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Categories: Innovation

Update: World’s Most Intriguing New Companies

Posted by: Spencer Ante on October 26

On Sept. 1, BusinessWeek put out a call for entries to help us on an exciting new package called “The World’s Most Intriguing New Companies.” We were heartened by the…

Google Search Guru Singhal: We Will Try Outlandish Ideas

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 02

Inside Google’s search quality group, Amit Singhal runs the core ranking team, which is responsible for those algorithms you hear so much about. The team ran some 6,000 experiments last…

Google’s Udi Manber: Search Is About People, Not Just Data

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

Udi Manber, Google’s vice-president of technology for core search, joined the company almost four years ago after stints running’s A9 search project and serving as chief scientist at Yahoo….

Lenovo Looks for a Laptop Sweet Spot

Posted by: Steve Hamm on June 23

I spent more than a year tracking Lenovo’s designers and engineers as they developed the innovative X300 laptop computer, which was released in March of 2008. This work produced a…

Could Rearden Commerce One-Up Google?

Posted by: Steve Hamm on June 05

One of my colleagues, Doug McMillan, is collecting a list of broad-purpose search engines for a slideshow he’s working on. It’s amazing how long the list is: 22. It’s also…

Technology Helps Take a Bite Out of Newark’s Crime

Posted by: Spencer Ante on May 04

Here’s some great news. On May 1, the city of Newark announced that for the first four months of 2009, Newark saw the fewest murders in the city since 1959….

LIVE: New Stuff from Google Labs

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 20

Today, Google’s introducing some early-stage new products and services coming out of Google Labs at a press gathering hosted by R.J. Pittman, director of product management in search properties. I’ll…

PowerMat Launches At CES

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on January 07

About 18 months ago I wrote this story on an Israeli startup called Powermat which caught my attention for its wireless charging technology. Today I talked briefly with Powermat President…

Inviting Your Ex (Employee) to the Holiday Party

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 03

Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu famously said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I was reminded Monday night why it’s a good idea to keep ex-employees even closer still.

Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists Gather to Figure Out What the Heck Happened

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 29

… and what comes next. Crowded into a small meeting room in a Silicon Valley hotel this morning is an overflow gathering of entrepreneurs at VentureBeat’s Downturn Roundtable. They’re here,…

Is That the Sound of the Silicon Valley Web 2.0 Bubble Bursting?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 09

Om Malik at GigaOM has the news of a grim meeting that leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital held yesterday for its portfolio firms. The CEOs were greeted…

Gmail Labs: Google’s Next Innovation in Innovation

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 05

Google will start to release tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific a new set of features for its Gmail email service, called Gmail Labs. They will be earlier-than-beta features, 13 of…

Web Startups: Silicon Valley’s New Components

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 11

I just took a stab at figuring out what’s up with some of these seemingly crazy Web valuations and buyout deals, from $10 billion-plus for Facebook to (and I really…

A Running Shoe That Lights The Way

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 02

Shoe design goes more and more high-tech: Lunar Design, a company that designs everything from tooth brushes to cell phones, just announced it’s developed a running shoe that illuminates runners as they run in the dark.

Ask3D: Answers Google With Something Different

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 04

You have to hand it to It’s not rolling over in the face of Google’s rising dominance in search, even as some folks wonder if other rivals like Yahoo!…

Has Silicon Valley Jumped the Shark Again?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 22

“Times are good, money is flowing, and Silicon Valley sucks.” So says Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, and I think he’s latching onto something that has been building for awhile: Despite…

Search Upstart Powerset Teams with PARC Vs. Google

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09

Powerset, the natural-language search startup I wrote about in my story on’s digital-utility initiatives, has signed a deal with the (former Xerox) PARC in an attempt to one-up Google…

Hey, Somebody Has to Build the Hardware, Too

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 06

The cover story I just wrote on’s move into utility computing may make it sound like computer hardware is passe. (Oddly enough, in fact, when I went to…

Innovation overload

Posted by: Steve Hamm on July 27

Innovation is in grave danger of becoming the latest overused buzzword. We’re doing our part at Businessweek. And so is IBM with its big innovation marketing campaign. The danger is…


Posted by: Rob Hof on May 08

Yeesh, 7 cents a share. How far Silicon Graphics has fallen—now, to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In its early 1990s heyday, it was as hot as Google (many of whose…

Abolish Software Patents? Not So Simple

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 14

VC Brad Feld thinks software patents should be abolished because they stunt innovation: If we continue on the path we are on, patents will continue to increase in their overall…

You Know the Next Big Thing Is Near…

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 15

… when people are saying there won’t be any such thing anymore….

Viva Vinyl!

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 08

My record player is broken, and I miss playing my LPs, many of which have stuff available neither on CDs nor on digital download sites. Apparently, I’m not alone. Wired…

Does R&D spending deliver results?

Posted by: Steve Hamm on October 11

Managment consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton just released a new study of worldwide R&D spending by corporations and concluded there’s not much evidence that jacking up R&D investment delivers performance…

Threats to Innovation Are Everywhere

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 24

A panel titled “Is Technology Making Us Safer?” at the AlwaysOn Innovation Summit last week was thought-provoking enough that, well, I had to think about it awhile. Moderated by Paul…

Is the Tech IPO Dead or Alive?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 20

That was the title of a panel this morning at the AlwaysOn Innovation Summit at Stanford, and the answers didn’t sound so great. It’s not just the financial-disclosure act Sarbanes-Oxley,…

Apple’s Shining, Counterintuitive Example

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

Nick Carr has an interesting take on what Apple’s blowout earnings yesterday mean. As he pointed out years ago, the common wisdom was that Apple couldn’t possibly match the research…

Productive Friction at eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 10

Ever since I read John Hagel’s and John Seely Brown’s writings about “productive friction,” I’ve been intrigued by the idea but couldn’t quite understand how it worked in the real…

A Coming Dark Age for Innovation?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 04

This will come as news to anyone whose VCR is still blinking 12:00—oh wait, who has a VCR anymore? A provocative view from Jonathan Huebner, a physicist at the Pentagon’s…

Gizmo Takes On Skype

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 02

Michael Robertson seems to enjoy trying to shake up the powers that be, as he did in music with and in computer software with Lindows (now Linspire). Now, he…

The Rise of Distributed Business

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 22

I’ve seen John Seely Brown’s talk on “innovation ecologies” a couple of times now, including today at Supernova 2005, and I think I’m finally coming to understand it. The idea…

The Power of Us, Indeed: A Goldmine from Readers

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 19

Like few other stories I’ve written, The Power of Us has unleashed a torrent of ideas and Web sites from a surprisingly diverse set of readers. And unlike most previous…

Tech’s Fifth Wave

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 16

Michael Copeland and Om Malik have an interesting article on what they call the fifth wave of computing in the new issue of Business 2.0. It’s a very different but…

How Innovation Really Works

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 08

Mainly, it’s not a chess game, notes Yahoo!’s Jeremy Zawodny. All too often, we media folks fall victim to overdramatizing competition among companies—yes, even BusinessWeek. :-) No doubt that competition…

Fun = Innovation

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 10

JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus blogs about how he’s trying to make sure expediency doesn’t crush innovation at his startup. His answer: Have fun! They held a Hackathon last week in…

The Digitization of Making Stuff

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 16

Now that we’ve digitized communications and computing, says Neil Gershenfeld, who heads MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, we’re about to digitize the process of making physical things. “We’re…

The Tech Job Paradox

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 12

On the surface, this new reportfrom the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas looks pretty positive: High-tech job cuts fell 23% last year. But dig a little deeper, and the…


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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