QuickLinks - Market
QuickLinks - Market
Issue no. 411 - 3 October 2010
- App Store rules: Olive branch or air cover?
Apple has surprised many by posting significant changes to its developer license agreement (PDF) along with rules for those creating applications for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Most notably, Apple relented on the kinds of tools developers can use to create apps, which means Adobe's Flash compiler is back in, and changed its mind on how ad networks can be integrated into apps. So why did it? The timing is certainly curious, since Apple rarely gives up information willingly about anything related to how the company works. The fact that regulators were sniffing around Apple's policies was likely a motivating factor. The FTC started asking questions in June about why certain developer tools and ad networks were banned from use in apps. see also iPhone apps that wouldn't get approved today.
- URLs are the new cookies
by Alistair Croll. Twitter recently announced a new feature. The t.co URL shortener - similar to those from bit.ly, awe.sm, and tinyURL - might seem like a relatively small addition to the company's offering. But it's a massive power shift in the world of analytics because now Twitter can measure engagement wherever it happens, across any browser or app. And unlike other URL shorteners, Twitter can force everyone to use their service simply because they control the platform. Your URLs can be shortened (and their engagement tracked by Twitter) whether you like it or not.
Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
Issue no. 406 - 21 February 2010
- Google chief extends olive branch to mobile phone groups
Eric Schmidt has stressed that Google's involvement in mobile is designed to make the operators money, not leave them out of pocket. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has extended an olive branch to the mobile phone industry saying he is "not trying to run roughshod" over the operators or turn them into "dumb pipes" in the air. Speaking for the first time at Mobile World Congress, the industry's largest trade show, Schmidt faced angry questioning from some in the industry who fear that Google is piggybacking on their massive investment in infrastructure, through ventures such as its Android mobile phone platform, but giving them no return.
- Users will pay for content online, with a few catches
Magazines and newspapers may have some hope in getting consumers to pay for online content after all, though people trying to generate income by writing blog posts and making YouTube videos may not be so lucky. Media research firm Nielsen has found from its latest 52-country survey that there are indeed opportunities to make money on content, but users can be choosy about what kinds of things they're willing to pay for. The survey, which included more than 27,000 customers globally, found that consumers are (naturally) more inclined to keep already free things free. Still, things that people pay for offline - such as movies, music, and games - were the same things that people were most willing to pay for (or consider paying for) online.
- Watching the creative destruction of the mobile industry at MWC
The mobile device and infrastructure industries continued their familiar yet increasingly complex dance at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: Consumers and enterprises receive ever more devices to choose from, while carriers scramble to figure out how to support, deploy and make money off the mix.
Issue no. 405 - 24 January 2010
- The year of the paywall - Newspapers will try to persuade online readers to pay in 2010
In the coming months Rupert Murdoch, News Corp's boss, is expected to introduce paywalls on the websites of the bigger publications in his stable, such as the Times of London and the Sun. Last month Axel Springer, a large German publisher, began charging for some of its newspapers. Variety, a trade publication for Hollywood, has begun demanding money. The New York Times is pondering a similar move. Will these paywalls, however carefully crafted, persuade people to pay for something they are used to getting free? A barrage of surveys suggests it will be difficult.
Issue no. 404 - 21 December 2009
- AOL Looks to Sell Bebo and ICQ
As the Wall Street Journal reports, AOL is in talks to sell ICQ, the once prominent - but now archaic - instant messaging service. The Wall Street Journal also says that Bebo, the social network AOL acquired in 2008 for a jaw-dropping $850 million, may be on the block.
- AOL Time Warner splits after near 10-year marriage
AOL and Time Warner have formally split after almost 10 years as one company. Under the terms of the deal, qualifying shareholders will receive one AOL share for each 11 Time Warner they own. AOL shares will even regain the market ticker symbol they used before the merger. But the company will be worth a tiny fraction of what it once was. Its market value is put at about $2.5bn - 10% of its value at the firm's height. At the time of the merger in 2001, the marriage of Time Warner with AOL was dubbed the "deal of the century" - one that brought superstars of both old and new media together. But the new media element, AOL, soon started to look jaded as its once-popular dial-up internet model was superseded by broadband. [Ed: the deal was announced on 10 January 2000 and QuickLinks subscribers received a "QuickLinks Flash" - a special email message. See QuickLinks item].
