David Kirkpatrick

November 2, 2010

Is Apple about to acquire Facebook?

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:03 pm

As crazy as it sounds, this is more than simple idle speculation.

From the link:

Last month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs hinted that a big acquisition is in the works—that is, Apple might tap into its $50 billion war chest. I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around $50 billion ever since.

Also from the link; not quite a smoking gun, but it does give you something to think about:

The more intriguing acquisition target is Facebook. Jobs is probably kicking himself for not thinking up social networking. He fancies himself a cultural revolutionist wielding technology, and that’s exactly what Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have become for this next generation.

Jobs and Zuckerberg had been spotted enjoying a stroll in an obscure park near Palo Alto shortly before Jobs suggested a major acquisition may be in the works. This bit of news, reported by the Los Angeles Times, set off a whirlwind of speculation that Facebook was the target.

Advertisements

August 30, 2010

Public relations no-nos — impersonating consumers

PR firm Reverb Communications is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission for creating video game reviews at Apple’s iTunes store by posing as unbiased consumers, instead of the paid professional flacks they were. Now there is a somewhat fine line out there in the online world between fandom, fannish shilling and paid shilling, and the FTC frowns highly on the last item in that list if it’s undisclosed. Frowns in it so highly it even requires bloggers at any level of readership and popularity disclose a paid-for ad.

(Full disclosure: I occasionally run sponsored posts I’ve created for clients. Those posts beginning December 1, 2001, as per FTC regulations are clearly marked with a “sponsored” disclaimer. And to add a shameless ad to this aside, if you are interested in a sponsored post on this blog, hit the about page for contact information.)

And as a bit of advice to Reverb Comm., try to stay on right side of the FTC. It can make your life fairly unpleasant. Plus the bad PR your clients get hit with when shenanigans like this get exposed kill your viral efforts.

From the first link way up there in the first sentence:

US regulators have said a public relations firm has agreed to settle charges that it had employees pose as unbiased videogame buyers and post reviews at Apple’s online iTunes store.

The deal requires Reverb Communications and its owner, Tracie Snitker, to remove such potentially deceptive reviews and refrain from the practice, according to the .

“Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing need to abide by long-held principles of truth in advertising,” said FTC division of advertising practices director Mary Engle.

“Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.”

July 16, 2010

Steve Jobs is slowly losing his mind

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:25 am

That’s the only explanation for his increasingly poor decision making at Apple. The iPhone 4 has a very serious — almost to the point of crippling — design flaw in the phone’s antenna that Apple engineers knew about long before the release of the product. Jobs liked the design too much to make any alterations that would address the design flaw. His decision put a sub-par high-end product on the market where it will face increasing criticism. And now he’s doubling down by possibly not issuing a recall for the faulty device. This move should cost Apple customers and a serious hit on the stock value.

From the link:

Apple engineers were aware of the risks associated with the new antenna design as early as a year ago, but Chief Executive Steve Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development, said another person familiar with the matter.

The electronics giant kept such a shroud of secrecy over the iPhone 4’s development that the device didn’t get the kind of real-world testing that would have exposed such problems in phones by other manufacturers, said people familiar with the matter.

And:

Apple first suggested people buy a case or hold the phone differently. A week later, it said that the problem lay in a software glitch that has been making signal reception look stronger than it is in all of its phones since the original iPhone three years ago.

The explanations, however, have only fueled the discontent, particularly after product-quality watchdog Consumer Reports challenged those assertions, saying there was a hardware problem. Since the iPhone 4 launched, Apple’s stock price has fallen more than 7%.

May 27, 2010

Apple’s market cap passes Microsoft

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:01 pm

Interesting. Probably not all that meaningful, but interesting.

From the link:

On Wednesday, Apple’s market capitalization edged past its longtime rival’s as investors made official what consumers have long suggested: Microsoft is no longer the industry’s alpha dog.

Just last month, Microsoft’s market cap exceeded Apple’s by about $25 billion, but now Apple is in the lead by nearly $3 billion.

May 13, 2010

The iPad is a netbook killer

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:08 pm

And just wait until Windows or Chrome versions hit the shelves.

