Amazon on Demand: New Video Service Enters Beta

amzn on demandEveryone’s doing it.  It’s the new, old thing.  There’s Apple and Microsoft, Netflix and Amazon, there’s TiVo, Roku, Sony, Sezmi (formerly Building B), Vudu and more.    They’re all bringing some form of video on-demand services over the Internet; rentals and purchases, some even free.  It’s the promise of TV and movies as you like it, when you like it.  Thursday, Amazon became the latest entry into the crowded market.  Technically, though, it’s a re-entry.  

Since 2006, Amazon has offered a video on demand service called Unbox. Click to Read More

News from E3: Gaming Convention Recap Part 2 of 2

e3 part 2Yesterday, in Part 1 of Metue coverage of the E3 gaming convention we highlighted some of the new products and software revealed by Nintendo, Sony, Harmonix, Atari and Disney.  Here, in Part 2, are summaries of what’s in the works at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Konami, Take Two and Activision Blizzard.

Unlike in recent years when hardware was center stage, this year’s convention seems to be focused largely on two themes: networking entertainment and the software pipeline.  Microsoft’s collected press announcements and product demonstrations largely fit that bill.

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News from E3: Gaming Convention Press Recap Part 1

inside e3A lot of industries have trade shows, some more than one. Most are usually meet and greet events, gatherings where people schmooze, where new products are introduced, and where the press and the public informed. The events provide a platform for marketing and a forum for companies to take a closer look at what their competitors are doing.  For the $40billion dollar video game industry, the annual E3 Media Summit is the biggest of these shows (The broader annual Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show notwithstanding) and its happening this week in L.A.

For 14 years, gamers and game makers have flocked to Southern California to browse the booths and presentations.  In 2006, the audience peaked at more than 60,000 visitors.  Last year, however, members of the Entertainment Software Associate voted to change the format.  The public was excluded.  E3 went from a open big top to an industry only event.  Now about 5,000 retailers, analysts, press and industry representatives are invited to attend.

The smaller scale has turned the event into what amounts, largely, to a media showcase.  E3 has become an opportunity for each company to reveal their prototypes and products, or to plug their performance.  It’s a week of overlapping press releases, announcements and proclamations. 

Going through the list of major companies here in part one of two parts are some of the highlights – the new products and the new software gamers can look forward too.  

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War of Words Continues: More Yahoo Microsoft Icahn Banter

yahoo trophyMidway into the month, the July award for best corporate use of the media has been locked up. In a rare tie, the trophy goes jointly to Microsoft and Carl Icahn.   Together, working with press releases, public letters and carefully worded position statements, the two have effectively served their dual purpose of destabilizing Yahoo and advancing their efforts to acquire the company (or its assets) against the wishes of its management.

Looking at the Award Winning Performances:
It wasn’t too long ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had said Microsoft’s pursuit was over; that they had “moved on.”   At the end of June, in an interview with Tom Brokaw to discuss his retirement, Bill Gates confirmed he didn’t think a Microsoft-Yahoo combination would happen either.

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Netflix through Xbox 360: Another PC to TV Bridge

nflx xboxWhen Netflix first revealed their strategy to bring their streamed video service software to consumer electronics by licensing their software, they promised the licensing partnerships would be broad reaching.  When the next earnings conference calls comes around, executives at the company will be able to say they have kept their word.  After first announcing a deal with LG to tie into consumer electronics (DVD players and Set-Top boxes), then offering a standalone player in partnership with Roku, Netflix is now tackling gaming hardware.

Monday, using the E3 gaming convention in LA as a forum, Netflix revealed a plan to bring their Watch Now on-demand video service to Xbox 360 owners.

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Gaming Mergers: Week in Review

game mergersWrapping up a week where tech news was largely dominated by iPhone related hype, and financial news committed to turbulent markets, three of the video game industries top ten publishers (and arguably top 5 depending on the method of ranking) moved ahead with acquisition related activities.  Leading the way, Activision and Vivendi games completed their merger.  Additionally, Electronic Arts made a small forward step in their battle to acquire Take Two Interactive and French publisher, Ubisoft, fortified their film industry foundation with the purchase of a special effects shop.

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Applevine: Justice Case Closed, iPhone Cracked Open

metue applevine whisperThe iPhone is here and Apple is making headlines around the world.  From the Applevine, there is more going on than just the debut of the anticipated phone. Thursday, it became apparent that the company is off the hook for any backdating of stock options.  Also, the iPhone 3G was cracked open and the App store went live.

Backdating Investigation Closed
While spokespeople for Apple and the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office have not commented, after two years, it appears the Justice Department has ended its criminal investigation of stock options back dating at Apple. They decided no charges will be filed.  Sources close to the case told the Wall Street Journal the inquiry is over.

At issue were practices dating back to the period between 1997 and 2001.

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