There’s some talk today that if the National Music Publishers’ Association manages to increase the royalty rates for music bought from online music stores, Apple iTunes could shut its doors. That won’t happen. But it could force iTunes to change its business model.
Dell is partnering with Paramount Pictures on a promotion that can only be described as pointless. The computer maker will give consumers the option of pre-loading a digital copy of the film Iron Man onto their new computers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s all well and good — Iron Man is a fine movie — but exactly what either company hopes to gain is beyond me.
Xbox 360 consoles have been notoriously unreliable. But Microsoft may have improved the reliability of the consoles with the newest models that carry a new motherboard, dubbed Jasper, and have a new and improved graphics chip.
Widget creation platform Clearspring has acquired AddThis, a bookmarking and sharing button, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition moves Clearspring closer to becoming a service that lets users share content from any website.
As promised, Facebook has rolled out a new, more robust iPhone application. Version 2.0 brings many of the features that are found on the regular Internet-based version of the social network, but had been lacking in the first few iPhone iterations.
Would you base your next vacation on how environmentally friendly, economically beneficial, socially conscious or economically beneficial to the surrounding community a resort is? Do you ever want to plan a trip based on activities or atmosphere, rather than destination?
If you look at Google Finance, Google’s stock information site, you may notice something odd: Its numbers are off — as far as I can tell, nearly all of them! This is clearly a problem on a day when the majority of the country is looking for information about stock prices after one of the biggest collapses in the history of the stock market.
I think it’s a fair assessment to say that the Google/Yahoo search advertising deal, like most things, is a shade of gray as to whether or not it’s a good thing. It really depends on your perspective. While Google and Yahoo might like it, obviously, Microsoft will not. That isn’t stopping Google and Yahoo from promoting their perspectives with their own sites. Google launched one last week. And today brings one from Yahoo.
It appears as if the bad overall economy is nailing some key tech stocks this morning. Apple, Google and Yahoo are all down significantly right now in early afternoon trading on the stock market.
PlayFirst co-found and CEO John Welch has done what many have tried, and few have succeeded. He’s managed to launch a company built around casual gaming and actually build established brands. And while Cooking Dash might not be as instantly recognizable as Mario just yet, the company has just started cookin’. We sat down to talk to Welch, who co-founded the company in 2004, at the New York Game Conference. VB: Where do you see the state of online games today?
I guess we don’t have enough silly stuff on the Internet. Xtranormal is adding more silliness today as it launches Mashface.com, a site where users can create mash-ups that splice together their own voices and jokes with the faces of politicians. Now you can get your favorite politicians or celebrities to mouth just about anything.
For a long time, web “filters” have been working on delivering the right information to the right person. But usually, web sites are lousy at making personalized recommendations.
The game industry is abuzz about the secret connection between a game PR company, TriplePoint, and a game review web site, GameCyte.
John Smedley grew up playing the “Dungeons & Dragons” fantasy-role playing board game during lunch. Today he’s president of Sony Online Entertainment. Smedley was in New York to give the keynote at the inaugural New York Games Conference, which was under extremely tight security. But it turned out they weren’t there to protect Smedley or the conference – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, was actually staying at the hotel across the street. That was the backdrop as Peter Suciu, a longtime video game writer in New York, sat down to talk with Smedley about the future of online games.
Since the iPhone 2.1 software update corrected many of the serious usability issues users were having with the device, Apple can use subsequent updates to focus on adding new features. It appears the 2.2 software will do just that. An early build has been seeded to developers and the first leaks are coming out now.
Addressability — the ability to deliver TV ads to target individual households rather than more general groups — is the new buzzword in advertising. And a panel session at the Adweek conference in New York yesterday that included speakers from Bloomberg and NBC Universal, as well as several traditional and digital ad agencies, highlighted exactly why addressable advertising has Madison Avenue’s media buyers feeling more than a little conflicted.
TellMe, a voice-recognition software company is at work on an application for Apple’s iPhone. This in and of itself may not be surprising, except that TellMe is owned by Apple nemesis Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft, at least by extension, is developing on the iPhone.
Microsoft is quietly readying a plan to make a purchase of the combined Yahoo-AOL, should Yahoo pull off its plans to acquire the struggling America Online unit, according to sources close to AOL — via the menage-a-trois with AOL.
updatedGlam, the content and advertising network focused on women, is launching a German site called Glam Deutschland, after acquiring a large German content network called Codex Media.
Toshiba and NCR have invested $35 million in MOD Systems, which is developing a new way to distribute digital content to portable storage devices.
