tech in the spotlight
Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 8, 2013 11:16 AM
The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's now underway in Las Vegas is not only the world's biggest trade show, but a snapshot of how the fast-moving world of technology innovation is impacting sectors. Witness automotive, such as Ford's just-announced mobile partnerships to enhance the brand's in-car connectivity platform as part of a bigger CES push by car manufacturers this year.
CES is also a soapbox for competitors to one-up one another as they spit out product announcements and flaunt new alliances. This year, the rivalry is particularly fierce in the web TV/digital streaming arena.
"As new Internet TV players look to invade the living room, some cable and satellite operators are stepping up their embrace of Web technology to jazz up aging interfaces and head off subscriber defections, the Wall Street Journal reports from the show.
CES attendees include DirecTV and Dish Network on the satellite side, Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) touting Telco TV, and U.S. multi-system operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are at CES to recast themselves as web TV purveyors and shake off the dreaded "cable operator" moniker. No wonder the U.S. National Cable & Telecommunications Association is reportedly considering dropping "cable" and rebranding to the U.S. Internet and Television Association (but, oddly, keeping the NCTA acronym).
AT&T's U-verse platform is introducing "Screen Pack," a $5 per month addition to existing subscriptions which enables customers to stream some 1,500 on-demand movies. AT&T plans to add more content in the future in an effort to thwart the flood of video streaming competitors in the space.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 13, 2012 09:04 AM
Google releases new map app for Apple iPhone, shuts down shopping search in China, and makes porn harder to find, as CEO defends tax avoidance.
Apple settles European e-book price-fixing probe with publishers.
Applebee's interviews creator of #HireKevin campaign.
BMW and Boeing plan to collaborate on making carbon fiber.
Barclays joins industry cost-cutting wave, eliminating 2,000 jobs.
Berkshire Hathaway plans rare buyback of holder's stock.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2012 06:04 PM
Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier was honored in June with the “Good Scout” Award by Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council. Frazier grew up in North Philadelphia and credits scouting as instrumental in his life. Now Frazier, the first African American to head a major pharmaceutical company, is turning his back on the organization until it reverses its discriminatory policies.
Now Frazier and Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, have joined the growing wave of corporate leaders taking a stand against discrimination towards gay scouts and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.
As GLAAD notes of the corporate backlash to the Boy Scouts' anti-LGBT stance, Merck joins Intel and UPS with the following statement: “The BSA's policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. The Foundation re-evaluated funding for the BSA when the organization restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. Merck Foundation has notified the BSA of this decision.”
Boy Scouts of America director of public relations, Deron Smith, provided the following statement to brandchannel: “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good. While not national sponsors, these companies have positively impacted America’s youth through support of Scouting in local communities. We respect their right to express their own opinions.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on December 4, 2012 11:37 AM
Forget emailing your list to Santa this season. Verizon's FiOS broadband service is sponsoring a free video chat service with the jolly old guy himself, along with the chance to win a $200 gift card. See the trailer below, along with an important bulletin from the North Pole (and Motorola).Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 30, 2012 09:02 AM
Facebook details ding Zynga shares as partnership ends.
CNN needs more vibrancy in programming, incoming CEO Jeff Zucker says.
Lipitor generic cholesterol pill production halted by Ranbaxy following glass contamination.
Amazon tops Walmart with wealthy Americans, study says.
AT&T named best 4G network in Consumer Reports annual ranking, but places last for voice/text quality to #1 Verizon.
Chevrolet partners with Dailybreak for holiday push.
Chuck E. Cheese sees revamped mascot lose consumer appeal.
Cool Whip breaks new ground with frosting.
Duke Energy forces out CEO in settlement.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 15, 2012 12:06 PM
Back in January 2011, Starbucks became the first national retailer to offer its own mobile payment technology combined with a loyalty program. It led to more than 100 million mobile transactions occurring in its U.S. stores since the launch.
Now, in a move to push mobile commerce even further, Starbucks is accepting payments in some 7,000 retail locations via Square, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's mobile payment app for iOS and Android smartphones. In addition to laying out cash for that latte, users of Square Wallet can browse menu information and store hours, gain access to their transaction history, and even explore nearby businesses. Since Square Wallet is linked to a debit or credit card, there's never a need to reload a balance, and a digital receipt appears instantly.
It's not only been a huge boost for the Square brand (as Dorsey tweeted, "Immensely proud of the teams at Square and Starbucks: 7,000 stores launched 3 months TO THE DAY after signing the deal. #nailedit"). The announcement by Starbucks seems to come at a time of increased activity that could make 2013 the year of mass adoption of mobile payment technology. Indeed, Dorsey this week announced that "Square is now facilitating over $10 billion of commerce annually for small businesses across the US. Up $2 billion in just 2 months."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 7, 2012 01:08 PM
Japanese technology giant Softbank's $20 billion takeover of Sprint is already proving to be an uphill battle. Sprint reported that it lost 423,000 U.S. subscribers from July 1 to Sept. 30, while only gaining 19,000 non-contract subscribers, the smallest number in over three years. That churn contributed to Sprint losing $767 million in the quarter, compared to a $301 million loss for the same period a year ago.
The downward spiral for Sprint was even more obvious in comparison to its two main competitors, Verizon Wireless, which added 1.8 million subscribers, and AT&T, which added 228,000 subscribers. In addition, Verizon Wireless and AT&T saw a spike in iPhone 5 sales while Sprint's activation of iPhones in Q3 was flat. Ironically, the 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Sprint first among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 U.S. industries, during the last four years.
In an attempt to shore up its flagging business, Sprint is acquiring PCS broadband spectrum and customers in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio from smaller wireless competitor U.S. Cellular for $480 million. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse stated that "Acquiring this spectrum will significantly increase Sprint's network capacity and improve the customer experience in several important Midwest markets including Chicago and St. Louis." Even though U.S. Cellular is exiting the Chicago market, its brand name will remain on the city's U.S. Cellular Field stadium and it will maintain its corporate headquarters in the market.
Being acquired by Softbank means Sprint, meanwhile, will officially shed the Nextel part of its corporate name.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2012 09:04 AM
Google Nexus NYC tablet launch delayed by Hurricane Sandy, sells out online.
Pearson and Bertelsmann strike deal to combine Penguin and Random House publishing houses, thwarting News Corp.
Honda cuts full-year outlook over anti-Japan sentiment in China.
Audi repeats goal to match 2011 operating profit in 2012.
British Airways launches customer recognition program.
Burger King third-quarter net income falls, still beats estimates.
Burt's Bees "deflakes" with billboard and video campaign.
Cadillac raises prices in bid for luxury credibility.Continue reading...