Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

After a short break, Metue will be back on January 2nd, 2009 with fresh content and new material.

Until then, in tribute, we offer this visual look back on some of the famous faces – from Paul Newman to George Carlin to Tim Russert – who passed away in 2008.

2008 remembered smallclick to enlarge

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Soundbytes: Murdoch on Technology, Media and Newspapers

quotesIn every business, there’s a select group of people guaranteed to lure a following when they speak.  Typically war tested and battle scarred, these are people that have been there.  People that, over years and decades, have weathered the battles and cultivated experience.  People that offer the prospect of insight only time can yield.   Rupert Murdoch is one of these people.   

If you’re in the media industry and want a perspective, Rupert’s one of your dream dinner table guests.  He took the helm of his first newspaper at 22 and in a lifetime of deal making he grew it into a global media powerhouse.  With News Corp, his holdings span TV, cable, print, film, internet, satellite and they travel around the globe.  

Unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch isn’t someone you can call up and ask to share a few stories or pointers.  That is out of the question.   Luckily, there’s ample supply of soundbytes, especially this month.

Every year for the past 48, Australia’s ABC Radio National has broadcast a series of lectures from a prominent Australian.    This year’s speaker in the  49th annual Boyer Lecture series is none other than Rupert Murdoch.   Through the span of November and December, he’s delivered a total of four themed talks.  Another two will air through December 7th. 

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Applevine Rumors: Sony DRM Free Music?

sony drmIn 2006 and 2007, Apple was one of the torch-bearers in the movement to push record labels to license downloadable copies of their music without digital rights management encryption (DRM) but when the fruits of that effort were eventually harvested, when the labels decided to go DRM-Free, the rewards largely passed Apple by. 

At the time, iTunes was already the leading distributor of digital music. There wasn’t a competitor even close.  The record labels, in an effort to level the field and try to shift the balance of distribution power to a less monopolistic scenario,  allocated DRM-Free licenses only to Apple’s rivals; stores like Amazon and Walmart.   It’s a strategy they’ve yet to reconsider.

To date,  EMI remains the only representative of the Big 4 (the world’s four largest record companies) that allows Apple to sell DRM-Free tracks.  Rumor has it, however, that may soon start to change.

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Poll: Beatles Song Requests for the New Video Game?

vote beatlesHave a favorite Beatles song? Is it something you’d like to play along with in a video game?

In response to MTV Games’ (Harmonix) announcement last week that they’re working to create a new game built entirely around the band’s history and songbook, we’re testing out a poll on Metue to offer fans a chance to vote their favorite songs.

If you’re a fan, take a minute and share your perspective. You can only vote once but you can pick more than one song.

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Applevine: iMac Refresh and iPhone Production Rumors

Fresh off recent upgrades to Macbooks last month and with no iTunes chatter to replicate Harmonix’ Beatles’ conquest, the Applevine  (aka Apple Rumors and Speculation) surprisingly came to life to start this week with a couple new speculative suggestions.

On the Mac front: Apple watching website MacNN is reporting their sources say upgrades to the Mac Mini and iMac computers could be announced on November 10th.  

Given the timing would create an opportunity to capitalize on holiday sales, the rumor falls into the category of plausible but clouding the prospect of its accuracy: Click to Read More

Whale Watching: Icahn Picks up More Lions Gate

whale-watching-sm.jpgWhale watching isn’t just a pastime in coastal towns.  In financial circles, the biggest of the big, the heaviest of the heavy hitters, aka the “whales,” often draw a crowd too.  Investors flock to see where the Buffet’s, the Soros’ and the Icahn’s of the world are deploying their capital.  It’s a chance to learn, or maybe even ride the coattails of an expert’s insight to a nice return.

For Carl Icahn watchers, the latest company to watch is Lions Gate.  As of June 30th, 2008, filings show Icahn had 3.65%  of the “mini-major” production company, or 4,289,508 shares.  This month he doubled down.

SEC filings reveal Icahn acquired more than four million additional shares in October.    The individual buys, as listed in the filings, are detailed in the table at the end of this article.

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New MacBooks Revealed

macbooksTuesday, Apple revealed an evolved slate of thin, light, eco-friendly MacBook notebooks to waiting audiences.  Greener, leaner and more powerful than ever, the laptops remain high on style and function but despite prelaunch speculation to the contrary they’re still mostly premium priced, premium products.

Entry priced from $1299 to $1999 (with more expensive configurations also available)  the revised MacBook’s feature aluminum cases, more powerful NVIDIA graphics cards (a dual card structure on the 15 inch MacBook Pro), LED backlit displays and wear-resistant glass multi-touch track pads with near 40% larger usable area than some prior models.

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