Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Pick BoomTown's Newest Digital Obsession!


So, as readers of this blog know by now, I can get a little obsessed with certain digital companies or topics, sort of like a geek version of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”

Except, the werewolves BoomTown has been trying futilely to kill come in the form of juvenile widgets!

Over the last year, of course, I have been majoring in the foibles of Facebook and the tribulations of Yahoo, with a minor in studies of Internet video and online content creation in Hollywood.

While I have posted on a huge host of topics, companies and from all over the world, the drilling down has been a good thing in that the column has broken a lot of stories on our area of expertise and also has developed less idiotic analysis over time.

And don’t get me wrong–I love the relentlessness that blogging provides. Let’s be clear: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Jerry Yang of Yahoo remain on my most wanted list.

But it is time to widen the circle and add new Web companies to stalk to our repertoire and I welcome reader input.

So, here is a list of some digital companies I am thinking of zeroing in on next:

1. Amazon: For the love of Kindle, Jeff Bezos sure knows how to hold on and keep on trucking. In a previous life, BoomTown covered retail for seven years (that is a lot of time being forced to contemplate Wal-Mart) and even covered Bezos when he was just starting out.

2. eBay: A kissing cousin to Amazon, the development of commerce on the Web has not been properly scrutinized and it will be interesting to see how this company fares in its post-Meg Whitman phase.

3. HP: While it seems a tad dull, I like the idea of looking closer at this important tech company as it moves further into the digitization of all its businesses.

4. Microsoft: Need we ask? Between its wacky investment in Facebook to thwart Google to its full-scale attack on Yahoo to thwart Google to its nonstop efforts to thwart Google, something must have gotten in the water supply up in Redmond. Seriously, it is easy to portray the software giant as incompetent when it comes to Web issues, but we like its recent chutzpah.

5. Hollywood: Disney, CBS, Viacom, News Corp., Time Warner and the rest of those old-media outfits have always been a focus here, but as convergence ratchets up, it is important for techies to really be up to speed on what they are up to.

6. Apple: We can’t let that friggin’ Fake Steve Jobs get all the funny lines, can we? No, we cannot.

7. AOL: After two books, you might think I would be colossally bored with the perpetually stumbling icon. Not so! Until it vanishes, a la Netscape soon enough, I shall probably be compelled to follow it to the ends of the earth.


As to topics, here’s what I think is interesting going forward: multi-touch technology becoming more widespread; data portability (and not because of Scoble!); privacy related to social advertising; genomic and body hacking; and the opening up of the mobile experience.

As always, I welcome any and all suggestions. Except, of course, if it’s another werewolf widget.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus