• B&N, Microsoft To Take On Apple, Amazon

    To gain ground in the great e-reader race, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have teamed up to take on market leaders Apple and Amazon.

    Yet to be named, the partnership will “come in the form of a new subsidiary of B&N that will include all of its Nook business as well as its educational college business,” TechCrunch reports. “Microsoft is making a $300 million investment in the subsidiary, valuing the company at $1.7 billion in exchange for around 17.6%equity in the subsidiary.”

    “The alliance comes after the companies openly feuded over the Nook,” writes The Wall Street Journal. ...

  • FTC Hires Big Gun To Go After Google

    Escalating its inquiry into Google’s search business, federal regulators have hired a prominent litigator to pursue the antitrust investigation. The move sends “a strong signal that they are prepared to take the Internet giant to court,” according to The New York Times. “The case has the potential to be the biggest showdown between regulators and Silicon Valley since the government took on Microsoft 14 years ago.”

    The big question is whether Google manipulates or has ever manipulated its search results, thus making it less likely that competing companies or products appear at the top of a results page. According to ...

  • Is Apple Losing Its Mojo?

    Forrester CEO George Colony is taking heat for a blog post in which he argues that Apple began its inevitable decline the day Steve Jobs left this earth.

    “When Steve Jobs departed, he took three things with him,” Colony writes. “1) [A] singular charismatic leadership that bound the company together and elicited extraordinary performance from its people; 2) the ability to take big risks, and 3) an unparalleled ability to envision and design products.

    “Tim Cook may be no Steve Jobs, but much of what Colony says about the vacuum of leadership at Cupertino is completely untrue,” Wired retorts. “In ...

  • Google Debuts New Algorithm

    Always trying to get a leg up on spammers and ranking cheats, Google is releasing a new search algorithm, which is says will impact about 3% of search queries.

    “In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at Webspam,” the search giant explained in a blog post. “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines.”

    “What’s ‘Webspam,’ as Google calls it, or search spam?” Search Engine Land asks. “Pages that try to gain better rankings through things like: keyword stuffinglink schemescloaking, ‘sneaky’ ...

  • Street Reaction To Netflix Revs Mixed

    Trying to put a rocky 2011 in its rear-view mirror, Netflix this week boasted $870 million in revenue for its fiscal first quarter. “The company also added almost 3 million subscribers to its streaming service -- 1.74 million domestic and 1.21 million for international -- bringing it up to a total of 26 million users streaming worldwide,” The Verge reports.

    Alas -- as demonstrated by a stock slip this week -- “Wall Street remembers 2011,” writes AllThingsD. “Specifically, Wall Street doesn’t believe [Netflix CEO] Reed Hastings’ prediction that his company will add 7 million customers to its U.S. ...

  • Nimble TV To Stream TV Subscriptions

    Legal or not, a new service named NimbleTV plans to let users stream TV subscriptions online -- with or without the distributor’s permission.

    Backed by Greycroft Partners and Tribeca Venture Partners, as well as the Tribune Company, NimbleTV is “offering an online TV platform that allows a customer of a paid TV subscription plan to get their content streamed to them wherever they are,” GigaOm writes.

    Having just entered beta tests, The New York Times suggests that NimbleTV “could hasten the slow pace of so-called TV Everywhere” -- if cable companies and distributors don’t pull the plug first.

    Along with allowing ...

  • Microsoft Hit In Gaming Area

    In an otherwise strong third quarter for Microsoft, the software giant suffered in the key area of Entertainment & Devices -- home of the Xbox and Windows Phone.

    “The division reported revenue of $1.62 billion, down 16% from a year ago,” reports VentureBeat, citing Microsoft Q3 earnings report. Microsoft blamed “a soft gaming console market” for the decline. Indeed, Xbox 360 sales were down 48%, while the company remained the leader in the video game console market with a 42% share.

    That said, Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $17.41 billion for the quarter, which represented a 6% increase ...

  • Zuckerberg Does Instagram Deal Solo

    As the dust settles following Facebook’s agreement to buy Instagram, new details are emerging that betray the true characters of both companies. Portraying Facebook as something of a dictatorship, The Wall Street Journal reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg essentially did the deal himself.

    The board "was told, not consulted" about the deal on April 8 -- the day before the rest of the world learned of the deal -- a source tells WSJ.

    “In fact, Zuckerberg, who controls roughly 57% of the company's voting rights, had pretty much closed the deal with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom before even informing the ...

  • Twitter Extends Ad Targeting To BlackBerry

    Twitter said it will let advertisers target BlackBerry devices with mobile ad spots and Promoted Tweets, which will double as tweets and be displayed near the top of users’ timelines. “If your company’s target audience is average, middle-aged men who don’t like change (e.g. Hank from "King of the Hill"), then Twitter just did you a huge favor,” VentureBeat scoffs.

    In addition to BlackBerry, advertisers can already choose to target iOS devices, Android devices, desktops/laptops, and mobile-optimized web apps. Yet, “Research In Motion, which produces BlackBerry devices, is currently experiencing a downward spiral due to increased competition from iPhones and ...

  • Brin Touts Internet Freedom, But Faces FCC Fine

    Sergey Brin wants everyone to forget about Google for a minute, and consider the bigger threats to the principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the Web.

    As the search giant’s co-founder tells The Guardian, "I am more worried than I have been in the past ... it's scary.” In particular, Brin is alarmed by "walled-garden" restrictions, such as those upheld by ...

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