Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update 5.09.09

brangieIt was like a liveblogging tournament this past week–one that included a lot of the big players but ended in a three-way tie.

According to BoomTown’s reliable sources, the elusive Microsoft (MSFT)-Yahoo (YHOO) deal is making “meaningful” progress. Accordingly, BoomTown wondered whether Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer planned on visiting Carol Bartz, Yahoo CEO, on his trip to the Bay Area this week or if the proximity of Stanford to Yahoo was just chance, given that Stanford was his main destination. At least one of his reasons for being in the area was to give a talk at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium for the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar. BoomTown liveblogged the session and attempted to determine Ballmer’s soul-mate status. Given some of the acquisition rumors flying around this week, BoomTown decided to conduct a little experiment. Would the same sort of “Brangelina”-esque mystique apply as well to the combination of two incredibly hot tech companies? Would it create the same hysteria, and sell as many magazines (figuratively speaking)? (Non) results on BoomTown.

MediaMemo had a Kindle-ish kind of week. Amazon (AMZN) unveiled the latest iteration of the device on Wednesday in New York, and MediaMemo was there to liveblog the whole thing, including the crazy demo, during which the location’s facilities prevented Jeff Bezos from demoing pretty much anything. Also, Bezos forget to mention the fact that Amazon will be conducting a Kindle pilot program at six colleges starting this fall. Forget about getting your hands on one, though–only five students per school will be carrying their textbooks around in a Kindle instead of a backpack. MediaMemo’s advice for cash-strapped students once the devices do become available? Wait three years until the price drops. $489 is a lot to shell out on a student’s budget.

News Corp.’s (NWS) Rupert Murdoch had some news this week during the company’s earnings call (besides earnings)–he believes that while the state of the economy is still dire, “the worst Is over.” He also noted that although he plans to extend WSJ’s online pay model to his strongest properties soon, News Corp. will not be selling any of its content via the Kindle, as some of its competitors will. All this and more on MediaMemo.

On Thursday, Digital Daily liveblogged a press event hosted by Google (GOOG) in advance of its annual shareholder meeting. Some of the topics covered? Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL, the econalypse, YouTube, netbooks, China, antitrust issues and the Apple (AAPL) Board. CEO Eric Schmidt was most forthcoming about the Federal Trade Commission’s just-opened inquiry into Google and Apple’s overlapping boards: When asked if he’d resign from the board, he replied that the thought “hasn’t crossed his mind.” Elsewhere, Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison probably ruined a few people’s mornings over at IBM (IBM) and HP (HPQ) when he told a Reuters reporter that part of his plan for Sun (JAVA) is to create an integrated hardware and software solution, effectively making their competition a little bit steeper. As such, it will be extra interesting to see how the little matter of Sun and a possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act plays itself out in the courts. Details on Digital Daily.

Over in Personal Technology, Walt Mossberg reviewed Quickoffice, a program that brings some full-fledged word processing capabilities to the iPhone, but has its limitations. In Mossberg’s Mailbox, Walt answered questions about using Macs and PCs together on the same home network, backing up and transferring Outlook Express data and whether it’s possible to find a GPS program for the iPhone that will speak its directions. In the Mossberg Solution this week, Katie Boehret reviewed the Sidekick LX and found it a little out of touch with its market. More in-depth discussion, of course, on the section of the site containing Walt’s columns.

More next week. RIP Dom Deluise.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work