Issue no. 403 - 24 November 2009
- End of an era for early websites
A service that gave many people their first taste of building and owning a web page is set to close. Yahoo-owned GeoCities once boasted millions of users and was the third most popular destination on the web. The free site has since fallen out of fashion with users, who have switched to social networks. Yahoo, which acquired the site for $3.57bn in 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom, said sites would no longer be accessible from 26th October.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
- Facebook now reaches 300 million users - and makes money
Cynics have long dismissed social networking as a fad - but the appetite for connecting online appears to be growing more rapidly than ever, after Facebook announced that it now has more than 300 million users worldwide. The announcement, made by the company's 25-year-old co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, underlines Facebook's reputation as one of the largest properties on the internet with an audience that could encompass almost every man, woman and child in the United States. The number is almost as large as the entire internet population of China, and equivalent to the number of web users in Europe's ten largest countries combined. It also marks the latest chapter in an astonishing period of growth for the company. The site reached the 250m user milestone in July, meaning that it has added an additional 50 million people in just two months.
- Microsoft and Yahoo seal web deal
Yahoo and Microsoft have announced a long-rumoured internet search deal that will help the two companies take on chief rival Google. Microsoft's Bing search engine will power the Yahoo website and Yahoo will in turn become the advertising sales team for Microsoft's online offering. Yahoo has been struggling to make profits in recent years. But last year it rebuffed several takeover bids from Microsoft in an attempt to go it alone.
- UK - BBC strikes web video-sharing deal
The BBC has struck a landmark deal with four national newspaper groups to share video news on their websites for the first time. The BBC is providing a limited range of video news content to Mail Online, guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk and Independent.co.uk, which will supplement the newspaper websites' own material, in four areas - UK politics, business, health and science and technology. For partner media organisations to use the BBC online video content there must be no advertising - such as pre-roll or post-roll ads - running around any clips. The video shared with partner organisations will carry BBC branding. All BBC content will appear in a branded video player and the content will be geo-blocked so that it can only be viewed by web users in the UK. The video news sharing proposal marks a significant shift in relations between the BBC and rival media companies. Newspaper publishers, in particular, have long argued that the BBC has used the public subsidy provided by the licence fee to fund its expansion into digital media areas - such as online video - while commercial companies have not had the financial firepower.
- UK - James Murdoch hits out at BBC
James Murdoch has launched a scathing attack on the BBC, describing the corporation's size and ambitions as "chilling" and accusing it of mounting a "land grab" in a beleaguered media market. News Corporation's chairman and chief executive in Europe and Asia also heavily criticised media industry regulator Ofcom, the European Union and the government, accusing the latter of "dithering" and failing to protect British companies from the threat of online piracy. He described the BBC's purchase of the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet as a "particularly egregious example of the expansion of the state" and compared government intervention in broadcasting with failed attempts to manipulate the international banana market in the 1950s. Murdoch added that the BBC's news operation was "throttling" the market, preventing its competitors from launching or expanding their own services, particularly online. News International, the News Corp subsidiary that owns the company's British newspapers, including the Sun and the Times, is currently considering introducing charges for all its websites.
Issue no. 401 - 26 July 2009
- All the news that's free to print
Internet traffic to newspaper websites is soaring, but is proving fiendishly hard to monetise in amounts that will support an extensive network of reporters and editors.
- Demand for iPhone outstrips supply
Apple said it can't meet current demand for the iPhone 3GS. The 3GS is available in 18 countries and is being rolled out this summer to another 80-plus countries. Overall, the company sold 5.2 million iPhones in the June quarter, ahead of many analysts' estimates. That total includes sales of the reduced-price $99 iPhone 3G.
- Google v Microsoft: Clash of the titans
Google launches a direct assault on Microsoft with the promise of a new PC operating system.
- ITU - TechWatch Alert on Mobile Apps
The latest publication by ITU-T's Technology Watch looks into the quickly growing field of mobile applications. Mobile applications (apps) are add-on software for handheld devices, such as smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDA). Between 2008 and 2009, the market for smartphones is expected to grow by 23 per cent, against an overall decline in the total mobile phone market caused by the economic crisis. The availability of a wide choice of applications can be critical to the commercial success of new mobile devices. Even as more smartphones are sold, the creation of mobile applications to run on them is constrained by the fragmentation of the market between different platforms. Mobile Applications describes the mobile application market and identifies initiatives that aim at standards for an open and interoperable mobile environment. Mobile Applications is the first publication in a series of TechWatch Alerts. Alerts are intended to provide a brief but concise overview (3-5 pages) of emerging technologies and trends in the field of ICTs.
- JP - Why Japan's Cellphones Haven't Gone Global
(New York Times)
At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover's dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators. But it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan's handset makers have little presence beyond the country's shores.
Issue no. 400 - 5 July 2009
- Asus and Disney Join Forces on Kid-Friendly Netbooks
Asus and Disney have combined their expertise in computers and cartoons to produce a Disney-themed netbook called the Netpal. It has plenty of parental control options; parents can restrict their children's access to particular sites or programs, limit e-mail correspondence to certain addresses, set different permissions corresponding to different scheduled times and even provide statistics on what users are doing online. You can also figure out how much time the kids are spending playing Flash games when they're supposed to be studying..
