interviewing Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. I'm listening on the Web, since media wasn't invited to the conference. I think it's...

Can Microsoft Give Apple A Run For The Money In Touch Computing?

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 03, Categories: Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the company's touch-screen based "Surface" computer in May 2007, just a month before the launch of the iPhone. But since then, Apple has dominated...

Roku Adds Amazon Video on Demand

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 03, Categories: TV

Roku's Video Player and Amazon's Video on Demand service hope to make beautiful pictures together. For those who didn't think there was enough goodness in Roku's $99 streaming video box,...

At DEMO 09: Meet Coveroo

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on March 03, Categories: wireless

Sometimes it's the simplest of ideas that makes for a successful business. Among those presenting at here at the DEMO 09 conference in Palm Desert, Calif. to which this applies...

Nortel Says Customers Are Staying On Board

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 02, Categories: Networking

I just got off the phone with Nortel's CEO Mike Zafirovski, who told me that "we've not lost a single customer since we filed [for bankruptcy protection]." As you'll recall, Nortel filed for Chapter 11 in January, and competitors have been trying to chip away at its customer base ever since.

Intel vs. Qualcomm

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 02, Categories: Chips

For a long time, Intel counted Advanced Micro Devices as its chief rival. These days, it's looking more like Intel and Qualcomm will be going mano-a-mano. Intel just announced it...

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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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