TMC Had its Holiday party last night but that didn't stop an amazing amount of interesting news from happening in the last 12-18 hours or so. I've got lots of opinion and analysis to share on many of the happenings.
More Ebook Activity
There is yet another handheld tablet reading format on the market - this one from Swedish publisher Bonnier. Check out this slick device demo which is fictional at the moment. The problem for all publishers is that the competition from Adobe, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google and Sony will make it difficult to have too much of a say in how the reader or reader format will look. The good news is the heated competition will really drive innovation and it seems obvious to me the ebook reader which wins will also be a media player and web tablet. Expect Google/Android to be a very large player in this market and they already have an arsenal of scanned books and a way to monetize book reading called advertising - something most other players do not have. Fast Company has critical analysis on this matter as well.
Google Goes Local - More local
In related Google taking over the world news, the company is eyeing Yelp, a local search company which has product reviews and directories. The obvious tie in is with the mobile line of services the search leader touts such as Android and local search apps on a variety of devices. This content when added to Google's already near-monopoly position in search would ensure Google continues to build an impenetrable mote around its business.
Is Google Good or Bad for Consumers??
Google's continuing desire to create new and innovative applications and services and give them away is good for consumers but bad for innovation. Why would investors want to compete in any space where Google is headed? And as we all know, Google is headed in every direction from a plethora of cloud-based apps to local search to handheld devices and more. They are doing right by their shareholders for sure but I wonder when the FTC will start to take the matter seriously.
Right now the FCC does seem to be focused on Intel so perhaps the search giant is next. By the way, French courts aren't happy with the company as evidenced by the $21.59M fine which was imposed for violating copyright related to book scanning.
iPhone Hotter than Sushi in Japan
Speaking of world domination, the iPhone is taking Japan by storm with over 300% growth and although many Japanese telecom execs have told me for years that their country would not warm up to this device because they already have smartphones already, it seems usability trumps everything else once again. Something to keep in mind for all product designers.
Twitter seems to be the most popular word at holiday parties this year - almost as talked about as lost jobs and the economy it seems. As any software or service grows in popularity it is not unexpected for it to become a target and Twitter being no exception had its DNS records tampered with and as such web traffic to the site was redirected to non-Twitter servers. Allegedly the attack came from a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army
My take is that security on the web continues to grow in importance and site owners have a tremendous amount to worry about these days so vigilance is key - especially for a service like Twitter which is used by citizens to communicate - even when governments around the world don't want the communications to happen.
Oracle and RIM Impress With Earnings
Two other items of note are better than expected earnings numbers from Oracle and RIM. In Oracle's case the company has tremendous leverage as it owns the majority of software in so many spaces via myriad acquisitions that it can set its maintenance costs to anything it likes. The company has been well-run for decades and continues to impress investors and customers. The biggest complaints of course remain high prices and near-monopoly position the company enjoys.
RIM for its part deserves tremendous credit for continuing to outperform and in the face of increased competition from Google and Apple it is obvious that the environment has evolved making it much more difficult to excel. While RIM continues to do well, Nokia, SonyEricsson, Palm and Microsoft are taking it on the chin. I left Motorola out because the Droid could turn the situation around for the company who gave much of its share away many years ago.
The takeaways here are that ebook readers seem to be in focus from many companies leading me to believe this category will continue to grow for many years. Also, Google, RIM, Apple and Oracle seem unstoppable for the foreseeable future. Finally the FTC and global courts are going to be tougher on dominant tech companies meaning 2010 could be a very interesting year as regulatory matters may receive as much press as M&A and technology improvements.
As always TMC will be there to give the objective news you need to get a handle on the near-avalanche of global happenings taking place each day.