From the link:

While it’s true that netbooks are the more affordable choice with better keyboards, USB ports, faster processors, superior e-mail and Flash usability, and a variety of models to choose from, the popularity of netbooks have been in a freefall just as the elegant iPad is catching fire.

Could this be happenstance? Maybe. The netbook trend may just be played out regardless of the iPad. But a new report from Morgan Stanley argues there is a direct correlation.

In addition to forecasting that the iPad will cannibalize iPod Touch sales, the Morgan Stanley report provides data showing that the netbook craze hit a crescendo in July of 2009, with a stunning 641 percent year-over-year growth. But after the holidays, netbook growth took a big fall, and it’s been dropping each month since. In April, netbooks only experienced 5 percent year-over-year growth.

April 18, 2010

“iSpecs” patent application from Apple …

… is already giving me a headache.

The conceit behind the patent app is a pair of glasses you attach an iPhone, iPod or similar Apple device to watch video in high-def equivalent 3D. Just imagine the neck strain of having the weight of an iPhone resting on the bridge of your nose for an extended period of time, not to mention the eyestrain.

I wonder if this patent application entered the system on April 1, or maybe Navin Johnson is now an Apple engineer.

(All blockquotes are from the first link.)

Here’s a look at an illustration of the concept:

And here’s a little more detail:

Apple has filed a patent application for electronic video spectacles that will allow wearers to watch films in 3D on the inside of the glasses. Fans have already nicknamed the gadget iSpecs.

Users would attach their , iPod, or other device to the spectacles, which have a special lens that can split the image into two frames — one for each eye — and then project the image onto the spectacles. The two images would create a stereoscopic effect since they would appear to have been taken from slightly different angles, and this would simulate 3D.

According to the patent application (number 20100079356) the images would be equivalent to high definition in quality, and sensors inside the spectacles would detect the precise location of the wearer’s eyes to ensure the image is projected at exactly the right place and is comfortable to watch.

March 19, 2010

iPads and battery life

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:01 pm

A bit of a problem for the soon-to-be-released tech device.

From the link:

Apple’s iPad $99 battery replacement service is a bit of a misnomer; Apple will replace the entire iPad, not the battery.

Already, the iPad battery has come under fire. The iPad’s 10-inch LCD display requires a battery that’s more than five times the capacity and size of the iPhone 3GS battery. The screen alone consumes roughly 2 watts per hour, Vronko says, and will drain the large battery in 12 hours by itself.

Apple, which claims the iPad has a 10-hour battery life, doesn’t want the iPad to face the kind of vitriolic complaints regarding battery life that the iPhone has endured since its debut.

February 4, 2010

Is Amazon in an e-book panic?

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:12 pm

Yes is a very fair answer. Last week it got into, and lost, a scrap with Macmillan, one of the largest English  language publishers. Possibly because of Apple’s iPad announcement and demo.

From the second link:

It all started last week when Apple CEO Steve Jobs trotted out the iPad, dubbed by some as a Kindle killer. Major publishers voiced their support for the iPad, including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Group, and Macmillan.

Then Jobs showed off one of the iPad’s critical apps, the iBook e-reader, and flashed prices for e-books at around $15. It was a swipe at Amazon.com because publishers (Macmillan being one of them) had been trying to get Amazon.com to raise its e-book price from $10.

And:

On Friday, Amazon.com stunned the publishing world by pulling Macmillan books, both Kindle editions and printed books, from its shelves in an apparent strong-arm tactic to show Macmillan that Amazon.com continues to set the rules. At the very least, Amazon.com wanted to show that Macmillan, which is among the biggest publishers in the U.S., still needs Amazon.com.

One would have hoped that Amazon.com had spent considerable time weighing this decision. Instead, it looked like a giant company suddenly deciding to play chicken with another giant company—and Amazon.com flinched. On Sunday, only two days after pulling Macmillan books, Amazon.com relented.

Now there’s this news from the seemingly flailing e-tailer:

Is Amazon Building a Superkindle?
New York Times, Feb. 3, 2010

Amazon has acquired Touchco, a New York start-up that was developing flexible, transparent, force-sensitive multitouch panels.

The acquisition indicates what Amazon might try to do next in response to Apple’s iPad announcement: a future full-color, more-rugged multitouch Kindle.


