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January 14 2012


Neuromarketing - brain scanners to probe our emotional response to products

Guardian :: A spokesman for NeuroFocus, which was bought last year by global advertising giant Nielsen for $5bn, said the company has worked with Google, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, PayPal, Hewlett-Packard and Citigroup, but refused to provide details of adverts or products involved. "It's not just one company and one advertiser; it is all sorts of companies and brands around the world," Pradeep said. "They come to us and say, 'Please run our campaign through the neural lab.'"

Continue to read Rupert Neate, www.guardian.co.uk

January 11 2012


The Wall Street Journal delivered to Microsoft's Xbox360?

Multichannel :: Gaming consoles are becoming an increasingly important platform for delivering content into the home. Microsoft Corp. and News Corp. announced plans to launch a series of new apps for Xbox Live that will feature content from News Corp.'s broadcast, news and Web properties. The apps will incorporate content from Fox, Fox News Channel, IGN Entertainment Inc. and The Wall Street Journal.

Continue to read George Winslow, www.multichannel.com

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Microsoft has scrapped its plans for Web TV due to high licensing costs

Reuters :: Microsoft Corp has put its talks with media companies about an online subscription service for TV shows and movies on hold, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Details - Continue to read Yinka Adegoke, www.reuters.com

December 30 2011


comScore Nov 2011 U.S. mobile subscriber market share: Google 46.9pc, Apple 28.7pc

comScore | MobiLens :: 91.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in November, up 8% from the preceding three month period. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 46.9% market share, up 3.1 percentage points from the prior three-month period. Apple maintained its #2 position, growing 1.4 percentage point to 28.7% of the smartphone market. RIM ranked third with 16.6% share, followed by Microsoft (5.2%) and Symbian (1.5%).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2011
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens   Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers Aug-11 Nov-11 Point Change Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A Google 43.8% 46.9% 3.1 Apple 27.3% 28.7% 1.4 RIM 19.7% 16.6% -3.1 Microsoft 5.7% 5.2% -0.5 Symbian 1.8% 1.5% -0.3

comScore MobiLens service measures and reports about trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry. The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers. Findings might be an indicator for other regional markets as well.

More findings - continue to read www.comscore.com

December 28 2011


Is Facebook Google's biggest competitor? - Eric Schmidt answering questions

The Next Web :: When asked whether Facebook was its biggest competitor, Schmidt stressed the wide range of Google’s products gives it a number of competitors:

[Eric Schmidt:] Today we have one very clear competitor, which is Microsoft, we used to two, with Yahoo, but Yahoo largely outsourced the search stuff to Microsoft. We seem them as the core competitor, we have additional competition from different corners, so Facebook is a competitor in a bunch of properties and also for attention.

Continue to read Jon Russell, thenextweb.com

September 15 2011


Ad buyers on AOL-Microsoft-Yahoo deal: What's in it for us?

AdWeek :: Apparently applying the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy, AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft are reportedly working on a deal to sell each other’s online advertising inventory. But ad buyers who would potentially buy that inventory said they don’t immediately see how the new scenario is in their best interest. “We have an ample opportunity to buy this kind of inventory,” said Dick Hurrelbrink, president of Minneapolis-based media agency company Compass Point Media. “If it’s essentially a joining together for their benefit, they’re going to have to demonstrate to us what the benefits are for us and our clients.”

Continue to read Ki Mae Heussner, www.adweek.com


The newsonomics of 1, 2, 3, 4

Editor’s Note: Each week, Ken Doctor — author of Newsonomics and longtime watcher of the business side of digital news — writes about the economics of news for the Lab.

Ah, the joys of print — and real world — serendipity.

Arriving in Berlin to speak at the annual Medienwoche, part of the IFA 2011 content-meets-tech conference, I took a post-flight stroll around my hotel. I picked up a Wired U.K. at a local newsstand (newsstands chock-full of magazines and newspapers seem ubiquitous in Germany, their big-city absence in America made more noticeable). It’s a good issue, exploring the top digital entrepreneurial hotspots across Europe, from a U.K. perspective.

Across from p. 82, my eye caught a house ad. It was selling all things Wired U.K., but selling them in a customer-centric way I hadn’t before seen. Reproduced below, you see how it focused on how customers may variously access Wired. It speaks “multi-platform,” “multimedia” and “news anywhere” much better than those compounded nouns (which, when you think of it, are starting to sound like multisyllabic German constructions).

It’s masterful in telling the reader simply, and with a bit of fun, what the Wired U.K. brand stands for, how you can pick your timeliness (now to annual), mode of ingestion (reading, listening, or attending conferences) and more.

