Friday, September 30, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 30, 2011, 11:54 AM
Will Amazon Buy Palm?VentureBeat

Still chewing on the launch of Amazon's first tablet, the industry had to keep from gagging on Friday amid reports of a possible Palm acquisition.       

"A well-placed source tells us that HP is currently looking to rid itself of Palm as soon as possible, and that Amazon is the closest to finalizing the deal, among a handful of contenders," VentureBeat reports.

"From a distance, at least, this deal seems like a good idea for everyone involved," suggests Digitaltrends.com. "Amazon could surely get Palm at a discount, and would do well with its own mobile platform." "Buying webOS would put them right with the AppleGoogsofts of the world," writes Gizmodo. "Amazon needs an OS of its own where it can seamlessly integrate all of their offerings -- Kindle, video streaming, music locker -- into a single, coherent interface.

At least according to VentureBeat, WebOS as an operating system can still have a lot of life left if handled the right way by Amazon. "By outfitting future Kindle tablets with a revamped, customized version of WebOS, Amazon can further distinguish its own devices from the huge pack of Android tablets currently flooding the market," CNet writes.

"It's unclear ... why Amazon is interested in Palm," a less enthusiastic TechCrunch counters. "Ditching Android for webOS after building an ecosystem around Android seems foolish and shortsighted. This move, if it's really happening, could be more about hardware development and patents than reviving a dead operating system."

Likewise, GeekWire writes: "Bringing webOS into the fold would be a huge change in course. Not that it couldn't happen, but without further justification the report is a bit of a head-scratcher."

Meanwhile, "For those who might think that an Amazon/HP tie-up sounds out of the blue, it's not," paidContent notes. "Jon Rubinstein, the former Palm head, joined the board of Amazon in December last year as a director."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 30, 2011, 11:54 AM
  • File this one under "farfetched." AOL is reportedly working on a localized social network built around MapQuest. "Remember them?" ReadWriteWeb asks of the unpopular mapping service, while noting that AOL have already registered some domains "that all point to a page that says something called 'mqVibe' is coming soon."

    Earlier this month, ReadWriteWeb reported on some domain name purchases and trademark applications that led it believe that some sort of AOL social network was coming. "At the time, we figured it could have just been speculative," it writes. "But no, it looks like AOL is serious. MapQuest will be the hub of AOL's effort to get on the social networking map." But, what are the chances of AOL succeeding in a market so firmly dominated by Google and Facebook?

    Well, "Google Maps may rule the roost, but MapQuest is good technology," ReadWriteWeb notes. "Moreover, Patch, AOL's network of local news sites, is dying for a sustainable business model," while, "AOL has all the pieces it needs to build this thing. It just needs to put them together." Read the whole story...
  • Is Seed, AOL's souped-up freelancer platform, dead in the water? Business Insider is suggesting so, but based only on the word of a single, low-level source. "We're hearing there's no more work from one freelancer," it writes. AOL has yet to address the claim, which could mean anything. That said, Seed's shuttering wouldn't surprise many Web watchers, considering the company's continuous reorganizing -- which was only accelerated after it acquired Huffington Post this year.

    In May, for example, Seed boss and former New York Times tech reporter Saul Hansell was moved over to the Huffington Post as "big news editor." Meanwhile, despite AOL's modestly improving ad business, investors and analysts have continued to criticize the company's local, freelance-driven content strategy as too costly and unstructured.

    Along with Seed, many have taken direct aim at Patch, AOL's local news network. According to BI's source, the writing is on the wall for Patch, too. "I noticed that Seed is pretty much defunct," the anonymous freelance tells BI. "No stories to claim. Looks like Patch is going to follow the same path." Read the whole story...
  • Despite a new wave of perk-crazed tech start-ups (life-sized doll houses, anyone?) Google remains the most popular employer in the world among business students, according to Universum's latest global ranking. "Drawn to the company's culture of innovation, laid-back vibe, smart employees, and out-of-the-ordinary perks, undergraduates have seen Google as the world's most attractive employer since 2009," Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

    For Google at least, it seems not much has changed since 2010, when it topped the list of more desirable employers, followed by the Big Four accounting firms KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte. The rest of the Top 10 experienced a shakeup, however, Bloomberg Businessweek notes.

    "Apple leaped from No. 18 in 2010 to No. 9 in 2011, while Coca-Cola dropped from 8 to 12." Also of note, Google rival Microsoft raked No. 6. "In 2011, business students gave an edge not only to Google but also to other technology companies, while banks and traditional business employers continued to descend in popularity," Bloomberg Businessweek adds. Read the whole story...
  • Christmas could come early (or right on time) for Google's Chrome division. According to StatCounter, Google's browser will pass Firefox to take the No. 2 spot -- behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- no later than December. As of Wednesday, Chrome's global average user share for September was 23.6%, while Firefox's stood at 26.8%, reports the Irish Web statistics firm. IE, still with a comfortable lead, was at 41.7%.

    "The climb of Chrome during 2011 has been astonishing," remarks Computerworld. "It has gained eight percentage point since January 2011, representing a 50% increase." During that same timeframe, Firefox has dropped almost four percentage points -- a decline of about 13% -- while IE has also fallen four points -- a 9% decline.

    In other words, rather than the proverbial pie getting bigger, "Chrome is essentially reaping all the defections from Firefox and IE." As Computerworld notes, however, disparate data paints a different picture of Chrome's current market position. Net Applications, for one, reported that Firefox had a 22.6% share of desktop browser usage in August, compared to Chrome's 15.5%. Read the whole story...