QuickLinks - Market
QuickLinks - Market
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- Google buys YouTube for $1.65bn
Google has acquired YouTube in a $1.65bn all-share deal making the 18-month-old video-sharing website one of the fastest internet success stories ever. The deal, which dwarfs the $580m that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation paid for social networking website MySpace last year, puts Google ahead of its rivals as the internet moves into the video generation. see also Google faces copyright fight over YouTube. Dick Parsons, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, fired a shot across the bows of Google, saying his group would pursue its copyright complaints against the video sharing site YouTube.com.
- IT - Your call may be recorded
Telecom Italia is mired in controversy over political meddling in its business strategy and the emergence of a phone-tapping scandal.
- UK - Carphone Warehouse buying AOL UK
Carphone Warehouse has won the auction to buy the UK's third-largest internet provider, AOL UK. BBC business editor Robert Peston said Carphone Warehouse, owner of the TalkTalk broadband and phone offering, was paying £370m for the operation. AOL UK has 2.1 million customers across the country - 600,000 on dial-up and 1.5 million with broadband connections.
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
- DE - Time Warner to sell AOL Germany to Telecom Italia
Time Warner has agreed to sell AOL Germany's Internet access business to Telecom Italia for 675 million (US$856 million), giving the Milan company a firm foothold in the German market. The all-cash deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close early in 2007. Once complete, it will make Milan-based Telecom Italia the second-biggest provider of broadband Internet in Germany with 3.2 million customers, behind T-Online International, part of Deutsche Telekom AG.
- FR - Time Warner to sell AOL France to Neuf Cegetel
(International Herald Tribune)
Time Warner has agreed to sell AOL France's Internet access business to Neuf Cegetel, a French telecommunications network operator, for about $365 million in cash. Under the agreement, Neuf Cegetel will acquire AOL's Internet access business in France, including its 500,000 broadband customers. The French company will also acquire its ASME operation, which manages AOL France's customer service operations.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- Games industry is 'failing women'
The videogames industry is continuing to fail women by not producing suitable content, a senior executive at Electronic Arts (EA) has said. David Gardner, chief operating officer for EA's worldwide studios, was speaking to a conference in Edinburgh.
- Google offers hosted communications apps
Organizations will be able to offer members or employees Web-based e-mail, calendar, chat and Web page publishing hosted by Google for free. Google Apps for Your Domain includes Gmail with 2 gigabytes of storage, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Page Creator. It allows organizations to use Gmail applications with their own e-mail address, instead of the "@gmail.com" domain.
- Holdout Bands Give In to iTunes
Only a few remaining big-name musical acts refuse to make their songs available on Apple Computer's popular iTunes Music Store. Analysts say the online holdouts - including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Garth Brooks, Radiohead and Kid Rock - probably can't avoid iTunes forever as fans flock to the internet to buy music.
- More media, less news
Newspapers are making progress with the internet, but most are still too timid, defensive or high-minded.
- UK - Giving it all away
The advent of the internet allows the contents of newspapers to be distributed for nothing - which is the main reason why London will be having its free newspaper war next week. No one in their right mind in Britain would launch a paid-for paper aimed at a general readership, not only because competition from freely distributed news sources over the web is too fierce but also because the web will increasingly soak up advertising. The decision of the Rothermeres and Murdochs of this world to give their product away represents an attempt to join rather than beat that trend.
- US - Adware Advertising : The Role of Intermediaries
Potentially harmful advertising software has grown from an annoying computing issue into a serious computer security risk. Well-known companies are helping to spread this unwanted adware, often unwittingly, by paying to have their ads displayed by nuisance or harmful adware programs. Many high-profile companies are unaware of this problem because the chain of intermediaries involved in moving ads from marketers to adware applications can be incredibly complex.
- US - Universal backs free music offer
Vivendi Universal, the world's biggest music group, has signed a deal to make its music catalogue available on a free legal downloads service. Under the agreement, Spiralfrog will offer Universal's songs online in the US and Canada. New York-based Spiralfrog will launch its service in December and make its money by carrying adverts on the site.
- Writely online word-processing application - Google welcomes sign-ups
Writely is a hosted word-processing package that enables users to edit and publish documents online. Five months after being bought by Google, Writely is now open for anyone who wants to sign up and use it. This word processor figures to be part of the search giant's counterweight to Microsoft's Office Live strategy.
