The Macworld Announcements: New…and improved, products

macworldThe allure of a suspense is irresistible. 50 pages into a good book the outcome may already be foretold but if well done, you anxiously read the next two hundred to find out for sure. Macworld as a trade show has built for itself the same kind of dramatic tension. Over the years, as ringmaster, Steve jobs has crafted himself into an impressive storyteller. Legions hang in wait for his word. At Macworld, the lines were long and formed hours early for those anxious to see the live spectacle.

At 9:15 PST, following a new Mac vs. PC ad, Steve took the stage. He gave the obligatory recap of 2007, and then launched the crowd into the future.

Major news outlets were vastly in attendance. They’ll be covering the announcement all day.

Here’s the quick list: iTunes rentals (Check), New Macbook (Check), improved Apple TV (Check), software update for the iPhone (check).

And in more detail:

Click to Read More

Heavy Job Cuts Expected at EMI

emi jobsLast year, private equity firm Terra Firma acquired struggling number four music label EMI for about $6.4b (including debt).  A few days ago, an internal email from Terra Firma’s CEO Guy Hands leaked.  It hinted at major house cleaning. 

Ahead of Tuesday’s EMI staff meetings, early reports on the wire services and from the Wall Street Journal are citing insiders that those changes may include job cuts for  as much as one third of EMI’s six thousand person global staff. 

Even as sources suggest the cuts may be smaller, the number of jobs lost is expected to be substantial.

Click to Read More

Comcast FCC Investigation Now Official

comcast microscopeDuring a January 8th Panel Discussion at the Consumer electronics show FCC Chairman Kevin Martin unequivocally said his agency would be investigating allegations Comcast inappropriately interfered with peer to peer data traffic moving across their network.  That investigation, looking into issues relating to Net Neutrality Policy, is now official.

Comcast confirmed Monday they had received official letters of inquiry regarding the complaints.

The complaints stem from the Associated Press’ discovery in October that Comcast was either blocking, or intentionally slowing down (a practice called “throttling”), Internet traffic generated by the Bit Torrent peer to peer software used by some Comcast subscribers. Click to Read More

Fire Sale or Incentive: Can Pricing Help HD DVD Survive?

toshiba price cutsFollowing Warner Brother’s surprise announcement to back the rival Blu-Ray standard, the HD DVD camp canceled parts of their planned CES promotions and made a measured statement that they would “evaluate potential steps.”  Wasting no time, it appear’s they’ve made a decision: the next generation DVD format war will now be a price war. 

Beaten and battered by the decision of five of seven major Hollywood studios to bake their rival, Toshiba is striking back with price cuts and a planned marketing blitz. Toshiba said Monday that they will dramatically cut prices on their HD DVD lineup.  The last expensive player, the HD-A3, will drop from $299 to $149.  The high end unit in the product line will drop from $499 to $299.

Click to Read More

Netflix Expands Streaming Service

watch now unlimitedPreempting a largely expected iTunes movie rental announcement at tomorrow’s Macworld event, Netflix announced they’ll remove all usage quota restrictions on their “Watch Instantly” streaming video service.  The change is to become effective today.

The streaming video service, on which Netflix has reportedly invested more than $40m, has been available for much of the past year.  It allows existing Netflix subscribers to watch on-demand feeds of up to 6,000 titles.  There are no additional costs to use the service.  It is offered in addition to subscriber’s existing mail order rental allotments.

Until today, the one major restriction on the service had been the quota system Click to Read More

2008 Apple Macworld Predictions: Laying down the Odds

apple odds2007 was a banner year.  There was the iPhone, a new (and very successful) iPod family, a new and improved  iMac, the Leopard update to the OS X operating system and a stock price that’s accelerated like a Ferrari on a track.  Now it’s 2008 and Macworld, the trade show that is “Apple’s State of the Union” is just a blink away.  Last year’s show revealed the iPhone.  “What can we expect this year?” is the question on the minds of many.  We all want to know: what promise and surprise does the 2008 product pipeline have in store for us? 

Nobody’s talking, which is usual, and as usual, that has everyone talking.  Steve Jobs and his team guard their secrets as tightly as a Vegas magic act, and like the elite illusionists, they enjoy misdirection just as much.     That’s fueled a constant stream of predictions and forecasts.  Analysts with inside sources, press and fans alike all have a perspective.  Handicapping Apple product announcements is rarely a wise endeavor, nevertheless, below are some rumors, and odds of their likelihood:

Click to Read More

Amazon Gets Sony BMG Tunes. EMI Sets Their Agenda

amazon sonybmgSomething was missing. When Sony BMG revealed Platinum Music Pass, their first step into DRM-Free waters, it didn’t make sense.  It wasn’t the Amazon partnership expected.  It was a weird retail experiment.  Logic seemed lost.  There had to be more.  Fortunately, there is. 

Amazon announced Thursday that the Sony BMG catalog will, in fact, soon be available at the Amazon MP3 store without digital copyright protection.  There hasn’t been confirmation whether the entire catalog will be included or if it will be a more limited “experiment.”  However they proceed, the news is a significant win for Amazon, and for music fans.

Amazon owes significant thanks to EMI.  Though the smallest of the Big 4, Click to Read More

Page 4 of 6« First...23456