I gave it a short try and found that overall it is a competent start. It's not a significant step beyond iTunes in terms of functionality or usability (more on that in a moment), though it's price/quality ratio is very good: 89-99 cents for 256kbps bit rate, DRM-free MP3s. Albums vary a lot in price, from a bit over $4 to $8.99 so … Read more
Now here's an innovation: "music on demand," in the truest sense of the meaning. Radiohead, the juggernauts of intelligentsia rock, announced that they will give away their new album "In Rainbows" as a download for whatever price consumers are willing to pay. The band is free to sell the new album directly from the official website because it is no longer tied to a record label. So far, the album is only available to pre-order, but it can be downloaded when released on October 10.
It's not the first time that an artist or … Read more
Management's focus on innovation comes and goes in cycles. Right now, it is all the rage again (although it remains to be seen if that's still the case as innovation budgets may be cut when the looming recession hits the US), and the business press is covering it all across the board. Managing innovation is one of the most critical tasks companies face, and yet it remains one of the biggest challenges. Not only do companies need to come up with new ideas, but they also need to nurture a culture that consistently encourages and rewards innovation. If … Read more
Dish TV satellite company Echostar is buying Sling Media, makers of the innovative Slingbox, for $380m in a classic corporate behemoth acquires startup story. Will Sling be able to maintain its quirky, innovative persona?
The Slingbox is one of those devices that is rather difficult to explain what it does and how it does it to someone unfamiliar with the concept. It's a convergent device - a tight integration of hardware and software - which has been very well executed right from the get-go. Like TiVo before it, it immediately nailed the user experience for a brand new product … Read more
Steve Jobs shows no signs of retiring any time soon, but Jess McMullin, who runs the great Business+Design blog, thinks ahead and pre-emptively wraps his head around Apple's succession planning. In an open letter to the Apple board, he urges the directors to consider Jonathan Ive, Apple's SVP of industrial design, as Jobs' successor, if need be. (Mullin was obviously inspired by Bruce Nussbaum's "CEOs Must Be Designers, Not Just Hire Them" post several months ago.)
And yet--a designer as CEO? (Wearing the marketing hat for a renowned design consultancy, I am posing this … Read more
It's not the most innovative name but the concept may be revolutionary. Metaplace, a virtual community that is currently being tested for launch in spring 2008, was one of the most talked about start-ups at the TechCrunch40 Conference. The new platform allows anyone to build a virtual world from scratch -- for the web or even mobile applications -- without any programming knowledge. Like other virtual communities such as Second Life, There, Entropia Universe, or World of Warcraft, the Metaplace worlds can be used for gaming, socializing, and e-commerce. And they come with the usual community features: forums, user … Read more
There are many pundits who herald Apple for its "convergence strategy:" iTunes is on more than 300 million computers, Apple TV has been launched, and the iPhone has emerged as the most talked about new consumer electronic device in history and is expected to fuel the launch of more all-in-one gadgets from competing consumer electronic makers. Convergence is -- once again -- all the rage.
But what does convergence exactly mean? Let's try a very simplified overview. First of all, there is the media convergence between the worlds of telecoms, TV, Internet, and computing, including fixed-mobile convergence, … Read more
With widgets hailed as the "next small thing" for advertising, and newspapers going "widget-happy", it was about time Google expanded the beta release of its new Google Gadget Ads to advertisers worldwide. Google Gadget Ads are interactive ads that contain rich media capabilities. They can contain data feeds, images and videos, plus they can be developed in Flash and HTML. The Gadget Ads will run on Google's content network, and the pricing model will be both cost-per-click and cost-per-impression.
Tim posted below on this blog about the new generation of social-networking sites and whether they can attract another round of users. (What are we on now, the third generation since Friendster launched in 2002? These things have almost as short generational cycles as fruit flies!)
As he rightly points out, there are many incentives but also challenges to bringing out a social network at this point in time. It's similar in some ways to the challenges faced by serialized TV shows that came in the wave after 24 and Lost.
Serialized shows where a story arc crosses over … Read more
Mash, Yahoo's way of quietly saying farewell to Yahoo 360, is at first glance a somewhat uninspired attempt to catch up with Facebook. Even the name is boring--Mash. Don't mix it up, by the way, with Mosh, Nokia's mobile networking site (currently in beta) and Mashable, the social-networking blog. Mash (invite-only as of now) looks like a cross between Facebook, MySpace and Netvibes--and it also has a bit of wiki DNA: Anyone you grant permissions to can edit your profile or add modules they think are relevant to your profile. Besides that, nothing new.
To be … Read more