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How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
Next iPad May Be Loaded With iPhone Hand-Me-Downs
June 13, 2014
In large families, it's common to pass on an older child's clothes to a younger one. The same is true in the Apple product family. It's common to pass on features introduced in the big brother iPhone to the little brother iPad. That appears to be the case with the next-generation iPad Air -- if the latest gaggle of rumors are to be believed. That could affect the product's greeting in the market.
Amazon May Set Up Neighborhood Services Market
June 12, 2014
Amazon reportedly is planning to test a local marketplace that could make it a one-stop shop for local services. Those services could include anything from dog walking to a plumbing. Backed by Amazon's already established ratings and recommendations infrastructure, the service could take on sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Craigslist. It might also threaten home improvement chains.
D'oh! Apple's New iCloud and iPhoto Will Cost Me Big Bucks
June 12, 2014
I just had a disappointing palm-to-forehead realization: Apple's iCloud investments will reduce the pressure for Apple to increase the storage space on the iPhone 6. I no longer have hope that the next entry-level iPhone 6 will start at $199 for 32 GB of storage. I'm afraid we'll be stuck yet another year with an entry-model iPhone 6 that will start at the $199 price point with a paltry 16 GB.
Dell vs. Apple: Round 3
June 09, 2014
When Dell and Apple first confronted each other in the 1990s, Dell was a startup and Apple was a mature company attempting to fight Dell's kind of fight. It didn't go well, and Apple almost failed. When they faced off for the second time, Apple had been dramatically transformed by Steve Jobs into a much leaner, more-focused firm. Dell was having its own mid-life crisis, and Apple clearly won.
Google to Spread the Web With $1B Worth of Satellites
June 02, 2014
Google's eye on the sky seems wider than ever. The company reportedly is planning to spend at least $1 billion on a project to bring Internet access to remote areas through satellites. It is not yet clear whether the plan would augment or replace Project Loon -- Google's proposal to connect remote regions to the Internet through high-altitude balloons.
Can Apple Do for Smart Homes What It Did for Smartphones?
June 02, 2014
Apple is rumored to be launching a smart home platform at its developer conference this week. The smart home market is actually in a place that's rather similar to where MP3 players were when Apple launched the iPod, and the iPhone is basically an iPod with phone capability. The smart home effort is in part about music and video distribution, and iPhones are commonly used as remote controls.
Amazon Plans to Stream Music to Prime Members' Ears
May 30, 2014
Amazon reportedly is gearing up to launch a streaming music service this summer, taking on competitors like Pandora and Spotify. The streaming service would be part of Amazon's $99 per year Prime service, which offers subscribers free two-day shipping on many items, video streaming and an e-book lending library. The digital catalog would be limited to titles that are at least six months old.
The Real Reason Apple Bought Beats: Addiction
May 30, 2014
I get the sense that a good many Apple enthusiasts are confused by its acquisition of Beats Electronics. Sure, many are nodding their heads, saying that Beats is good for Apple and makes total sense. The headphones are selling well. With 250,000 paying subscribers, the Beats Music service is taking off fast, and it can only be elevated by Apple's global brand and infrastructure.
Surface: The Embodiment of Microsoft's Vision
May 26, 2014
Surface largely was the brainchild of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's last CEO, and it resulted from a similar thought process that created Zune. In other words, the OEMs weren't building a product that was competitive with Apple, and Microsoft got frustrated and felt it could do a better job. In both cases, the conclusion that ultimately should have been drawn was that OEMs alone weren't at fault.
Will Samsung and Apple Lay Down Their Swords?
May 20, 2014
After years of legal wrangling over their mobile technology intellectual patent rights in courtrooms around the world, Apple and Samsung apparently are ready to call it a day. Representatives of the companies reportedly are in negotiations to settle their legal differences out of court. This is not the first time such a rumor has surfaced, noted Peter Toren, partner with Weisbrod Matteis & Copley.
