Apple was engaged in a bidding war with Google when it acquired music service Lala, The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported on Friday. That helps to explain why Apple agreed to pay $85 million, a sum that I (and others) believed was far too much for a down-on-its-luck start-up.
The video game industry just keeps on seeing its sales numbers decline, in spite of a huge month for Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the crucial holiday month of November was no different than the last nine months of 2009. For the month, according to industry analyst The NPD Group, sales across the entire video game business were $2.7 billion, down 7.6 percent from $2.92 billion a year earlier.
Yet, NPD added, industry-wide sales were so high in 2008 that even despite this November's significant drop, the month was still the second-best … Read more
Got a case of information overload? You're not alone.
A study released Wednesday from the University of California, San Diego, reports that the average American consumes a whopping 34GB of data and 100,000 words of information per day.
Over the course of 2008, Americans as a group gobbled up 3.6 zettabytes of data. (In case you missed the definition of "zettabyte" in your daily data binging, that's a million million gigabytes.) For all you visual learners out there, the researchers helpfully point out that 3.6 zettabytes is equal to the "information in … Read more
On Tuesday morning, the Obama administration formally unveiled its Open Government directive, an effort aimed at weaving the philosophies of openness, transparency and participation into the DNA of the federal government and its agencies.
That directive comes as a direct result of President Barack Obama's first executive action, on January 21, only hours after the hoopla from his inaugural parade and parties had died down, when the new chief executive issued the so-called Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.
That document, which began, "My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government," was … Read more
The Obama administration on Tuesday officially unveiled its Open Government directive, a document that charges each federal agency with making high value data publicly available and with quickly coming up with formal open government plans.
The announcement follows up on President Obama's first executive act--the issuing on January 21 of his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. That document set forth, among other things, that, "We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government." … Read more
Google is turning its sights squarely on the local ad market, with plans to promote its local business listings in storefronts around the U.S.
Stickers bearing Google's logo and a QR code have been distributed to 100,000 of the most popular businesses in Google's Local Business Center database, and starting this week consumers will be able to use code-scanning applications on modern phones to look up the Google listing for that particular restaurant, store, or dry cleaner. The stickers will be prominently displayed in store windows of participating businesses, and represent a shot across the bow … Read more
Google has added a few new features in hopes of attracting more users to Google Finance, blending financial stories from Google News right into the mix.
Yahoo owns the online financial information market with Yahoo Finance (rated first in its category by ComScore with 22 million unique visitors in September), but Google is trying to carve out a niche for itself by adding a so-called "real time" stream of news to Google Finance pages. On the main Google Finance page, users can now click on a news tab that brings up what appears to be a constantly updated … Read more
Yahoo is bringing Facebook into just about all of its Web sites, allowing users to update their Facebook status and share news items with friends right from the Yahoo page.
The company announced the integration of Facebook Connect across several key Yahoo Web sites including Mail, News, Sports, and Finance. The idea is to drive even more readers to Yahoo's network of sites--the second largest in the U.S.--by making it easier for them to share things they like with their Facebook friends, some of whom may not have seen the Yahoo item otherwise.
Yahoo already offers … Read more
Another e-tailer criticized by federal lawmakers two weeks ago for profiting from "misleading" and "deceptive" marketing practices appears to be rethinking its position.
VistaPrint, an online printing company, announced Monday it has "terminated its contract" with Vertrue, a so-called post-transaction marketing company that has come under scrutiny along with competitors Affinion and Webloyalty. This summer, the U.S. Senate Commerce committee began looking into scores of consumer complaints about the marketers--some going back years.
VistaPrint said in a statement that the company's contract with Vertrue ends December 20.
The three Connecticut-based marketing firms … Read more
I love tools that are all about providing people with information they want, and on Tuesday, the video game industry's official ratings board got my attention with something awfully useful.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) announced on Tuesday its new iPhone app, which is designed to put the board's full written summaries of more than 2,500 video games right at parents' fingertips.
The idea is that with the app--officially called ESRB Rating, and available now, for free, in Apple's App Store--parents can punch in the name of any game rated by the board after July … Read more