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Businesses

The Fall of Traditional Entertainment Conglomerates 204

Advocatus Diaboli writes "We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses. However large private companies still have considerable power over content production, distribution and promotion. Technology has been slowly changing this state of affairs for almost 30-40 years, however certain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years."
Businesses

Android vs. iPhone — Who Wins In 2011? 424

Hugh Pickens writes "Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes in Fortune Magazine that Apple and Google have two very different strategies in the competition shaping up in 2011 between Android and iPhone. According to the conventional wisdom as espoused by Don Dodge, a Developer Advocate at Google, both Apple and Google will win because they are playing different games. Android will win the market share battle, but Apple will generate bigger profits. 'Apple goes for the high end of the market where they can charge high prices and enjoy great profit margins. Apple has been successful with this strategy multiple times, and will do it again with iPhone,' writes Dodge adding that Google's strategy with Android is to generate revenue streams from mobile search and advertising. Another Google employee, Tim Bray, sees things differently and says he won't be surprised if Apple ships a cheap iPhone and if this time next year, dirt-cheap iPhones were competing against Androids that push the user-experience lever farther than Apple. 'There's nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple's success.'"
Businesses

California Rare-Earth Mine Reopens 244

burnin1965 writes in to let us know that the looming crisis in rare-earth materials (which we have discussed recently) has prompted Molycorp, the erstwhile operator of a California mine closed in 2002, to announce plans to reopen it. "With increasing prices on rare earth ore, tariffs raised by the Chinese government, and the threat of embargoes that would damage United States high-tech manufacturing Molycorp now has the needed incentive to reopen the California Mountain Pass mine. They will spend the capital needed to implement badly needed updates to environmental controls that will mitigate the radioactive waste water releases that plagued the mine in the past. Chinese imports in the 90s nearly halved ore prices and the California mine experienced multiple failures in environmental controls that resulted in the release of huge volumes of radioactive waste water. Updating the mine to address the environmental issues was not financially viable due to the cheap Chinese imports so it was closed in 2002." Within two years the mine could be producing 20% of the amount of rare earths we import from China.
Businesses

America's Cubicles Are Shrinking 484

Hugh Pickens writes "In the 1970s, American corporations typically thought they needed 500 to 700 square feet per employee to build an effective office, but the LA Times reports that today's average is a little more than 200 square feet per person, and the space allocation could hit a mere 50 square feet by 2015. 'We're at a very interesting inflection point in real estate history,' says Peter Miscovich, who studies workplace trends. 'The next 10 years will be very different than the last 30.' Although cubicles have shrunk from an average of 64 feet to 49 feet in recent years, companies are looking for more ways to compress their real estate footprint with offices that squeeze together workstations while setting aside a few rooms where employees can conduct meetings or have private phone conversations. 'Younger workers' lives are all integrated, not segregated,' says Larry Rivard. 'They have learned to work anywhere — at a kitchen table or wherever.'"
Businesses

Yahoo Lays Off 600; Free Beers and Jobs Flow 164

CWmike writes "Yahoo confirmed on Tuesday that it has laid off 600 people, following news reports often based on Twitter messages from employees who had been let go. The layoffs amount to about 4 percent of the company's global workforce, Yahoo said. The company said affected workers are receiving severance packages and outplacement services. Laid-off workers may find some comfort on Twitter, where they are receiving an outpouring of goodwill. One San Francisco brewery is offering a free beer to people from Yahoo who show their termination letters. People with companies including Aprendi Learning, Tucows.com, DirecTV, Combine Couture, OMGPOP.com, and Uptake.com all posted Twitter messages expressing interest in hiring former Yahoo employees. The site Quora is hosting a thread for companies in the San Francisco area interested in hiring laid-off Yahoo workers. So far, there are 14 posts about jobs with companies including Yammer, Mozilla, and Cloudera."
Businesses

Humble Bundle 2 Is Live 217

Dayofswords writes "The first Humble Bundle was a monster success, with over 100,000 people donating over $1 million in total to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Child's Play, and of course the developers behind the games. The second bundle is now live (bundle site), containing five great games: Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans. Each game is DRM-free, the games work on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and you pay what you want and decide where your money goes."
Businesses

Which Shipping Company Is Kindest To Your Packages? 480

Ant writes "Popular Mechanics mailed a bunch of sensors on an epic journey to find out which American shipping company is the most careful with your packages. From the article: 'One disheartening result was that our package received more abuse when marked "Fragile" or "This Side Up." The carriers flipped the package more, and it registered above-average acceleration spikes during trips for which we requested careful treatment.' Here's what they found."
Novell

Attachmate To Acquire Novell For $2.2B Cash 221

wiredmikey and a few others wrote in to let us know that Novell has agreed to be acquired by Attachmate Corporation for $6.10 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at approximately $2.2 billion. The Boston Globe reports that the deal also includes the sale of some intellectual assets to a consortium organized by Microsoft. Attachmate plans to operate Novell and SUSE as separate business units. Here is the press release.
Businesses

