• Critics Weigh In On Apple Mini

    After some initial trials, what do critics make of Apple’s new iPad mini -- particularly compared to Amazon’s Kindle Fire? Well, in The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg says the mini “does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device.”

    “You could argue that the iPad Mini is what the iPad always wanted to be," David Pogue gushes in The New York Times. “Over all, the Mini gives you all the iPad goodness in a more manageable size, and it's awesome.”

    Citing a positive industry response, Venture Beat writes: “Truly living up ...

  • Apple, Amazon Battle Over Mobile

    Letting Google and Microsoft watch from the sidelines, Amazon just picked a fight with Apple over the future of mobile computing.

    “Amazon’s front page -- one of the best marketing venues on the Web -- is using the Apple brand name to tout how its own competing Kindle Fire HD is better than the new iPad Mini,” reports AllThingsD.

    “It doesn’t look like [Amazon] is going to simply let Apple roll right by and take over the mini tablet market,” The Next Web writes.

    “It seems the time has come for the Kindle Fire hucksters at Amazon ...

  • Microsoft Moves Hardware In-House

    Nearing the launch of its first personal computer, the Surface, Microsoft is promising to make a lot more hardware in-house. “We'll dive in," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told BBC News regarding the company’s gadget ambitions. “Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard.”

    “Ballmer … is taking the company away from its foundations in software to become more of a hardware and services company, like long-time rival Apple,” writes Reuters.

    “In his annual letter to shareholders, Ballmer said more or less the same,” The Register recalls.

    “There will be times when we build ...

  • Mixed Reviews: Surface v. iPad

    Can Microsoft’s first tablet stand up to Apple’s iPad? The Surface’s early reviews are in, and, as you might have expected, they’re all over the place.

    Walt Mossberg likes it. Putting his blessing into a historical context, he writes in AllThingsD: “With this device … Microsoft is adopting the model of its longtime rival, Apple, which has always believed that the better way to deliver digital products is to build them end-to-end.”

    Rich Jaroslovsky, in Bloomberg Businessweek, admits that the Surface is the slickest laptop he’s used in a very long time. Whether it can truly compete ...

  • Microsoft To Launch Xbox SmartGlass App

    Along with Windows 8 and its Surface tablets, Microsoft plans to launch its Xbox SmartGlass app at the end of the week.

    What is SmartGlass? Part of Microsoft’s grand plan to sync its entertainment and media platforms, the free app “will essentially turn tablets, phones and PCs into a second screen,” reports NBCNews.com

    “SmartGlass is a way to tie everything together, allowing you to take a video on your phone and play it on your TV or get more information about an actor on your flat screen via your tablet,” VentureBeat explains.

    “One of the neater tricks is the ...

  • How Marketing Put Pinterest On The Map

    Proving that you can’t rely on engineers and algorithms alone, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann says marketing made the company what it is, today. “The way Pinterest grew had little to do with Silicon Valley wisdom,” reports AllThingsD, citing a presentation given by Silbermann, this weekend. “It was about marketing -- mostly grassroots marketing -- not better algorithms.” Among other efforts, Pinterest hosted meet-ups, took fun pictures of attendees, and convinced bloggers to do invitation campaigns.

  • Apple To Buy Color Labs

    Apple is reportedly buying Color Labs -- the photo-and-video-sharing social network that never lived up to its own hype. “The startup was nabbed for a price that is in the ‘high double-digits,' as in millions,” reports The Next Web, citing sources.

    “The vision for Color was big,” writes Business Insider. “Unfortunately, in terms of actual user adoption, the app went nowhere.”

    In fact, the news comes just a day after The Wall Street Journal reported that Color was denying claims that it would be closing up shop.

    Then, what explains Apple’s interest in the startup? “According to ...

  • Apple Buys Particle, Acquires Talent

    Apple has reportedly bought Particle -- a creative consulting start-up, which specializes in Web applications and marketing projects using HTML5.

    “The deal went through late last month, though not all its less than a dozen employees stayed on to work at Apple,” CNet reports. “Those who did are listed as ‘creative technologists,’ as well as one ‘user interface engineer,’” according to their LinkedIn profiles.

    “Particle has had big-name clients, such as Google, Sony, Motorola, and even Apple, over the years,” 9To5Mac notes. Yet, “the acquisition is said to be for the sole purpose of acquiring talent.”

    “Apple has ...

  • Yahoo Hires De Castro As COO

    Yahoo has hired Henrique De Castro -- a top sales executive at Google -- as its new COO, according to a regulatory filings released Monday.

    “This is Mayer’s first big hire at Yahoo, having added only lower-level or less well-known execs to her stable of talent since she was appointed,” AllThingsD reports.

    Including De Castro’s salary and stock grants, “The move could cost Yahoo more than $60 million,” writes CNet, citing the regulatory filing.

    “This one is a doozy,” VentureBeat writes of the new hire. “He’ll have wide oversight of Yahoo’s business categories: sales, operations, media, ...

  • Microsoft Enters Streaming Music Biz

    Despite steep licensing fees and a crammed marketplace, Microsoft is getting into the streaming music business.

    “Its new Xbox Music service will soon become available on the Xbox Live service, as well as on Windows 8 tablets and PCs and Windows Phone mobile devices over the coming weeks,” TechCrunch reports.

    How will Microsoft set its service apart from the fray? “Xbox Music is baked into every single copy of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8,” BuzzFeed writes. “In other words, free access to 30 million songs is built into Windows 8, as part of the default music player.”

    GigaOm ...

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