Weekend Update 01.16.10–One *%#@ing Year Later Edition, with Carol Bartz
The whole AllThingsD team was shaking off the Consumer Electronics Show haze this week and getting back to business as usual. Just when we thought we’d left the craziness behind, we found ourselves knee-deep in a week of international espionage, network TV nastiness and a certain semiconductor manufacturer makin’ a heap-o-cash. But more on that later.
BoomTown just could not wait for Carol Bartz’s one-year anniversary at Yahoo (YHOO) to roll around so that the judging could commence. Kara and Carol have a famously sordid history, possibly involving both K-Fed and Brangelina. Even with all that history, Kara was pretty complimentary, giving Bartz an A- in the management category and a C+ for financials. It looks like we’ll be able to tune in for the next few days and catch this ongoing judgefest. Kara moved on from the report card to a quick post declaring her love of network TV drama, and not the “Law and Order” kind. The fight over at NBC for late-night supremacy has been more hilarious than Leno or Conan. Maybe the solution is just to put some network execs on screen in that slot. Kara finished out the week with a conversation with recently departed RealNetworks (RNKW) CEO Rob Glaser. No, he isn’t dead, but he has decided to step down to look into other opportunities. Near as we can tell, they may have something to do with woolly mammoths.
Digital Daily was abuzz this week with the headline story of Google Labs adding yet another feature to Gmail. The new foreign policy tab enables Google (GOOG) to make better publicized international relations decisions than the Federal Government (and do so 20 percent faster if you’re running Chrome). Of course, it wasn’t all Google rattling China’s cage this week. John covered the party over at Intel (INTC) after the chip maker announced a blowout Q4. Finally, readers got a taste of capitalism at its best. Now you can get either America’s best network or America’s best smartphone (not both, of course) at a significant price cut. Thanks to pressure from Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) dropped rates on certain calling plans.
Peter hit us with lots of video news this week, starting early with the potential partnership between Vudu and Wal-Mart (WMT). The world’s largest retailer seems to be thinking about getting into the Web TV business, or as it calls it, opening a supercenter in your house. Some might be watching for a rerun of the megaretailer’s failed shot at competing with Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes for music sales, but the Web TV space is wide open, so far. Also on the home entertainment front, Peter reported that it looks like Netflix (NFLX) may get a one-up from Nintendo fairly shortly if it can finalize a deal to add the Japanese game giant’s systems to the list of places you can stream its digital video content. Peter rounded things out with a little foreshadowing that YouTube, the Web video 800-pound gorilla, may be edging its way out of the red. Since acquisition, YouTube has never turned a profit, and Google execs have been muttering that they expect that to change shortly. What’s different this week? An industry analyst finally agrees.
If a moment of Mossberg just isn’t enough for you, then you are in luck this week as team Walt and Katie went all the way with three new installments of gadget wisdom. In Personal Technology, Walt reviewed the Sony Reader Daily Edition. While the big improvement to Sony’s (SNE) previous e-reader offering is the addition of wireless connectivity for remote download of articles and books (think Amazon Kindle’s “Whispernet”), Sony also upped the ante in form factor and interface. Overall, Walt was positive and felt the device was a strong offering. Mossberg’s Mailbox was overflowing this week with all kinds of questions from the Nexus One crowd. Walt picked three gems and clarified some points on measly app storage capacity, cell company coverage maps and the nitty-gritty on synching data between the phones and computers. Katie donned her gaiters and bravely waded into the weeds of search technology to shed some light on a major emerging trend—visual search. Both Google and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing are offering ways to search for things you can’t recall the name of, doing so by comparing images until you get that aha! moment. This stuff is complicated, but head on over to Katie’s article to figure out how it is going to change the search landscape.
Thanks for reading this week. Weekend Update wishes everyone as much good luck as we had making it out of CES Las Vegas alive.
Oh yeah, and a quick note to Siegfried: We may have one of your tigers, and also Roy.