Issue no. 396 - 8 February 2009
- Digital music - The only way is up
BIG record companies and music-retailer may be struggling, but sales of digital music are booming. Global revenues leaped by 28% last year, despite piracyup to 95% of digital music is obtained illegally, reckons the IFPI, a trade body. Though this figure is disputed, governments are enacting tougher legislation to catch illegal file-sharers and shut down the sites they use. Britain's government has proposed a £20 ($28.60) levy on every household using broadband to help offset the costs of piracy.
Issue no. 390 - 20 July 2008
- Microsoft after Gates
Microsoft knows what it wants to do when Bill Gates leaves - but the road ahead will not be easy.
Issue no. 388 - 1 June 2008
- Kid e-Land
Disney is launching a virtual play environment that kids can access through Nintendo DS devices and their computers. The software for the service, called DGamer, comes free on copies of a video game tied to the movie, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." Some industry watchers say DGamer is the latest entry in a category that is about to get crowded. As one venture capitalist put it, kid-oriented online worlds are "popping up like mushrooms everywhere."
Issue no. 387 - 12 May 2008
- Microsoft walks away from Yahoo
Software giant Microsoft has dropped its three-month-old bid to buy internet firm Yahoo because the two sides cannot agree on an acceptable sale price. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer formally withdrew the offer in a letter to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang. See also Microsoft and Yahoo! - No deal (Economist).
- Social-networking sites work to turn users into profits
Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites have been the rage of the tech industry for more than a year. Following investments by Microsoft and News Corp., the companies are valued in the billions of dollars and are considered blueprints for how to build a website. Yet a deeper question lingers: How are they going to consistently produce profits to match their soaring valuations?
Issue no. 386 - 20 April 2008
- Bypassing Carriers for Mobile Content
Sales of ringtones and games through phone makers and the Web are way up, another sign service providers are losing their grip on the industry.
- UK - BBC announces Nintendo Wii deal
The BBC's iPlayer video service will soon be available via the Nintendo Wii. The video download and streaming service that lets people catch up with BBC programmes will soon be a channel on the hugely popular game console. The BBC is still at loggerheads with internet service providers (ISPs) over who should pay for extra network costs. ISPs say the iPlayer is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope. Simon Gunter, from ISP Tiscali, is leading a call for the BBC to help pay for the rising costs.
Issue no. 385 - 21 March 2008
- Circling the wagons around Google
by Charles Cooper Post. Earlier in the week, ComScore reported that Google's paid clicks dropped 7 percent between December and January. That was enough to panic already nervous shareholders who proceeded to dump Google's stock in one of Wall Street's (increasingly common) panics. But Friday morning the Internet ratings agency issued a brief statement meant to contradict the impression that it believes Google has sprung a leak.
Issue no. 384 - 24 February 2008
Issue no. 383 - 27 January 2008
- UK - Apple to cut UK download prices
Apple has announced that it will cut the price it charges for music downloads in the UK from its iTunes music store within the next six months. The cut will bring the UK into line with the charges in the rest of Europe. Apple currently charges 79 pence per download in the UK, compared with 99 euro cents (74p) in the rest of Europe. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes welcomed the move, saying that it would "allow consumers to benefit from a truly single market for music downloads". A Commission spokesman said the settlement had been the result of direct talks between Ms Kroes and Apple boss Steve Jobs. see also Commission Press Release.
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
- Location, location, location
Nearly 35m portable navigation devices (PND) will be sold around the world this year, twice as many as in 2006, making personal navigation one of the fastest-growing areas in consumer electronics. The latest versions of these gadgets do more than simply show the stubborn or shy the way. The industry is beginning to focus on the services PNDs could provide, prompting a scramble for the ownership of the digital maps they use. Nokia, the world's largest mobile-phone maker, said that it would acquire Navteq, the world's biggest maker of digital maps, for 5.7 billion. In July, TomTom, a leading PND vendor from the Netherlands, announced plans to buy Tele Atlas, the next biggest mapmaker, for 1.8 billion.
Issue no. 377 - 5 July 2007
- Angry eBay pulls Google adverts
Auction website eBay has pulled its US advertising from search engine giant and adversary Google. The move comes after Google angered eBay with a provocative decision to hold an event on the same evening as eBay's annual merchants' conference. Google's party was aimed at attracting attention away from eBay's payment system PayPal to its own card processing service, analysts say.