In a second bit of terrestrial serendipity, it turned out that Wired U.K. Editor David Rowan was speaking at IFA two hours after my talk. He and his art director, Andrew Diprose, had already supplied a digital copy of the house ad. I told him how well I thought the ad captured a business model in the making, with a clear customer-centric approach. He thanked me for the comment, and added, “It’s just something we tossed together when we had an extra page.” Well, it may have been, but it shows how this Wired crew is thinking of their business, eating some of the digital dog food it dishes out in each issue.

The ad had particular resonance this week as I’ve been thinking about the question on everyone’s minds in the newspaper and magazine businesses: What’s the new business model — that hybrid print/digital or digital/print — going to look like? It’s clear to everyone at this point that while print has a significant role for as far forward as we can see, it’s receding in importance, and revenue, and that digital is the growth engine on which to focus.

It’s one thing to say that and quite another to say what the new business model will look like. How much revenue will come from what, when, and who?

Now approaching 2012, we see that 2011 has provided a few clues to that new business model. No one, though, even the world’s digital revenue news leader, Oslo-based Schibsted (with 30 percent of overall revenues driven by digital) will tell you that even the industry’s leader has not yet found a big, sustainable model able to support a large newsroom.

Let me propose a model I’m testing out, as we watch the rollicking developments in the industry. As paid digital-access plans roll out weekly, as Digital First becomes not just a catchphrase but a company, as tablet development moves to the front burner and as the TV business continues to outpace both newspapers and magazines, what are the common threads we can see?

It’s purposely a simplified, bare-bones structure. I call it the newsonomics of 1, 2, 3, 4 and welcome flesh to be added to the skeleton — and/or chiropractic adjustment as well.

It’s 1, 2, 3, 4, as in:

  • 1 brand
  • 2 major sources of revenue, advertiser and reader
  • 3 products: print, computer, and mobile
  • 4G, as in the coming of faster connectivity

Let’s look at each one, briefly:

1 brand

The first decade-plus of the web was all about collecting, bringing things together. That meant major wins (63 percent of U.S. digital ad revenue in 2011 is going to Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft — and Facebook) for those who aggregated. The act of collecting (curating if you prefer) was rewarded at the expense of those being aggregated. Now, as we approach 2012, we’re seeing a major re-assertion of brand, and its primacy.

Steve Jobs’ tablet-launching assertion that search is so yesterday was part sales pitch, part prophecy. The app is nothing if not the re-ascendance of brand, encapsulated in a few pixels. These tiny apps — from ESPN, The Atlantic, Time, the Guardian, and Berliner Morgenpost to The Boston Globe, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — all convey new promise. That promise has found a business model — all-access — to accompany. After years of wandering in the wilderness of customer confusion and self-doubt, news companies are saying: “You know us, you know our brand; you value us. Pay us once and we’ll get you our stuff wherever, whenever, however you want it”. Call it “entertainment everywhere” or “news anywhere,” or “TV Everywhere,” major media are now re-training their core audiences to expect — and pay for — ubiquity.

News companies are following the lead of Netflix, HBO, and Comcast (Xfinity), all now basing their hybrid old world (TV/cable/post office) and new world (smartphone, tablet, computer, and connected TV) on the same simple idea. In the first digital decade, news and entertainment was atomized by aggregators, dis-branded, as readers and viewers often flipped through Google, YouTube, or Yahoo without knowing who actually produced news or entertainment.

Now, we see brand re-emerging to signal top-of-mind awareness — and to earn those one-click credit card payments. These are friendlier brands, attempting to leverage and master the new social curation of news and entertainment.

2 major sources of revenue, advertiser and reader

For that first decade plus of the web, news publishers relied on one revenue source — digital advertising. That’s been like wheeling into the future on a unicycle, lots of careening and too little forward progress. As publishers have taken a long-term view of the business, the conclusion from Arthur Sulzberger and Rupert Murdoch to Dallas’ Jim Moroney and Morris’ Michael Romaner has been the same: We have little hope of creating a successful digital business without robust digital reader revenue. Reader revenue doesn’t have to be mean only digital subscriptions. Schibsted and Australia’s Fairfax are pioneering “services,” with Schibsted’s story-aided weight-loss programs prototypical. Newbies Texas Tribune and MinnPost are showing how reader-attended events are moneymakers. The tablet will spawn lots of new one-off paid reader products.