- YouTube seeks rights to thousands of music videos
YouTube is talking with record labels to post thousands of music videos online, aiming to move beyond being a site for sharing home videos to a provider of mainstream entertainment like Yahoo and others. YouTube, which sprung out of nowhere a year ago to now claim over 100 millions views a day, is negotiating for rights to post current and archive music videos on its site, and said any commercial model it decides on will offer the videos free. see also Newsday.com: Channeling into a new generation (Newsday.com) The site has broke n into the Top 50 among Internet users. According to comScore Media Metrix, YouTube had 16 million unique U.S. visitors in July, a 20 percent increase from 13 million in June.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- Fox to offer TV downloads on MySpace
Fox Entertainment Group is planning to distribute movies and TV shows to consumers from the company's network of Internet sites, including MySpace.com.
- The alliance against Google
Google announced two new conquests. It struck a deal with Viacom under which it will syndicate video clips from Viacom brands such as MTV and Nickelodeon to other websites, and integrate advertisements into them. This makes Google the clear leader in the fledgling but promising market for web-video advertising. It also announced a deal with News Corporation, under which it will provide all the search and text-advertising technology on News Corporation's websites, including MySpace, an enormously popular social-networking site.
- Time lists 50 'coolest websites'
Video website YouTube and social networking site MySpace are among the 50 'coolest websites' of the year as chosen by US magazine Time. The magazine breaks its choices down into categories including entertainment, shopping and news.
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
- Google launches web spreadsheet
Internet search engine Google has released a web-based spreadsheet application, on a limited test basis. Google said its free, web-based application can be shared by up to ten users simultaneously. The dominant stand-alone spreadsheet is Excel from Microsoft, and Google's move could put the two on collision course.
- UK - BBC website shows World Cup games
All of the BBC's 2006 World Cup matches will also be broadcast exclusively live on the BBC Sport website. The service will be available to UK broadband users and will mirror terrestrial and interactive coverage. In addition there will be four-minute highlight packages from every single game of the tournament on demand.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- America Online to rebrand as AOL
America Online, the internet division of Time Warner, is to rebrand itself to be known simply as AOL.
- CN - China wrestles with online gamers
The Chinese government recently announced it will invest almost $2bn (£1.14bn) in developing the games industry. But there is a social price to be paid. Players often spend hour upon hour in front of PC monitors, not even taking a breather for life's most basic necessities. But the same government actively encouraging home-grown gaming is, somewhat schizophrenically, drawing the conclusion that the online gamers themselves should be regulated.
- UK - Fewer charges for website content
The number of UK media groups charging for online content has nearly halved over the last year, according to the Association of Online Publishers (AOP). The association said just 37% of its members now charged for some online content, compared with 63% in 2005.
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- DE - Microsoft leads German TV venture
Deutsche Telekom is teaming up with Microsoft to offer an interactive TV service through high-speed, broadband connections in Germany. The tie-up will exploit the growth of the next-generation VDSL network, which with bandwidth of up to 50 megabits per second can carry far more content.
- Hollywood takes new tack against film piracy
(International Herald Tribune)
Hollywood studios, seeking a way to foil piracy and looking toward life beyond the DVD, are turning Europe into a proving ground for new methods of digital movie distribution. The new services from Warner and Universal will allow consumers to download to "own" the movie files for unlimited viewing, potentially creating a replacement for DVDs, and at the same time as the DVD retail-store release
- Teen craze over networking sites
In the 13 months since it launched, Bebo has racked up more than 22 million members. It is aimed at those aged 13-30 but has proved particularly popular with school and college students.
- Windows Live offers Microsoft a quicker turnaround
Microsoft has added more than a dozen new products under the ever-growing Windows Live umbrella. Microsoft's goal is to continuously update and launch products in a "rolling thunder" approach, as opposed to Microsoft's usual strategy of formal unified product launches. On the business side, Microsoft's new ad-serving engine, AdCenter, is at the heart of the effort. The engine, aimed at helping the company increase its ad sales and rates, draws on user demographic information to help drive more targeted marketing pitches. See also Windows Live services online and on tap
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- DE - Warner Bros. to start German file-sharing service
The movie industry has been taking action against illegal file-sharers Films such as Batman Begins and TV series The OC are to be made available over the internet via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks by studio Warner Bros. The firm will sell movies and TV shows over the internet in Germany, Austria and Switzerland from March. Its In2Movies service will use the same file-sharing technology that has led to an increase in movie piracy.