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
- Game net distribution 'lift off'
Steam, an online distribution platform for videogame content, has signed up more than 13 million users, the system's owners Valve has said. More than 150 PC games can be downloaded via Steam and the system has also been used to automate more than 2,500 updates to existing games. Digital distribution of game content is a growing segment of the industry. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all started online services for downloading games onto consoles.<
Issue no. 375 - 9 May 2007
- Joost opens online video service
Joost, the on-demand online video service backed by the founders of Skype, has launched commercially. The internet television service boasts more than 150 content channels - from cartoons to music videos and films. Services like Joost may change the way viewers consume media and revolutionise the business model of broadcasters. The service provides video streams in broadcast quality, and is distributed using peer-to-peer technology. The founders of Joost - Niklas Zennstroem and Janus Friis - are also the team behind the hugely successful internet telephony service Skype.
- US - MySpace to acquire Photobucket image-sharing site
Rupert Murdoch watched Google snatch YouTube, but he's not letting Photobucket get away. Social-networking site MySpace, owned by Murdoch's News Corp., has agreed to acquire Photobucket, the Web's No. 1 photo-sharing service.
Issue no. 373 - 11 March 2007
- Virtual worlds set for shake-up
Big media firms are rushing to copy the success of online games like World of Warcraft, a conference has been told. Millions of dollars are being spent trying to emulate the massively multiplayer online game, experts at the Game Developer's Conference said. "We are going to have so many failures it is going to be unbelievable," said Mark Jacobs of Electronic Arts. The panel also predicted that non-gaming MMOs such as Second Life would be prevalent in the short term.
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
- Ads help Google profits triple
Internet search engine Google said its ability to cash in on web advertising had helped its profits almost triple. The company made a net profit of $1.03bn (£524.4m) in the last three months of 2006 - compared to $372.2m a year ago. The result, on sales of $3.2bn, was helped by high internet traffic in the holiday shopping season.
- CA -Canada's Telus drops mobile porn
Canadian network operator Telus has bowed to pressure from the Catholic church and stopped sales of mobile porn to subscribers.
- 'Old' music's digital comeback
With music downloads outselling CD singles by four to one in the UK and the music charts revamped to include download sales, the digital revolution is having a big impact on the music industry.
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
- UK - BBC plans online children's world
A virtual world which children can inhabit and interact with is being planned by the BBC. CBBC, the channel for 7-12 year olds, said it would allow digitally literate children the access to characters and resources they had come to expect. Users would be able to build an online presence, known as an avatar, then create and share content. Bosses said CBBC World would not have the financial aspects of other online worlds such as Second Life.
- Digital music sees sales double
Global digital music sales have almost doubled to around $2bn (£1bn) in 2006, according to an industry report. But the rise, which represents 10% of all sales, has not reached the music companies' 'holy grail' of offsetting the fall in CD sales.
- Papers battle online news sites
With news-junkies turning increasingly to the net for their daily fix of world events, papers are beginning to feel the pinch. Not since the internet began has there been so much free quality newspaper content on the web. You will have to make the most of it because the current bonanza might not last forever.
- UK - Children 'swap music via phones'
Children are increasingly swapping music via mobile phones, often without realising they can be breaking the law. A survey of almost 1,500 eight to 13-year-olds found almost a third shared music via their mobiles. hildren are using the built-in Bluetooth wireless feature of many phones to swap music - but without the consent of copyright holders.
- US - Are eBay sellers cheating the reputation system?
A new study concludes that some eBay users are artificially boosting their reputations on the Internet auction Web site by selling items for practically nothing in exchange for positive feedback from the buyer. Sellers with good reputations can seek higher prices on items they sell, according to the study out of the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- EMI chairman: the CD is dead
(Digital Media Wire)
EMI Music boss Alain Levy says CDs are dead and soon, music companies won't be able to sell them without 'value-added' material. Some 60% of consumers put CDs into PCs to transfer the contents to digital music players, he declared.
- Google buys JotSpot, dips into wiki world
Google has bought JotSpot, a 3-year-old company with a system for building collaborative Web pages called wikis. JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus announced the acquisition on a blog Tuesday morning, saying that being part of search giant Google will give JotSpot access to "world-class" data centers and engineers.
- The ever-expanding universe of Google
(International Herald Tribune)
Google's search engine became a cultural phenomenon and a verb back around 2003. Since then, Google has introduced more than two dozen applications and tools. Last week it bought YouTube, the video-sharing site, one of the most habit-forming services on the Web. The acquisition gives Google's regular users - 41 percent of those who search the Internet - one more reason to feel they are living on Planet Google.
- UK - Virgin ends ad campaign with anarchic site
Virgin has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn after a new viral advertising campaign backfired spectacularly. The company had asked readers of b3ta.com, an online community known for bad taste jokes, to create a new advert for the Virgin Money brand. Hundreds of entries were submitted, but last week the company pulled the competition from the internet after concerns over some of the submissions.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- CN - China's pied piper
Jack Ma is attracting a following among entrepreneurs in China and internet companies worldwide.
Index page see also Internet access and use | Electronic commerce | Statistics
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