Weekend Update, 2.28.09
Much ado about Amazon’s Kindle 2 this week:
After its official unveiling on Feb. 9, the e-book reader started shipping on Monday, and actually managed to grab much–but not all–of the hype that’s surrounded Twitter of late. The device has been met with much acclaim, though it’s by no means unanimous. Jeff Bezos made an appearance on “The Daily Show” Monday night to make his pitch to an as-yet unimpressed Jon Stewart. His main sell? “We’d make it cheaper if we could.” Roy Blount Jr., President of the Authors Guild, isn’t thrilled about the Kindle either, but his objection isn’t price–it’s that he believes the text-to-speech feature on the device threatens the audio book market. Rather than engaging in battle with the Guild, Amazon (AMZN) decided to modify the Kindle’s software to make text-to-speech optional. Meanwhile, the Hearst Corporation announced development of its own “Kindle Kopy” aimed at capturing the newspaper and magazine market. The Kindle 2 itself has been shipping for just a week and it’s already gotten some print media looking over its shoulder. It remains to be seen, though, whether it’ll earn the moniker of “iPod for books.” Walt Mossberg’s comprehensive review of the device this week provided a glimpse into its actual pros and cons and some insight into the Kindle hubbub from a hands-on perspective.
Elsewhere, much of the news this week was about reorganizations in the digital space. BoomTown covered the much-anticipated Yahoo (YHOO) reorg, which was sketched out by CEO Carol Bartz for employees first in a post to the company blog, then elaborated upon in not one, but two, internal memos. Even BoomTown’s attention began to wander there toward the end. Must’ve been something in the water this week, because Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL kicked in a little reorganization of its own–CEO Randy Falco announced that Maneesh Dhir, head of AOL International, would be leaving the company and returning to his entrepreneurial roots, and ad head Greg Coleman announced a reshuffling of his own group. Over at News Corp. (NWS), upon official announcement of President and COO Peter Chernin’s departure, CEO Rupert Murdoch alluded to a reorg sometime in the future, and an immediate commitment to “streamlining” the business.
In Mossberg’s Mailbox this week, Walt answered questions about transferring data to an iPhone, giving Vista a dedicated graphics card, and using TrueSwitch to transfer email accounts when switching ISPs. And in the Mossberg Solution, Katie Boehret took a look at the ways different mobile companies back up your data and give you access to it.
More next week.