A new location-based iPhone application has just gone live in the App Store, and it hopes to tackle some of the problems similar location services have run into so far. Moximity is based in Austin, Tex., and prior to tonight was in stealth mode.
Version 1.1 of the location-based social networking application Loopt has just gone live in Apple’s App Store. This update carries with it a big new feature: Loopt Mix. This feature solves perhaps the biggest problem facing many of the location-based networks: You can’t find anyone else using them.
Longtime users of the micro-messaging service Twitter may have noticed something around the start of the political primary season: A lot of tweets (Twitter messages) about politics. To some this is annoying, to others, it’s addicting. Tonight, Twitter will acknowledge how big the interest is around the topic of politics by launching a new sub-site to Twitter called Election2008, according to The New York Times’ political blog, The Caucus.
The distinctions between hardcore games and casual games (the committed enthusiasts versus the broader market fans) are melting away. That’s evident in the strategy of Graham Hopper, president of Disney Interactive Studios. The company puts 70 percent of its investment into titles that support major Disney licenses, but the investment is growing so much that Disney is pouring a lot of money into original titles for hardcore gamers such as “Pure,” a critically-praised off-road ATV racing game that Disney just launched. In a fairly short time, Disney will be tripling the amount of money that it invests in video games. As Disney builds its gamer cred, it will be interesting to see if it can snare hardcore gamers even as it pursues mainstream consumers and girls.
Perhaps taking a cue from Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama who recently launched a site dedicated to debunking mistruths being spread about him and his campaign, Google has today launched a site dedicated to the “facts” about the Yahoo/Google advertising agreement.
Advertising is perhaps now the key element to Google. One could even make the argument that it’s even more vital to the company now than its core product, search, is. After all, if someone pulled the plug on Google’s AdSense and AdWords revenues, the company would be a shadow of itself. That’s why it continues to diversify its advertising projects.
You could say it was a long national nightmare for the video game industry. Whenever there was a school shooting, anti-violence crusader Jack Thompson was there to blame it on violent video games. But the industry can breathe a little easier now. The Florida Supreme Court has ordered that Thompson be disbarred 30 days from today.
Verimatrix, a company that develops software and equipment to keep cable television from being illicitly intercepted by non-paying customers, has raised a third round of funding.
While it’s still very much in the rumor stage, there’s another report today that Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro lines could soon be twins of sorts. New 13-inch MacBooks and 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros have apparently been spotted with matching aluminum enclosures, AppleInsider reports.
We all take lousy, grainy, and jerky videos. And then we upload them to YouTube to torture our friends with the poor video quality.
Here’s the latest action:
After Yahoo confirmed it has been experiencing problems with latency at its Right Media exchange on Monday, I’ve heard from those at ad networks using RXM, verifying latency issues were widespread. How bad was it? One Right Media client actually turned off Right Media exchange for a period until latency issues improved. It’s not clear if the problems have been fixed for everyone yet, though, or what the problems were. As of this writing, Yahoo hasn’t responded to my request for comment.
Anyone who sits in front of a computer every day — all day — realizes how many ways there are to get distracted. There are games, instant messaging software, music — hell, I even have fun using the calendar application when I’m procrastinating from doing work. Then there’s the Internet. If it wasn’t invented as a time suck, it has grown into just that. RescueTime is a startup that aims to evaluate and help you manage the distractions.
While many travel-oriented sites provide a way for travelers to share their experiences with one another, few let you connect with locals based on your travel destination.
HP, one of the country’s biggest computer companies, is boasting that it boosted its PC sales by 10 percent in May after it leveraged the blogging community to promote the launch of one of its computer systems.
The “Spore” computer game is off to a good start with 1 million games sold at a retail, Electronic Arts said today. The computer game, one of the most ambitious ever made, took famed developer Will Wright (See our interview with him.) seven years to make. It launched on Sept. 7.
Roku is a compelling little device — right now, anyway. The living room box streams Netflix “Watch Instantly” films. These are movies and television shows that Netflix members can watch anytime for free. The mixture of free instantaneous content and a box that costs only $99 is a nice combo. The problem Roku has is that competition from major players is coming fast.
Gmail, Google’s online email system has an interesting take on the storage it gives users. Rather than give out a flat number, like say, 5 gigabytes, Gmail has a policy called “Infinity + 1.” Basically, this means that the amount of storage you get is always growing. Today, the amount of storage each Gmail user gets surpassed 7 gigabytes for the first time.