Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 27, 2011, 12:40 PM
Amazon To Debut Kindle FireTechCrunch

Sure to shake the tablet landscape, Amazon on Wednesday is expected to debut the Kindle Fire. "Yes, this is the name Amazon has settled on, to help differentiate the product from the e-ink Kindles," TechCrunch writes regarding the new tablet.

All Things D reports that Amazon has already struck deals with Conde Nast, Hearst, and Meredith to sell their magazines on the Android-based tablet.

"Besides being viewed as the first tablet that could seriously compete with the iPad, the Amazon tablet will likely be closely tied to Amazon's services, a big incentive for publishers who already offer their physical titles through the Amazon site," PCMag.com writes.

"Apple and its successful iPad tablet might soon have some extra competition," as USAToday.com puts it. "But the Fire, as described, will represent much bigger competition for Barnes & Noble's $250 NOOK Color, which also features books, magazines and apps," Econsultancy writes.

"The key here, of course, is price," CNet writes. "Amazon has already seen Barnes & Noble's success with the Nook Color at $249, so the reality is that all it has to do is create a better, faster version of the Nook Color for the same price and it will have a winner on its hands."

Bigger picture, "Amazon's potential entry arrives as sales of tablets are beginning to take off," USA Today notes. Indeed, a recent report from Gartner suggested that global tablet sales will hit 63.6 million this year -- up 264% year-over-year.

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 27, 2011, 12:40 PM
  • Hulu Has High Bidder Hulu has decided to sell to... ? Well, no one yet, but the video co-venture has received its highest (unconditional) bid from Dish Network, reports Business Insider, citing two sources. How much did the satellite TV provider offer? $1.9 billion, BI reports. Google reportedly bid in the range of $4 billion, but, as BI notes, will all sorts of special conditions.

    Specifically, "Google wanted more content for a longer period of time, and perhaps other concessions as well," BI explains. "Rumor has it that Larry Page personally flew down to Los Angeles to make Google's case." So, what are Hulu's owners waiting for? According to BI's sources, "They were hoping for a higher bid, and were disappointed that no company would offer more than $2 billion with the conditions they set."

    The problem, however, is likely that the TV companies that own Hulu want to phase out free ad-supported content completely. "So as soon as the current set of Hulu contracts expire in a couple of years, it would be back to the negotiating table," BI speculates. Read the whole story...
  • Ballmer Facing Internal Revolt? Rumor has it that Microsoft employees left "in droves" during a recent speech by Steve Ballmer at an annual company meeting. True or not, Fortune thinks the blog reports -- and a flood of ensuing comments -- "suggest that morale in Redmond has hit a new low." Reads one comment: "Steve Ballmer has done to Microsoft what George W. Bush did to the United States from 2000-2008 -- run things straight into the ground."

    According to Glassdoor.com, which allows employees to anonymously rate their employer, 55% of employees disapprove of Ballmer and 45% approve, based on 1,691 ratings. Meanwhile, David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital, recently blamed Ballmer for the company's floundering stock price, and said it was time for the CEO to "give someone else a chance" after running the show for over 10 years. "His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," Einhorn said May. Read the whole story...
  • Data: Google+ Getting Traction If not yet taking social market share, Google is certainly getting traction with Google Plus. As of last week, visits to the social network increased by 1269% since its first week of operation, according to new data from Experian Hitwise. What's more, the site received 15 million U.S. visits -- up from 1.1 million the week before.

    "Google Plus went from ranking 54th in Hitwise's Social Networking and Forums category to ranking 8th in just one week," remarks ReadWriteWeb. "That's not all the traffic, either." No, the stats don't include mobile users or visits from "the ubiquitous black Google toolbar," according to ReadWriteWeb.

    By Paul Allen's estimates, Google Plus currently has about 43 million users -- but no one knows how many of those users have ditched Facebook, if any. The Hitwise data does show that Google Plus has a surplus of "influencers" and "early adopters," which -- were the service not so new -- could be seen as a lack of traction with average users, i.e., most users. Read the whole story...
  • Hurley Talks Delicious Relaunch On the relaunch of Delicious, All Things D goes one-on-one with its co-savior Chad Hurley. Along with fellow YouTube founder Steve Chen, Hurley took the social bookmarking service off Yahoo's hands earlier this year. "It's a great brand that belongs in Silicon Valley," Hurley says of Delicious.

    In previous interviews, Hurley and Chen have held up the new Delicious as a potential cure for information overload. Yet, "expectations aren't terrifically high for the new Delicious, given the rareness of tech comeback stories and the fact that Delicious was never really that popular," All Things D writes. The new Delicious retains many of its original visual elements, but puts a new focus on creating "stacks" of content.

    "We look forward to providing a great service and hopefully introducing it to a bigger audience," Hurley continues -- speaking like a guy who's already made his fortune. "From myself and Steve's perspective, it feels good to be engaged again on finding a simple solution to a difficult problem, which is discovery." Read the whole story...