The Monopolies That Dominate the Internet 342

Tim Wu has a piece up at the Wall Street Journal pointing out that the free-market, open Internet — "competition in its purest form" — has evolved to be dominated by monopolies. Wu argues that this is nothing new, and that each wave of information technology in the US has followed a similar pattern. "Today's Internet borders will probably change eventually, especially as new markets appear. But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we are living in an age of large information monopolies. Could it be that the free market on the Internet actually tends toward monopolies? Could it even be that demand, of all things, is actually winnowing the online free market — that Americans, so diverse and individualistic, actually love these monopolies? ... Info-monopolies tend to be good-to-great in the short term and bad-to-terrible in the long term."
Businesses

The Great Cyberheist 57

theodp writes "In this week's cover story, the NY Times Magazine delves into the mind of Albert Gonzalez, the hacker who is currently doing time (the longest sentence ever handed down for computer crime in the US) for masterminding attacks on the nation's leading retailers, reportedly costing TJ Maxx, Heartland, and other victimized companies more than $400 million. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. 'The majority of the stuff I hacked was never brought into public light,' said one of Gonzalez's partners-in-crime. Another claims there 'were major chains and big hacks that would dwarf TJX. I'm just waiting for them to indict us for the rest of them.' Online fraud is still rampant in the US, but statistics show a major drop in 2009 from previous years when Gonzalez was active. While reportedly not a gifted programmer, even the Feds that Gonzalez two-timed admired his ingenuity, likening him to top CEOs. When asked how Gonzalez rated among criminal hackers, a prosecutor replied: 'As a leader? Unparalleled. Unparalleled in his ability to coordinate contacts and continents and expertise. Unparalleled in that he didn't just get a hack done — he got a hack done, he got the exfiltration of the data done, he got the laundering of the funds done. He was a five-tool player.' Accounting for time served and good behavior, Gonzalez is expected to get out of prison in 2025." Last June Rolling Stone ran a long profile of Albert Gonzalez written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely; they have dusted it off now that producer Eric Eisner has embarked on the development of a feature film based on Erdely's piece.
Businesses

What's the Oracle Trial Against SAP Really About? 160

Ponca City writes "Chris O'Brien writes in the Merucry News that Larry Ellison's lawsuit against bitter rival SAP gives Ellison the opportunity to deliver the final humiliation to his company's greatest foe of the past decade while sending a blunt message to Oracle's next great enemy, Hewlett-Packard: 'This is who you are fighting. This is how determined we are to win. Get ready.' O'Brien writes that it's a crafty bit of psychological warfare that is already having the desired effect. When Oracle decided to subpoena former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker after he was appointed president and CEO of HP, Apotheker decided to stay out of the country to avoid testifying so now we have the bizarre spectacle of the new CEO of the largest technology company in the world unable to show his face in Silicon Valley. Ellison loves to fight. In gaining control of PeopleSoft, Ellison demonstrated the love of combat and confrontation that has made him one of the wealthiest men on the planet. He waged an 18-month hostile takeover bid to acquire the company, and fought off an effort by the US Department of Justice to torpedo the deal. 'Oracle probably could have settled this case [with SAP],' writes O'Brien. 'But why pass up a glorious chance to subpoena Apotheker and send your new opponent running in circles?'"
Businesses

Obama Says Offshoring Fears Are Unwarranted 763

alphadogg writes "The perception that Indian call centers and back office operations cost US jobs is an old stereotype that ignores today's reality that two-way trade between the US and India is helping create jobs and raise the standard of living in both countries, US President Barack Obama told a gathering of business executives in Mumbai on Saturday. President Obama's remarks come after some moves in the US that had Indian outsourcers worried that the US may get protectionist in the wake of job losses in the country. The state of Ohio, for example, banned earlier this year the expenditure of public funds for offshore purposes. US exports to India have quadrupled in recent years, and currently support tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the US, he said in a speech that was also streamed live. In addition, there are jobs supported by exports to India of agriculture products, travel and education services. President Obama, who is in India on a three-day visit, said that more than 20 deals worth about $10 billion were announced on the first day of his visit."
Piracy

Comic Sales Soar After Artist Engages 4chan Pirates 305

An anonymous reader writes "Steve Lieber, the artist behind the graphic novel Underground, discovered that someone on 4chan had scanned and posted the entire comic. Rather than complaining, he joined the conversation, chatting with the 4channers about the comic... and the next day he saw his sales jump to unheard-of levels, much higher than he'd seen even when the comic book was reviewed on popular sites like Boing Boing."
Television

News Corp. Shuts Off Hulu Access To Cablevision 316

ideonexus writes "Normally when we advocate Net Neutrality, we are talking about preventing ISPs from discriminating against content providers, but in this case, the content provider is discriminating against the ISP. Is this a new dimension in the Net Neutrality fight? From the article: 'Cablevision internet customers lost access to Fox.com and Fox programming on Hulu for a time Saturday afternoon — the result of a misguided effort on News Corp.'s part to cut off online viewing as an alternative in its standoff with the cable operator over retrans fees. Fox stations in NYC, Philadelphia, and New Jersey went dark at midnight Friday when negotiations between the two broke down.'"
Businesses

Convincing Your Employer To Go With FOSS? 369

mark72005 writes "My employer is currently looking at adopting a content management system for use by our technical support staff (primarily first-line end user support, but hopefully it will include deeper levels of support personnel eventually). The candidates are currently Plone (OSS) and Confluence (proprietary, closed-source). For those with experience in each, what arguments in favor of Plone could be made to managers more interested in pragmatism than idealism?"

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