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The iPhone 5 is Missing This Crucial Feature

September 12, 2012

I am just going to come out and say it – the iPhone 5 is yet another incremental upgrade to the iPhone line of products. Yes, Apple deserves great credit for making smartphones ubiquitous – they have turned mobile devices into web-surfing gadgets and so much more. But this doesn’t mean that Apple is innovating as fast as it could be.

In fact, TMC writers have discussed with me in private that Apple may be purposely holding back on their phone upgrades to ensure people will keep buying new devices on a regular cycle.

Apple to Launch a Pandora Competitor Next Week?

September 6, 2012

Apple is said to be getting into the music streaming business and there’s a chance we’ll hear more about it at the iPhone 5 launch event next week. As you may recall I surmised Apple would get into the home streaming market when it purchased LaLa in December of 2009. At the time I thought they would likely compete with Sonos and moreover mentioned there would be obvious implications for Pandora and the rest of the group.

Integration with iOS and possible tight links with iTunes were some of the areas of differentiation I pointed out we may see.

Amazon Rockets Upmarket with Kindle Fire HD Devices

September 6, 2012

Amazon has shown the world it is possible to compete against the iPad if you offer a smaller device and charge a lot less for it. When the Kindle Fire was released it cost $199 while the equivalent WiFi-only iPad cost $499.

Since that time, Apple has released the New iPad with a Retina Display at $499 and the iPad 2 saw its price drop to $299.

Now, Amazon has taken a page out of the Apple book and dropped the price of the Kindle Fire to an impossibly low $159.

Are Apple's Patent Lawsuits Dead Right?

August 30, 2012

I have often referred to patents between large tech firms as mutually assured destruction as any of these companies can sue others with a slew of patent infringements at once, counting on a few to be upheld by a court. And this is what happened with Apple and Samsung where the Korean phone maker and tech giant was found to have willfully copied Apple’s trade dress meaning the look and feel of the device – among other things like pinching to zoom.

Jason Perlow at ZDnet points us to a good video from Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, on the topic of patents and trademarks in the food industry. It is boring but useful if you want to learn more.

Google Leverages Home Page to Promote Nexus Tablet

August 28, 2012

Google has been "different" for over a decade because the company always resisted overt advertising seen throughout the web. Through the entire pop-up era where so many websites capitulated and ran ads for security cameras and other items, Google stood almost alone.



But as you can see from the page above - click to enlarge, Google has now decided to use its premium real estate - the home page to run ads. The first ad is for the company's Nexus tablet.

Sure, the company has been making sponsored links look more and more like regular ads over the past few months and years - this trend isn't new for the company. Moreover, we have seen the company promote Chrome and other software products in the past - most of these however have been free products.

For those people who said the company would become "evil" shortly after becoming a public company - you may be right (assuming you consider this sort of behavior to be bad." For those of you who said the Motorola Mobility acquisition was "stupid" well perhaps you are wrong if the company rings up massive sales as a result of perhaps the best marketing strategy on the internet.

Will public backlash be so great that the search leader is forced to change course?









VCs disrupted by Angels thanks to Cloud, Apple, Google and Facebook

August 23, 2012

How too many investors can lead us to irrational exuberance 2.0

Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures is one of the most well-respected VCs around and does an amazing job with his AVC blog – it is in many ways a blueprint to starting a company. He has had so many good posts over the years it is tough to count.

In a recent interview with Technology Review he made some alarming comments which you should be aware of.

Protecode: Eliminating the Pitfalls of Software Development

August 20, 2012

Software development productivity has evolved tremendously over the decades as the cost of computing has plummeted rapidly while the cost of human capital has accelerated. Of course there are some anomalies in the “human capital” part of the curve as development can now take place in countries like India where wages are lower than say Silicon Valley. Still, when plotted against a dollar per unit of computing power curve which is exponentially decreasing, it continues to be much more expensive to hire programmers than to add processor cores or to increase clock speed.

Case in point, a few decades back when programming an IBM mainframe, it didn’t matter that programmers had to batch their programs using punch cards and wait for the computer’s results because you weren’t going to add more mainframe processing power unless you won corporate Lotto.

Not So Fast - Yes We Should Protect Innovation

August 20, 2012


The tech news of the day includes Google using its Motorola Mobility patents to sue Apple. Patent suits aren’t new but we are getting to a point where the news flow relating to patent litigation seems to be overshadowing the news relating to new products. The cost of these suits isn’t trivial and there is risk of significant distraction for all the companies involved. It seems like the industry would benefit from a tech patent truce.

Smartphone Margin Decreases versus Beats by Dr. Dre

August 16, 2012

Recently I touched upon some of the differences between the automobile and tech spaces and in the past I have mentioned how Apple’s ability to price its products without discounting implies a stronger brand and moreover helps it sell in its retail stores which offer the same prices as online.

This doesn’t mean that Apple can sit still because we can expect an almost infinite supply of focused competitors.

Sure, many of them like RIM and Nokia are in decline and are retooling their product lines almost perpetually to become competitive. But beyond these examples we also have a slew of Japanese consumer electronics companies who have seen the golden age of TV come and go… Now they are focusing on exporting mobile devices to make a living.

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