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Google's Death Wish
December 09, 2013
A recurring theme in the technology industry is that very successful companies become arrogant and start taking unnecessary risks or abusing customers -- the two aren't mutually exclusive. That behavior can accomplish what competitors have failed to do: It can kill them. I was in IBM in the 1980s when it exhibited this behavior, and I wrote a report on Microsoft identifying this same behavior.
Apple Scores Huge China Mobile Deal
December 06, 2013
Apple and China Mobile reportedly have cut a deal that will bring the iPhone to China's largest mobile carrier. The official announcement of China Mobile's iPhone rollout is expected on Dec. 18, when the carrier plans to raise the curtain on its new 4G network. "The reason this deal is important is it adds seven Verizons to Apple's available market," said Carl Howe, research director for the Yankee Group.
Here's Looking at Me, iPhone
December 05, 2013
USPTO just granted Apple a patent for a facial recognition feature that could unlock a mobile device as well as control how it works. That's right, Apple just got a patent so our iPhones can look at us all the time. I just got used to the idea of using my fingerprint to unlock an iPhone 5s, but now my face? I'm vaguely uneasy about the potential for dark uses this sort of technology opens up.
Apple Patents In-Your-Face Technology
December 04, 2013
Facial recognition may be added to fingerprint scanning in Apple's device security repertoire. Apple has been using facial recognition for some time to manage images in its iPhoto app, but a patent awarded to the company on Tuesday combines that tech with facial detection to control a computing device. Apple's facial recognition system could be used to identify the authorized user of a device.
Topsy Buy Gives Apple Mountains of Twitter Data
December 03, 2013
Apple reportedly has acquired Topsy in order to gain more access to real-time consumer information. Topsy provides Twitter data for business clients, helping them to gauge consumer sentiment, find influential social media voices, and measure overall exposure on any topic that's been mentioned in a tweet. Earlier this year, Topsy debuted a search engine designed to parse tweets.
Could Ashton Kutcher Be the Next Steve Jobs?
December 02, 2013
I can hear the virtual voices screaming: "No, there is no way -- he isn't an engineer, he is an actor." Yet in a way, so was Steve Jobs. It's clear that when he was pitching a product on stage he was acting. So why couldn't an actor who has those skills -- and even did a credible job playing Jobs in a movie -- be for Lenovo what Jobs was for Apple?
Steam Machine on Track to Switch Up Video Gaming
November 30, 2013
iBuyPower reportedly is working on prototypes of a commercial Steam machine. Valve recently announced that it was working with multiple OEMs to bring Steam gaming machines to market in 2014. All will run its Linux-based SteamOS. The iBuyPower device is the first Steam machine prototype unveiled by a third party so far, but Valve is said to be working on its own prototype.
Apple, Microsoft and the Innovation Delusion
November 25, 2013
I got a note from a guy a few days ago who said he had an idea that would transform Microsoft, and he wanted me to introduce him to Bill Gates. I don't do that, but it got me thinking. Given that both Apple and Microsoft are based on ideas that came from outside, there is irony in the fact that both firms now have a massive wall between them and outside ideas.
The Yay! and Uh-Oh Reasons for Slowing Mac Sales
November 21, 2013
There's been some concern over the last year or so over slowing Mac sales. Instead of selling at wildly better rates than the constricting PC industry, Macs have been languishing. Of course, at the same time iPad and iPhone sales have been skyrocketing, so it's not hard to point a finger at iPads as a reason. Makes sense. iPads hold a heckuva lot of computing power inside their one-piece slab.
Apple Gets Into the 3D Sensor Game
November 18, 2013
Apple may have a new tool in its armory, reportedly having acquired PrimeSense, which makes chips for 3D machine vision and gesture-based technology. Apple is said to have paid $345 million for the company. Reports vary as to whether the deal is done or will close by the end of this week. PrimeSense is perhaps best known as the company behind the technology that enabled Microsoft's Xbox Kinect.
How Amazon - Not IBM - Will Kill AWS
November 18, 2013
I went public last week with my opinion that IBM eventually will beat Amazon Web Services, even though Amazon won the first skirmish. I was referring only to the federal government, not the largely user-based market Amazon currently serves, but I wasn't clear. One of the tweets taking me to task said something like "you did what lazy stock analysts do and used the past to predict the future."
Apple Sheds Maps Humiliation and Gets the Last Laugh
November 14, 2013
Apple angered millions of iPhone users -- and baffled millions more -- when it ditched the generally functional built-in Google-based Maps app in favor of its own. That was last year, when it introduced iOS 6. Howls of anger rocketed across the Web, and fanboys of other platforms -- including some Apple enthusiasts -- started tracking Apple Maps fails.
New iPad Mini Tiptoes Into the Market
November 12, 2013
Apple snuck out the iPad mini with Retina display in a low-key launch on Tuesday, making it available for purchase online, through personal pickup of Web orders at its retail stores, or from various carriers. The device is also available at selected authorized resellers. However, the iPad mini with Retina display apparently is not available for direct purchase at Apple stores.
Apple Designers May Be Hugging Curves
November 11, 2013
It appears Apple is bending to the latest in smartphone designs -- it's reportedly working on iPhone models with curved displays and larger screens. The new designs reportedly will feature screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, which would make them the largest iPhone displays yet, and glass that curves downward at the edges. "Why would they bother?" wondered ABI Research's Michael Morgan.
What if EMC's Joe Tucci Were US President?
November 11, 2013
I've been noodling on this question ever since I attended an EMC analyst event last month and was astounded by the number of analysts who wanted its CEO to run for office. They started with president but seemed to feel no matter where he ended up in government, he would make things better. Joe Tucci is one of the few statesman CEOs and has a rather unique skill set.
Apple May Be Getting 'Repair, Don't Replace' Religion
November 08, 2013
Common repairs for its latest iPhone models, including display replacement, reportedly will soon be performed in Apple's retail stores. Apple already performs some iPhone repairs at its stores, but the new program would cover a host of components, including displays, volume buttons, vibrating motors, speaker systems, rear-facing camera and home buttons.
Google Barge Mystery Solved - Nothing to See Here
November 07, 2013
Finally the barge mystery has been solved -- but the answer for some is a bit deflating. That four-story barge floating on San Francisco Bay -- not to mention others in three additional cities, including Portland, Maine -- has whipped tech observers into a frenzy because of its clear but uncertain link to Google. Well, according to Google, it will be used as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.
Prophets of Doom Prod Apple to Reveal Its True Self
November 07, 2013
Apple has delivered a delightful mix of products and profits this year, all the while facing skepticism from various quarters over its strategies, plans and abilities to take over the world -- especially the part with low-end, cheap markets. Apple also has been caught up in the scrutiny of tech companies that work with various law enforcement agencies to turn over customer data.
Apple to Put Down Roots in Arizona
November 06, 2013
Arizona this week welcomed Apple with open arms. The company will be opening a manufacturing facility there as it ramps up U.S. operations. The new plant will house production of sapphire materials as part of a $578 million deal between Apple and mineral crystal company GT Advanced Technologies. Apple uses the sapphire materials in some of its consumer devices.
Apple Lifts Veil of Secrecy in Transparency Report
November 06, 2013
Apple has published its first transparency report, highlighting the number of government requests it has received for customer data. However, government regulations prevented it from disclosing specific numbers of U.S. law enforcement requests. Facebook, Yahoo and Google issued similar transparency reports soon after they were implicated in the initial wave of NSA surveillance allegations.

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