'I Am Google': Pride Comes Before a Fall
May 19, 2014
Last week, I observed repercussions from one of the most arrogant moves I've ever seen an executive make. A small uproar occurred when a Google product strategist learned there were fewer people than he'd expected at an event he'd volunteered to speak at. As he stormed out, he uttered the immortal words, "I Am Google," to the event organizer -- whom he apparently thought was a booth babe.
Flappy Bird 2 Due in August, Paternity Uncertain
May 16, 2014
Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen this week said that the wildly popular mobile game will return in August and also that he is working on a brand-new offering. After dropping a tantalizing hint back in March, Nguyen on Wednesday told CNBC that the new Flappy Bird will deliver multiplayer capabilities and be "less addictive." On Thursday, however, he said that he was not the one creating the game.
Yahoo Buys Blink Team, App to Go Dark
May 15, 2014
Yahoo has acquired Blink, a mobile app that destroys messages at a predetermined time set by the user. Yahoo intends to shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks. Blink made its debut just a year ago. The conventional thinking is that Yahoo acquired Blink largely for its talent, as it seeks to build out a robust portfolio of mobile products.
AT&T May Be Suiting Up to Battle Comcast
May 13, 2014
AT&T has been negotiating to buy DirecTV for close to $50 billion, based on reports that surfaced Monday. The deal, which has not been confirmed by the companies, could close within a few weeks. The current option on the table, according to anonymous sources, would be largely a stock trade but it would include some cash, with AT&T offering in the low- to mid-$90s per share for DirecTV.
The Next Generation of In-Car Entertainment
May 12, 2014
Over the next several months, we will see a massive step forward in the systems we use in our cars to connect to our phones, listen to music and watch videos. As I write this, the new Kenwood Excelon DNN991HD is being installed in my project car, and it promises pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. In August, Jaguar will start supplying a new AV system provided by Intel.
Breaking Down the Crazy Apple-Buying-Beats Riff
May 09, 2014
The hottest -- and possibly craziest -- tech rumor of the week is, hands down, that Apple is in negotiations to acquire Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. Based on a single report, the story has been fanned into a raging inferno faster than a wildfire on a hot August day. Unfortunately, the only cited source for the rumor is "people familiar with the deal."
Windows Phone's Secret Weapon: Customization
May 08, 2014
Despite coming from one of the world's most well-known tech companies, Microsoft, Windows Phone has a freakishly odd smartphone branding problem. From what I see out there, most consumers barely know what a Windows Phone is or how it works or why they might want one. Business users tend to be more aware of it, but they often end up choosing an Android smartphone or even an iPhone instead.
A Little Less Surface, a Little More Sales?
May 07, 2014
Microsoft is expected to debut a smaller version of its Surface line of tablets later this month. The company reportedly will showcase the device for the first time, along with other new Surface models, at a New York City event on May 20. The smaller version of the Surface will run on Qualcomm processors rather than the Nvidia and Intel chips Microsoft previously has used for the Surface line.
Microsoft vs. Google: Chasing Butts While Running From Risks
May 05, 2014
Google and Microsoft are positioned against each other as primary competitors, and that could mean trouble. I remember past dynamics similar to theirs that didn't end well for either company. Apple focused on IBM (the 1984 ad) and didn't see Microsoft coming. Microsoft focused on AOL and didn't see the Internet coming. Intel focused on AMD so much it missed both Transmeta and ARM.
The Calm Before 2014's Tech Storm: Apple Will Bring the Rain
May 01, 2014
There's a lot shaping up for Apple this year, and it's going to be wild. In fact, there's so much going on at Infinite Loop in Cupertino these days that it makes me believe that 2014 will be the first post-Steve Jobs year when Apple -- in the eyes of the broader tech world -- stops dancing around and finally brings the rain. For starters, the iPhone will get a bigger screen.
Microsoft's Makeover: Nadella Confirmed, Ballmer Vindicated
April 28, 2014
Last week, Microsoft delivered its quarterly report, and it was a big deal. It was CEO Satya Nadella's first real quarter and the Nokia merger was completed. This is just the beginning of the Microsoft makeover, but two things indicate that in the end, Ballmer finally did what was right for Microsoft in prepping the company for Nadella -- and that Nadella was the right choice to lead the firm.

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