And advertising doesn’t mean just selling space. Most major news chains, from Advance to Gannett to Hearst, are becoming regional ad agencies, selling and re-selling everything from deals to Yahoo (or in Advance’s case, Microsoft) to search engine marketing to Facebook and Google to local merchants large and small. The New York Times pulled Lincoln “ad” money into digital circulation push. Sponsorships are coming back in a big way for mobile.

So, two revenues, tried, true, but twisting new. Will they be 50/50 supports of new models? Too early to say, but they provide us the rivers and tributaries to build new revenue stream models.

3 products: print, computer, and mobile

“Online,” of course, was first re-purposed print. Too much of mobile is, again, re-purposed online. Yet, the smarter all-access players, mostly national, are looking at their audience data and seeing how different usage is by device or platform. There are new products — MediaNews’ TapIn is emblematic — that are made for the tablet, with even smartphone utility in question and desktop a distant third. We’ll see three distinct ways of thinking about product: print, lean-forward desktop/laptop and lean-back tablet/on-the-move smartphone. Newspaper print becomes just another platform. This triad becomes more than a smart way to think about product development — it becomes a way of measuring costs, revenues, and metrics like ARPU.

4G, as in the coming of faster connectivity

Only in the last couple of years have we passed 50 percent broadband access in the U.S., which currently ranks ninth worldwide at 63 percent of households. We’ve forgotten the days when pressing on the play button on a website’s video player was a crapshoot. Between buffering and bumbling of all sorts, video only sometimes worked. Now, take a look at the just-launched WSJ Live on the iPad, and you see how far we’ve come. 4G is now on the mainstream horizon, and with it comes the higher valuing of news video. That’s a challenge for text-based newspaper companies, most of whom have taken only first steps to becoming truly multimedia companies. You can see the 4G glow in the eyes of John Paton’s new Digital First Media company. I’m told his New Haven Register now outproduces the local TV stations in digital video news creation; few newspaper peers can yet say the same. With ad rates for news video are still markedly higher than for text stories, any successful model must put video at the center of new products.

So, it’s 1, 2, 3 and 4, good tests of evaluating new company strategies — from the inside or out.

July 29 2011


Microsoft Donation Program: How Does It Work?

Interested in TechSoup’s Microsoft Donation Program? Whether you are new or experienced with Microsoft donations, join us for a quick webinar to learn about the recently updated Microsoft donation program, restrictions, and additional benefits that will help you to get the most out of your donation request.

This webinar will help you to understand how the updates will affect your organization. This webinar is suited for all nonprofits and public libraries in the United States that are interested in requesting a Microsoft donation.


July 28 2011


Which company makes Apple most nervous? And the reasons why ...

Business Insider :: Apple is more worried about Facebook as a competitive threat than any other tech company, according to a source who works with Apple. Business Insider's source was surprised since it would make more sense for Apple to worry about other companies. Google has Android. Microsoft dominates the PC business. Amazon is threatening to enter the tablet space. But Facebook is coming on like a freight train in a space Apple doesn't really understand and it's not willing to play nicely with Apple.

Why should Apple fear Facebook? 

The reasons - continue to read Jay Yarow, ww.businessinsider.com

July 26 2011


Nortel's 6,000 patents - Google's Ken Walker: patents are "government-granted monopolies"

Apple Insider :: Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ken Walker had indicated in April that Google was interested in a collection of 6,000 patents from bankrupt Canadian telecommunications equipment maker Nortel because "many of [Google's] competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories." The search giant succeeded in placing the initial "stalking horse" bid, but ultimately lost out to a group consisting of Apple and other competitors, including as Microsoft, Research in Motion and Sony.

Shortly after the auction's results were announced, he posted a short statement describing the outcome as "disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition," but declined to comment more on the matter.

Apple Insider interviewed Ken Walker calling for patent reform in the U.S. as he characterized patents as "government-granted monopolies".

Continue to read Josh Ong, www.appleinsider.com

July 25 2011


No. 2 forever and $2.6 billion loss - Microsoft should better sell Bing

New York Times :: Microsoft needs to concentrate on a different kind of search: finding a buyer for Bing, its online search business. Bing is the industry’s distant No. 2 after Google. It has become a distraction for the software giant — one that costs shareholders dearly. The division that houses Bing lost $2.6 billion in the latest fiscal year. Facebook, or even Apple, might make a better home for Bing. A sale would be a boon for Microsoft’s investors.

What should Microsoft do?