- Long-lost tunes dug up for jukebox of the net
Universal Music Group, home to U2 and the world's biggest record company, will next month take the first step towards rescuing more than 100,000 tracks from its archives over the next three years.
- Mobile et Internet sauveront-ils le disque?
2005 aura été l'année du décollage de la musique 'dématéralisée'. Elle devrait représenter 25 % du marché en 2010. Mais les Majors devront véritablement améliorer leurs offres pour faire oublier le piratage et la gratuité.
- Road maps for the digital revolution
(International Herald Tribune)
Given the opportunity to start a new media empire from scratch, what would be the ideal approach? Four high-ranking media executives who were in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum, shared their visions with Thomas Crampton.
- UK - MySpace looks to UK music scene
A UK version of the social networking site MySpace.com is to be launched 'within the next 30 days'. The announcement was made by Fox Interactive Media president Ross Levinson at a meeting of the National Association of Television Programme Executives in Las Vegas. The site allows users to share video and photos, write blogs and network with other users. Despite only being two years old, it has 50 million registered users. Some 32 million of these are actively using the site.
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
- DE - Rivals pressing Telekom on all sides
(International Herald Tribune)
For Deutsche Telekom, December has brought two potentially strong competitors: the largest German discount supermarket chain, Aldi, and the country's largest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland. Both companies are raising the stakes in the largest European telecommunications market, where Telekom leads in fixed-line, mobile and high-speed Internet service. Aldi began selling prepaid mobile phone service. Kabel Deutschland is investing E500 million, or $600 million, through 2008 to upgrade its cable television lines to sell high-speed Internet service. That is going to raise the heat on Deutsche Telekom, which is one of the most dominant West European former monopolies on its home turf.
- It's Microsoft's turn to be jilted at the altar
(New York Times)
Time Warner is expected to announce that it will renew its three-year-old partnership with Google as the provider of search technology. The deal, in which Google will invest $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL, will also significantly expand AOL's advertising opportunities on Google sites, among other things. The turn of events shows just how much Google - hotter now than Netscape was nine years ago - has supplanted Microsoft as the force to be reckoned with in technology. And it raises questions about Microsoft's stated goal of becoming the leader in Internet searching, as well as about its emerging plans to offer more online services under a new brand, Windows Live. see also Google's deal on AOL is Microsoft's setback (New York Times).
- New tune for digital music in 2006
Many people are likely to be unwrapping digital music players as they gather for the annual present-fest this Christmas. For the record label, the battle is to persuade people to pay for the music they put on their machines. For consumers and critics of the way the music industry is handling the transition to digital music, the battle is to convince them to be a whole lot more radical.
Issue no. 349 - 27 November 2005
- How Google Tamed Ads on the Wild, Wild Web
(New York Times)
Five years ago, Web advertisers were engaged in an ever-escalating competition to grab our attention. Today, Web advertisers by and large have put down their weapons and sworn off violence. Thank you, Google. Without intending to do so, the company set in motion multilateral disarmament by telling its first advertisers in 2000: text only, please. No banner ads, no images, no animation.
- The Xbox factor
Microsoft's release of its Xbox 360 video-games console begins a new phase in the battle to remove Sony's PlayStation from the top spot. If it succeeds, the software giant may be tempted to make more incursions into the competitive market for home-entertainment hardware. Rivals beware.
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
- iPorn: Adult sites offer iPod 'featurettes'
Independently produced content made for Apple's new video iPod is beginning to appear online - and as with any new technology, it may be sex that sells first. Pinup site Suicide Girls has launched a new, free feature: downloadable videos of interviews and photo shots with its models, all configured for the video-capable iPod. At least one unambiguously adult site, Povpod.com, has also released content for the device. Apple unveiled the video-enabled iPod last week, along with a new version of the iTunes music store that sells music videos, some short films and episodes from five TV shows, for $1.99 each.
- 02 agrees Telefonica takeover
Mobile phone group O2 has agreed to a takeover by the Spanish telecoms company Telefonica. Telefonica, the parent company of Big Brother producer Endemol, is paying £17.7bn for O2. The deal will give Telefonica a foothold in the UK and Germany, two of Europe's largest mobile phone markets.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- Google to become an applications company
Even ahead of the official announcement of the agreement between Sun Microsystems and Google rumors were rife as to what the long-term goals of the two companies might be - and if, how and to what degree the deal might hurt Microsoft. The two companies have announced with tremendous media fanfare that downloads of Sun's Java runtime system and of the office suite OpenOffice would henceforth optionally include Google's desktop toolbar and, what was more, Google would be supporting OpenOffice.
