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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.
Google+ Daddy Vic Gundotra Bails
April 25, 2014
Vic Gundotra, who moved Google into the social media world, first with the ill-fated Buzz and then with Google+, on Thursday announced his departure from the company. "Now is the time for a new journey," he wrote, fittingly, on Google+. The announcement was laced with the usual praise for colleagues accompanying such statements. It was met with an equally platitude-laden response.
Apple's Story: Passion, Patience and Pressure
April 25, 2014
True, market-changing, life-changing innovation comes from three key elements: passion, patience and pressure. Apple is the poster child for this view of innovation. Especially now. Especially when Apple is simply selling millions of profitable iPhones and MacBooks and iPads, quarter after quarter -- after quarter -- with few truly "new" products to show off.
FCC Denies Desertion of Net Neutrality
April 25, 2014
Reports that the FCC is abandoning its support of Net neutrality are incorrect, insisted FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. The reports appeared just prior to the release by the FCC of a notice that it is proposing some new Open Internet rules. The old rules were rejected by a federal court in January and tossed back to the FCC for a rewrite. There has been "a great deal of misinformation," Wheeler wrote.
Wearables Just Don't Do It for Nike
April 22, 2014
Nike appears to be retreating from its vanguard position in the computer wearables market. The company reportedly has begun slashing the engineering team working on its FuelBand product, a fitness computer that can be worn on a wrist, laying off as many as 55 of the 70-person team working on FuelBand. However, Nike subsequently insisted the FuelBand was still an important part of its business.
Transcendence and Analytics: What If the End of Mankind as We Know It Were a Good Thing?
April 21, 2014
I saw the movie Transcendence last week, and it was an impressive telling of what might happen were we to achieve singularity. Given this is likely where AI research is taking us and that analytics is a major component to getting there, I not only recommend the movie as entertainment but also as a means to wrapping your head around what we must correct before we take that next big step.
Google This: Yahoo Wants Apple's Search Business
April 18, 2014
Google has dominated the world of search for years, so much so that "Google" is not only synonymous with searching -- it's a verb, too. Who hasn't told someone to google something? That's awesome mindshare, and its power is translated to billions of dollars of ad-related revenue for Google. Where will search grow in the future? Mobile. And rumor has it, Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer wants it.
Next iOS May Add Shazam Music Discovery
April 18, 2014
Have you ever heard a song you never heard before while you were out and about and wished you knew its title and artist? iOS soon may be able to tell you. Apple reportedly is working with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate into iOS 8 a feature that allows a song's title and artist to be identified from a sound grab through the microphone in an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Alibaba IPO Could Spark E-Commerce Investment Surge
April 17, 2014
Whether Alibaba launches its IPO on April 21 or in the following days, it clearly will be a major event for Wall Street. By any measure, it will be a blockbuster. The company will raise up to $15 billion in the offering, which would place its value at $200 billion. These are not unrealistic numbers. The company reportedly posts more revenue and net income than Amazon and eBay combined.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
Why Is It So Hard to Think Different?
April 14, 2014
I've been having an interesting week -- first, with AMD, which has returned to profitability and stopped chasing Intel's butt to do some rather interesting different things, like merging x86 and ARM technologies. Then, with IBM, which also realized that chasing Intel wasn't doing it any good. It chose an even more unusual path for its processors, making them "open."
The Earth Is Moving Under the Smartphone Market
April 07, 2014
One thing that Apple made clear when it took the smartphone market away from then-dominant players Palm, BlackBerry and Microsoft is that to win you need to make big bets and change the battle. The market is now dominated by Apple and Google technology -- much of which Google doesn't control -- and Microsoft just swapped CEOs because the old CEO couldn't pull the needed rabbit out of his hat.
Amazon: And Now for Something Completely Different
April 02, 2014
Amazon is widely expected to reveal a new set-top video streaming device on Wednesday. It likely will introduce either a streaming stick like the HDMI Google Chromecast or a set-top box like the Apple Apple TV. Or, the company might produce both options -- like Roku's new Streaming Stick or more traditional Roku box. Like the Kindle Fire, Amazon's operating system will be Android-based.
Nvidia's ECS: Some Amazing Little Companies to Watch
March 31, 2014
Nvidia's Emerging Companies Summit, a place to check out some of the firms that could become the next breakout company, didn't disappoint this year. Among the highlights: A firm that could redefine advertising connected to Web pictures and videos; a company that could put your entire desktop and gaming experience in the cloud; and one that could help you actually hear that TV you see at a bar.
Is Google Thwarting Android-x86 Development?
March 26, 2014
Has Google been spreading FUD to discourage computer makers from using an Android OS retooled to run on legacy computers? The maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing. The FOSS development world is hardly free of rivalry and power plays.
Rumor vs. Reality in Silicon Valley, Part 1
March 25, 2014
Like most small, inbred communities, Silicon Valley encourages and thrives on gossip, even when it's of little substance. In popular-speak, Valley gossip has a "low signal to noise ratio," but the rumor mill is vibrantly alive despite that shortcoming -- partly due to venture capitalists, whose efforts parallel the day-to-day business of technology.
Apple, Comcast Wade Into Streaming Content Talks
March 24, 2014
Apple and Comcast reportedly are discussing a streaming-TV service that will go through an Apple set-top box. Apple apparently wants the service to be treated as a managed service, meaning it will run on cabling separate from that used for public Internet access. "I seriously doubt Comcast will agree to a deal, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Haunted Empire - Biased Author or Biased Readers?
March 24, 2014
What really surprises me about the book Haunted Empire, which predicts the decline of Apple, isn't that Apple fans don't like it. That's a given -- Apple fans only want positive books and stories. It is the level of effort that has gone into killing it, and how much that apparently has accelerated sales. There is an old saying: The only thing better than bad publicity is no publicity.
Apple Will Light the Wearable Tech Fire
March 21, 2014
I'm usually not a prediction sort of guy because it's cosmically silly -- we're tiny little humans on a tiny little rock spinning in a very large universe. Yet here I am, looking at 2014 and the latest batch of smartwatch efforts from Samsung, Google, Motorola and LG. Here's what I see: None of these manufacturers has created anything that will resurrect the watch for whole generations of people.
Flappy Bird May Soar Again
March 20, 2014
The mobile game Flappy Bird seemed dead and buried, but a tweet from its creator suggests it may yet rise from the ashes -- perhaps not quite like the phoenix. In response to a Twitter user asking whether the game would return to the App Store, Dong Nguyen responded, "Yes. But not soon." Indie developer Nguyen released the game last May, having created it in just a few evenings.

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