Read Original Article>>

January 28, 2010

Watch out Kindle …

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:09 am

the iPad is about to start breathing down your neck.

From the link:

The Kindle DX is the same size as the iPad. It has a black and white E-Ink screen, 4 gigabytes of internal storage, 3G access and costs $489. Meanwhile, the cheapest version of the iPad has a full-color touch screen, a powerful processor and graphics chip, 16 gigabytes of flash storage, Wi-Fi and sells for $499.

The cheaper iPad might not have 3G or the same battery life as the Kindle DX (up to 4 days), but on every other count it wins. It has both a gorgeous screen and vastly more functionality. And, while Amazon has established an excellent, easy way to buy books, iTunes, which already has some 125 million customers, will give it a run for its money.

November 25, 2009

Nanny company alert — Apple

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:17 pm

Apple is actually voiding warranties for secondhand smoke “contamination.” Second hand smoke residue on computer parts make them too toxic to handle? Really?

I hope this is some sort of hoax, but it seems to have some factual basis. Apple already has a very sorry track record in digital rights management, and it now looks like they want to either start defrauding customers of legitimate warranty claims or become some sort of anti-smoking police, because they can’t be seriously arguing the remnants of tobacco smoke on electronic parts is least bit dangerous.

From the first link:

Apple is apparently telling at least some customers that the amount of cigarette smoke residue inside their computers makes it unsafe for the company to perform warranty service on them, despite the lack of such a clause in the company’s warranty agreement.

The Consumerist says the complaint as been raised as far as Steve Jobs’ office, with no relief for the customers involved.

The story was reported on Friday, though the Consumerist said it had sought, but failed to receive, any explanation from Apple HQ over a period of months. (The site is part of the Consumers Union/Consumer Reports organization, so I deem the report credible).

October 28, 2009

Digial Rights Management …

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:35 pm

illustrated

.

flickr / Martin Krzywinski

This image is great. For the life of me I remain astounded by the success of the iPod/iTunes. I understand the branding quick-to-market aspects, but the iPod is a terrible tech device and standard. Ridiculous proprietary files, a history of just crippling DRM and many, many, many better and less expensive options out there. I know multiple people who lost massive collections of iTunes music because of the non-consumer/non-user friendly backbone of the service.

August 7, 2009

Microsoft cooks Bing search results

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:18 pm

Disappointing and potentially lethal to the popularity of Bing, Microsoft’s reworked and rebranded search engine. The ad campaign was working, the Yahoo deal complete and it looked like Microsoft was doing something right in the search space.

And now this.

From the link:

Case in point: a search on Bing for the phrase, “Why is Windows so expensive?” returned this as the top link….

“Why are Macs so expensive.”

That’s right. You’re not hallucinating. That was the top response on Bing to a question about the price of Windows.

But it’s not just the top link. The rest of the links on the first search page don’t get much better. There is one link about the price of vinyl windows (actual windows that you look out), one on why Windows hosting providers are so expensive, and one about fish. The five other links on page one are about the expensive price of Macs. The Windows client OS is not even mentioned.

If Microsoft is going to resort to blocking and self-protection with their search engine, they could at least be subtle. This is about as subtle as a machine gun.

Also from the link:

The first of the search results about the Microsoft Word question linked to a page about how expensive Manhattan is (Is Microsoft competing with Manhattan now?). The top responses to the “Is Microsoft Evil?” question were, get this, a link to a New York Times story about whether or not Google is considered evil, a link about proxy servers, and a link to a story about Microsoft being charitable. Wow.

To be fair Microsoft has responded search results are based on an algorithm, blah, blah …

The results found in the linked article are more than fishy, and Microsoft is under a pretty heavy burden in public perception to avoid looking like, well looking exactly as the Redmond behemoth does right now.

March 19, 2009

Recession helps PCs …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:18 pm

hurts Macs.

From the link:

Recession-weary consumers and Apple played another game of chicken last month, and once again consumers didn’t budge and Apple swerved off the road. Mac sales fell 16 percent year over year in February, according to research firm The NPD Group.

The Mac sales drops in February were a 10 percent decrease from the month before. Sales of Windows PCs, however, increased 22 percent in February year over year, helped along by surging sales of lightweight, inexpensive netbooks, according to NPD.