Bankruptcy’s, layoff’s , and dismal financial reports have been headline news for the tech industry recently, but Google as always likes to reminds us that advertising is the place to be.The search giant reported a revenue increase of 18 percent over Q4 2007, and a 3 percent bump compared to Q3 2008. This brings Google’s quarterly revenue to 5.7 billion according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and includes a 1.48 billion dollar traffic-acquisition cost.
"Google performed well in the fourth quarter, despite an increasingly difficult economic environment. Search-query growth was strong, revenues were up in most verticals, and we successfully contained costs," said CEO Eric Schmidt. "It's unclear how long the global downturn will last, but our focus remains on the long term, and we'll continue to invest in Google's core search and ads business as well as in strategic growth areas such as display, mobile and enterprise ."
Google continues to see the majority of its revenue and growth come from its own network of sites. Around 3.81 billion was turned in by the home team which represents a 22 percent growth over 2007. Partner site revenues generated through AdSense came out to 1.69 billion. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it only represents a meager 4 percent increase over 2007. "Online advertising as a whole is doing better than traditional media and, within the online segment, search has been the strongest and most resilient component because it's perceived to deliver the most efficient ROI," Sterling said. "Search has been well established and is being reaffirmed right now as people are try to cut the perceived fat from their marketing budgets."
Microsoft has seen some pretty insane demand for its Windows 7 beta, so much so it couldn’t even keep it’s servers up. Once things finally leveled off Microsoft took the unusual step of removing its download cap of 2.5 million copies, and now they intend to extend the download period from January 24th to February 10th. Microsoft claims that it already has more than enough beta testers to meet its engineering needs, and they intend to prolong the availability of the beta merely to make sure everyone who wants to give it a try gets a chance.
Despite the fact that Microsoft intends to cease downloads on February 10th, those who already began the process will have until the 12th to grab the file off the official servers.For those of you hoping to activate copies of Windows 7 past this date, make sure you save your installation disk. Product keys will continue to be available well past the cutoff date, and activation servers will remain active.
MSDN and TechNet subscribers are unaffected by this announcement and will continue to have unfiltered access to the beta likely until the cut off date in August (though this has not yet been confirmed).
A few weeks back we looked at a change within the RIAA that would see it slowly shift away from pursing copyright infringement in the courts on a case by case basis. We are starting to see some evidence to back this up with the sacking of MediaSentry, but an existing lawsuit that is already underway is looking to set an interesting new precedent. Last Week, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner of Massachusetts granted permission to webcast the copyright infringement trial of Boston University student Joel Tennenbaum. It is believed this will be the first time a U.S. federal court has allowed a live video stream of an active trial.
The RIAA claims that unlike a written transcript, "The broadcast will be readily subject to editing and manipulation by any reasonably tech-savvy individual. Even without improper modification, statements may be taken out of context, spliced together with other statements and broadcast (sic) rebroadcast as if it were an accurate transcript. Such an outcome can only do damage to Petitioner's case."
The RIAA also isn’t thrilled with the fact that the video will be distributed by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This is somewhat understandable when you consider that the center is headed up by Charles Nesson who is also defending Joel Tennenbaum during his trial. "Accordingly, in the name of 'public interest,' the district court has directed the general public to a website replete with propaganda regarding the Defendant's position in connection with this case, and that is specifically designed to promote Defendant's interests in this case," the RIAA wrote.
I doubt I’m going to find many RIAA fan’s here, but do they have a point?
The “Vista Capable” lawsuit has been dragging on for some time now, but it appears a verdict may be fast approaching, and its bad news for Microsoft. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman released figures from the class-action suit which shows that the company stands to lose as much as $8.5 billion dollars. With such a large dollar figure swirling through the investment community, Microsoft instantly went on the defensive by issuing a statement claiming that the estimate is “over inflated”. They also assert that if damages are granted, they are unlikely to be anywhere near this amount.
The 8.5 billion dollar figure was calculated by a University Of Washington economist, and expert witness in the trial. To reach this number he determined the number of “Vista Upgradable” PCs that were sold in the US between April 2006 and January 2007. This essentially covers the period between the start of the marketing campaign and the release of the retail version of the OS. It was established that around 13.75 million laptops and 5.65 million desktop PC’s shipped with the “Vista Capable” designation, but did not live up to the “Premium Ready” requirements. The root of the plaintiff’s argument is that they were cheated as a result of not being able to use the Aero glass interface. As of July 2008 Microsoft had sold 180 million licenses for Vista, but only around 42 million of those were for the basic edition.
As PC enthusiasts we are suckers for OS eye candy, but does this case actually have merit? Your personal feelings on Vista notwithstanding, does the lack of Aero really cripple the rest of the OS enough to justify this kind of settlement?
In our March 2009 issue, we dressed our illustrious Editor-in-Chief up as a one of the ravenous antagonists from our Game of the Year, Valve’s Left 4 Dead.