- VeriSign's dollar signs for Weblogs.com
VeriSign has agreed to purchase Dave Winer's Weblogs.com ping service for $2.3 million. The ping service automatically notifies subscribers when new content is posted to a Web site or blog. VeriSign said it would continue to operate Weblogs.com as an openly available service. It's been a banner week for acquisitions of entities with 'Weblogs' in their names. America Online says it is acquiring Weblogs Inc. see also VeriSign Tackles the Scandal of Splog (eWEEK) and AOL to buy leading blog company (BBC).
Issue no. 345 - 25 September 2005
- UK - Users take charge of BBC News site
BBC News Online is to allow unedited reader comments to be posted live for the first time in a raft of major developments to its website. The BBC says it receives more than 6,000 reader comments on a typical day but only around one in 10 is published. The new system, which is basically a talkboard, will launch on October 10. The most contentious subjects will still be moderated, but otherwise the BBC will rely upon other users to report problems such as unacceptable comments. Users will also vote on the most interesting comments posted and these will be given greater prominence.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- Rewriting the rules of publishing
Canadian entrepreneur Bob Young successfully launching the Lulu site - which allows readers to download single copies of books stored on Lulu without the need of huge print runs - in North America. Mr Young is unveiling his UK-based site on 2 August. His Lulu site offers budding writers, photographers and musicians - who might normally be rejected by the mainstream outlets - the chance to get their works published.
- Video gaming - Chasing the dream
Gaming has gone from a minority activity a few years ago to mass entertainment. Games consoles are the most powerful mass-produced computers in the world and the new machines will offer unprecedented levels of performance. But it will also make depictions of violence even more lifelike, to the dismay of critics. This summer there has been a huge fuss about the inclusion of hidden sex scenes in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", a highly popular, but controversial, game in which the player assumes the role of a street gangster. Senator Hillary Clinton and a chorus of other American politicians have called for federal prosecutors to investigate the game and examine whether the industry's system of self-regulation, which applies age ratings to games, is working properly. In America, half of the population plays computer or video games. However most players are under 40, while most critics of gaming are over 40. An entire generation that began gaming as children has kept playing. The average age of American gamers is 30. Amid all the arguments about the minutiae of rating systems, the unlocking of hidden content, and the stealing of children's innocence, three important factors are generally overlooked: that attitudes to gaming are marked by a generational divide; that there is no convincing evidence that games make people violent; and that games have great potential in education. see also A study of the effects on players of violent fantasy-world game Asheron's Call 2.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
- US - Paper's 'wikitorial' trial halted
The Los Angeles Times has temporarily ended its short-lived trial which gave readers the chance to edit its editorials on its website. The online version of the paper started its 'wikitorial' experiment last week. It was meant to give readers a 'voice'. It was suspended after it was bombarded with inappropriate material. But the paper said it might try the idea again.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- Google UK launches maps and local search
Google UK has finally introduced the local search and mapping tools that were launched in the US earlier this year. Google UK Maps and Local Search are two services built around an interactive map. The mapping service allows users to get accurate directions between two UK destinations while Local Search provides listings of local services, such as restaurants, and indicates their position on the map.
- Music moguls trumped by Steve Jobs?
When Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs walked into the suites of top record label executives in 2002, iTunes software in hand, he was welcomed as a trailblazer to a digital music future. Now, nearly two years after Apple's iTunes launch, record executives have become worried that they have inadvertently ceded too much power over their industry to this charismatic computer executive.
- UK - BBC Radio podcasts 20 more shows
The BBC is making 20 more radio shows available for listeners to download onto their digital music players. The programmes which will be made available as podcasts are mainly talk-based to avoid problems over music rights issues.
- UK - Online music lovers 'frustrated'
UK music lovers are getting frustrated with restrictions placed on digital music tracks once they buy them from online stores, says PC Pro magazine. The magazine reported that people are also being turned off net music stores because of pricing and disappointing sound quality compared to CDs.
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- FR - La France contre Google
France declared war on the United States three weeks ago. You didn't notice? Clearly, you're not French. This war is being fought against one of America's greatest exports. Not rock 'n roll. Not McDonald's or the Disney Co. This time it's Google that the French have in their crosshairs.
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