I'm a software engineer in the US, and I've worked at firms with Japanese customers. There are definitely some cultural quirks that you don't see anywhere else.
My current firm has several Japanese customers (and one US bank) paying to keep old Internet Explorer support, and to keep some old versions of the user interfaces alive. Not a small amount either. Their view appears to be that changes to the software product would require retraining people. If you view retraining someone as costing 1000USD per headcount, and you have thousands of employees, then it's a very substantial cost.
Now, part of me says, they're right. Retraining people is "Doing the right thing (TM)". You'll similarly find that the Japanese are the only ones reading our manual, to the point that Google searches in English hit the Japanese pages of the documentation, because they are the only ones with search click-through. Again, "Doing the right thing (TM)". Except, all that training and diligent reading of the manual is a total waste. Everyone else just clicks around, figures things out, and maybe gets help from a coworker or gives us a call.
It seems that Japanese firms are rather burdened by a desire to follow a costly formal process of moving forward. An attitude that would be great for a nuclear power plant, or maybe a bank, but not so good for a normal business.
Premium cable TV you mean? Cable was originally mostly rebroadcasts of transmissions that already had ads in it for people that couldn't get a signal.
Most media companies dream of having everyone paying a monthly fee instead of relying on ads. You have to constantly seek out people to sell ad space to and you're always at the mercy of the price of ads and seasonal changes. The usual issue is that people are totally unwilling to pay anywhere near what advertisers will pay to show them ads. Youtube's per-person income is low enough that some people will probably happily pay.
The expectation of this article is that Google will somehow shortly produce a car which will completely replace drivers in all circumstances. Clearly, that's the eventual goal, but that's not needed to produce something useful. Car companies are already churning out various incomplete solutions that help with highway driving or parking.
I expect their initial product to be something that works as a taxi in semi-controlled circumstances, or something that makes driving more convenient, but which requires intervention some of the time. Either of which would be a viable product.
Early cell phones were overpriced bricks, but they were still useful to some people. It took a huge investment from many companies and quite a bit of time to get to the point where people considered dropping their land lines. Replacing the old generation of technology is not usually a sudden process, but involves a lot of gradual improvement.
People run businesses where the *only* source of new customers are those targeted ads that apparently "don't work". Clearly, they work well enough, for some people.
If you look at engagement rings, the internet will be filled with engagement ring ads for a week. Obviously, you'll ignore most of them (unless you buy a thousand rings?), but those companies would have gone broke if it wasn't working. They're spending a lot of cash. The thing is, those ads might cost something like $5 per thousand "impressions". If the average sale nets you $300, it's worth your while if the ad works at a rate better than once per 60,000 views. A lot of these companies carefully tweak their bid prices, and sometimes make no sales for long periods because they've been outbid in the areas they're targeting.
Would it be worth running those ads with no targeting? Probably not. People don't buy that many engagement rings in their life. Jewelry companies have always carefully placed ads so that they'd be seen by people who were likely to actually buy jewelry.
But take a moment and look at what Google offers here. Google lets you see most of your data on your account dashboard, view and edit your search history, view and edit what ad categories are targeted at you, sign up for account activity reports, and has fairly readable multi-lingual help pages. That's better than almost anyone else.
Maybe Google's advertising practices or monopoly power are issues, but on the issue of data transparency, I think they passed the "good enough" level quite some time ago. The real issue appears to be that even if a company provides good information, no one will bother to look at it.
Everyone who self serves by using your bug website is saving you money, if it causes a support call to be avoided. That's not always going to happen, but it's probably avoided hundreds or thousands of avoided support calls.
A lot of people suggested making it only open to customers. That's fine, but recognize there is a cost there. Have you ever tried to get login info for a vendor website at a big company? It's often impossible. Some guy wrote it down on a notepad 7 years ago. What happens is you end up calling or emailing the company directly, possibly spending time confirming your identity, and thus wasting their money. Some companies have tried to mitigate that cost by allowing anyone with an email at a customer domain access, but that only works if they have such a domain.
You should be able to estimate these costs by talking to support and looking at the page view information and customer queries. Just present the information and let management decide. Whatever the outcome, you'll look good if you present the site (and thus you) as having been saving money all this time.
IBM Advanced Systems Group -- a bunch of mindless jerks, who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes... -- with regrets to D. Adams