The transformation from living human to decaying dead took almost two hours, though in the end it made for an amusing, but slightly horrifying, photo shoot. Read on to find out how we managed to turn this famed zombie slayer into one of his victims, or follow along to attempt your own zombie transformation.
As noted by Gizmodo, Windows 7 has made quite a few tweaks to the Windows Experience Index (WEI) first introduced by Windows Vista. For those of you tuning in late, the WEI tests hardware performance of five subsystems (processor, memory, desktop graphics, 3D gaming graphics, and hard disk), calculates a score for each one, and uses the lowest subsystem score as your WEI base score.
Since just after Windows Vista shipped, users of high-performance components, especially graphics cards, have been complaining loudly about Vista's WEI top score being capped at 5.9. While the Minpaso database of Vista WEI scores calculates a "presumption score" to try to make allowances for today's faster hardware, there hasn't been an official move from Microsoft until now. The code jockeys in Redmond heard you, and the top WEI subsystem and base score in Windows 7 is 7.9.
Wondering why the top score changed, and what else is different? Join us after the jump for details.
Nvidia has officially released its Forceware 181.22 WHQL GeForce driver suite just under a week since making the drivers available as beta downloads. The graphics chip maker recommends upgrading to the latest release "for the best GPU PhysX experience in EA's hot PC title Mirror's Edge." Forceware 181.22 WHQL installs the new PhysX system software, now in version 9.09.0010.
Also included with the new driver release is support for Nvidia's latest GPUs, the GTX 295 and GTX 285. Nvidia also claims modest to significant performance boosts in select titles, such as up to 80 percent in Lost Planet: Colonies, up to 38 percent in Far Cry 2, and up to 25 percent in Devil May Cry 4. Several other titles are said to run anywhere from 10 to 18 percent better with the latest Forceware driver.
Steve Ballmer’s luncheon meeting with Yahoo’s chairman Roy Bostock is being seen as a straw in the wind of a possible deal between the companies they serve. The possibility of such a deal has been ostensibly revived with last week’s meeting and the appointment of a new CEO over at Yahoo. But it might not be a great thing for Microsoft, after all.
Microsoft should concentrate on its core business of software, rather then treading Google’s domain – online search advertising, according to Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. In fact, he goes as far as saying that Microsoft should not even be in online advertising being a software company.
He points out that Microsoft’s core business has been ignored for a while and cites Vista and Windows Mobile as emblems of that ignorance. Manjoo finally has some M&A advice for Microsoft: buy Palm for just $1 billion or $2 billion instead of Yahoo - and its plethora of problems - for tens of billions.
Palm’s upcoming Pre is being tipped as the iPhone killer - that everyone is so desperately dying to encounter. Its interface does not appear to be a mere reinvention of the iPhone wheel, and may just be at the vanguard of mobile phone technology. On the other hand, Windows Mobile is a touch quaint compared to other mobile operating systems. So you can see why Microsoft’s unofficial M&A advisor believes that Palm may prove to be a better buy than Yahoo.
Despite a struggling economy, the worldwide PC market continues to grow, which is largely the result of mini-notebooks. The immense popularity in low-cost netbooks has also favored Intel, whose Atom CPUs contributed to record growth in the processor market in Q3 2008. But are consumers truly happy buying underpowered ultraportable PCs? According to a study by Biz360, an information-services company, customer satisfaction is falling short of the sales growth.
"The results of the analysis indicate that there is a lot of opportunity for improvement across the board for Netbook products," Biz360 concludes. "Netbook manufacturers also face a significant challenge with consumers whose expectations are based on years of desktop pc usage."
Surprisingly, Biz360 found that Acer ranks lowest in Net Advocacy (Biz360's proprietary metric that factors the positive and negative sentiment of individual comments), despite being the top seller in Q4 2008. Acer's Aspire one series had a 34 percent lower Net Advocacy than the average for all laptop brands.
Not so suprisingly, the number one complaint against netbooks has to do with performance, in which Biz360 found opinions to be "predominately negative."
You can already get hitched online, so why not webcast your funeral when you're dead and gone? More and more funeral homes have started offering such a service, making it possible for out-of-towners unable to make the trip to still attend a loved one's funeral, while simultaneously checking the latest sports scores in another tab (just the way Firefox envisioned it).
One such funeral home offering live (dead?) webcasts is Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service. The company first started streaming funeral services to families with relatives serving in the military, and now anyone can sign up at the any of the company's 11 locations. To prevent just anyone from watching the service, viewers must enter a password 15 minutes before it starts.
The Schoedinger funeral home says its webcasts have been popular and expects other funeral homes to follow suit. The practice has also attracted the attention of webcasting companies, who offer packages to funeral homes consisting of tripods, cameras with microphones, cables, and other webcasting necessities.