Continue to read Robert Cyran | Martin Hutchinson, www.nytimes.com

July 24 2011


How MySpace Tom may have inadvertently triggered the Google/Facebook war

Washington Post :: It was Microsoft, that was just about to sign the MySpace search/ad deal 2006, and it was Vic Gundotra, now the man behind Google+, trying to get the deal done for the Redmond corporation. But everything went different: MySpace founder Tom Anderson ran into John Doerr and told hime that they were about to close with Microsoft and Google closed the deal. Within an hour, Google brass helicoptered out to a News Corp. shindig at Pebble Beach ... Just think about what would have been had Anderson not run into Doerr? - It may have been a place for Google and Facebook to be friends. In a relationship, even.

Continue to read www.washingtonpost.com

July 20 2011


Bloomberg: Microsoft is said to drop out of auction for Hulu

Microsoft is dropping out of the bidding for Hulu LLC, the online video service put up for sale by its media-company owners, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The company told Hulu executives last week it wouldn’t continue into a second round, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to talk publicly. The person didn’t rule out Microsoft re-entering later.

Continue to read Ronald Grover | Dina Bass, www.bloomberg.com

July 17 2011


App developers withdraw from U.S. as patent fears reach ‘tipping point’

paidContent :: App developers are withdrawing their products for sale from the US versions of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market for fear of being sued by companies which own software patents - just as a Mumbai-based company has made a wide-ranging claim against Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and a number of other companies over Twitter-style feeds, for which it claims it has applied for a patent.

Continue to read paidcontent.org


After losing Google - Twitter tries to come to terms with Microsoft's Bing

CNet :: After failing to strike an agreement to re-up its "fire hose" data stream licensing deal with Google, Twitter is now trying to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to a similar arrangement with Microsoft's Bing search service, said sources close to the situation. The outcome could mean a lot to both Twitter and Bing. Without a deal, the San Francisco microblogging service would be without two major paid distribution outlets for its full live stream of user tweets, a significant source of its revenue to date.

Continue to read Liz Gannes, news.cnet.com

July 05 2011


May 2011 top smartphone platforms - Google's Android is blowing everyone away

comScore MobiLens :: 76.8 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in May 2011, up 11 percent from the preceding three month period. Google Android ranked as the top operating system with 38.1 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers, up 5.1 percentage points. Apple strengthened its #2 position with 26.6 percent of the smartphone market, up 1.4 percentage points. RIM ranked third with 24.7 percent share, followed by Microsoft (5.8 percent) and Palm (2.4 percent).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2011
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens   Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers Feb-11 May-11 Point Change Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A Google 33.0% 38.1% 5.1 Apple 25.2% 26.6% 1.4 RIM 28.9% 24.7% -4.2 Microsoft 7.7% 5.8% -1.9 Palm 2.8% 2.4% -0.4

Information provided by www.comscore.com

July 04 2011


Bing results preferred - Chinese search gigant Baidu partners with Microsoft

paidContent :: Google has had its ups and downs in China, and that presents a ripe opportunity for its competitors, both in China and closer to home in the U.S. Today, it is being reported that the Chinese search giant Baidu has signed a deal with Microsoft to power its English-language search results, serving a market that currently numbers 450 million Internet users and quickly growing, with ... more Bing results. 

Continue to read Ingrid Lunden, paidcontent.org

June 26 2011


Why the auction of 6,000 Nortel patents on Monday is interesting for Google, Apple, Microsoft & Co

paidContent :: One of the most pivotal events at the intersection of patent law and the mobile industry kicks off on Monday, when the fate of 6,000 Nortel patents will be put on sale before a who’s who of mobile industry giants. Google, Apple, Research in Motion, Ericsson, Microsoft, ZTE, and patent holding company RPX have all been rumored or confirmed to be interested in the patent portfolio. The winner of these patents could be poised to unleash a new wave of lawsuits against the mobile industry ...

Tom Krazit, paidContent on what you need to know about the historic auction.

Continue to read Tom Krazit, paidcontent.org

June 18 2011


Done - Microsoft gets antitrust approval to buy Skype

Reuters :: Microsoft has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Skype, the Federal Trade Commission said in a website posting on Friday. Microsoft announced in May it was buying Skype for $8.5 billion, its biggest-ever acquisition, placing a rich bet on mobile and the Internet to try and best rivals such as Google Inc.

Continue to read www.reuters.com

May 28 2011


Appointed - Twitter's Dick Costolo now member of President Obama's Advisory Committee

Business Insider | SAI :: President Obama has decided to appoint Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to his National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Costolo will be joining executives from Microsoft and McAfee, as well as Dan Hesse of Sprint Nextel and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon

Continue to read Alyson Shontell, www.businessinsider.com

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