Posts filed under “Technology”
"Hollywood is once again abuzz with thoughts of a transformed business
as Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has entered the movie
download biz, while Amazon.com is partnering with TiVo in a bid to
expand its presence.
In a nutshell,
as one mogul recently put it, "Nobody is making any money at all on
this yet." Of course, movie downloading isn’t the only business that
got ahead of itself during the first dot-com boom. And studios have
plenty of reason to be optimistic this time around. The Internet is
finally transforming the way all people, but especially teens and
twentysomethings, find and consume media, as evidenced by the meteoric
growth of companies like Google, MySpace and YouTube.
And Apple’s iTunes is now the main growth driver of the music biz along with a host of smaller competitors. But
despite nearly eight years of trying, the online movie biz still hasn’t
overcome many of the problems that have long plagued and that iTunes
overcame in music.
Online prices, for instance, are still on par
and in some cases higher than those for DVDs, even though studios and
e-tailers save the cost of manufacturing and shipping. A key
differentiator for iTunes was its price points, 99¢ for singles and
$9.99 for albums — representing a significant discount vs. CDs."
I found the list of top downloads interesting: 24, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip were the top downloads of this service.
I am not sure if this combination threatens Netflix‘s model. In theory, and additional convergence should be a danger to the internet/snail mail business model.
Be sure to see the #6 of our disclosures regarding these faster than realtime download and play patents . . .
TiVo and Amazon.com Announce New Service
Enabling Amazon Unbox Video Downloads to TiVo
Download the latest movies and TV shows straight to your TiVo
Download business stays elusive
Online movies remain a tough sell
Variety, Posted: Wed., Feb. 7, 2007, 5:36pm PT
What do you think of the new Zune?
That question led to fascinating discussion about Microsoft on Thursday. What they do, how they work, brainstorm, etc. It also covered how Microsoft develops new products (notice I didn’t say innovate).
A few quick thoughts on the Zune: The coolest thing is its owners ability to zap songs back and forth via a Wi-Fi
connection — but those songs expire after "three plays or three days, whichever
comes first," which is kinda poor. The 3 inch screen versus the 2.5 inch on the iPod also looks pretty nice. Other than that, its not a particularly compelling piece of hardware.
Brown? How long til that gets cancelled?
We don’t know the price yet, but I expect it to be in the $249 – 349 range, and a function of how much MSFT is willing to lose/subsidize each unit.
What I found most fascinating about "This Week in Microsoft" were the 3 separate products that leaked out over the past few days:
• The Zune iPod challenger (in classic "steal the other guys thunder" following Apple’s event)
Let’s get a few things straight about Mister Softee. First, forget all the chatter coming from Redmond about innovation. They are now and have always been uttery shameless copycats. They do not innovate; They do not create cool products; They are boring code writing cubicle dwelling drones — and that’s what they should be.
The second thing you need to know about Microsoft: They print money like they were a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department.
That is the bottom line for investors, and the cash ain’t coming from all these other products attempting to recapture lighting in a bottle. Its Windows 1st, Office 2nd, and then a big 4 way tie for SQL, Hardware (mouses etc.) Server SW, and then everything else. All these other products — including Xbox, hotmail, MSN, etc. — are what happens when you have more money than God and still want to be one of the cool kids.
And, they’d probably get just as much criticism if they didn’t make all these attempts at imitating other successful innovators. Otherwise, they would just be a mature company milking their monopoly products until the next paradigm shift came along.
Understand my complaint about Redmond: I don’t begudge them these many attempts to stay relevant and hip, to keep pressing buttons until they find the next thing that works. Hey, after you become one of the most successful firms in the history of Capitalism, it becomes hard to repeat that performance every quarter.
I’m just tired of the bullshit about all their terrific innovations (Spare me the techno-babble about multithreading processors or dynamic ram usage).
To understand how Microsoft got to be the "innovator" it is today, you need to have some background into the psychology of its leadership. My favorite example comes via Robert Cringely
If there is a reason, it has to come from the competitive nature of Bill
Gates as Microsoft’s spiritual and ethical leader. Everything is a competition
to Bill, and every competition has a winner and a loser. Microsoft people have
always been encouraged to see the game, not the consequences, and to win the
game even if winning this way makes no sense.
Let me give an example of this behavior. In the early days of Microsoft, one
of the popular games was to see how late the boys could leave work for the
airport and still make their flights. These weren’t people who were habitually
late, they were playing a game. The eventual winner was Bill Gates, of course,
but to win he had to abandon his car [a new Porsche 911] at the departures curb.
Tht pretty much says it all. They are competitive to a fault — its in their DNA. Its also why they have been such a vast money machine. But please: Spare us the sanctimonious garbage about Microsoft the innovator, and keep the focus on Microsoft the moneymaker.
Here’s some more recent ideas out of the innovation factory: