Microsoft is still a behemoth but I think they’re taking all the wrong approaches for many of their biggest products like Windows, Office, and Xbox. This is all my opinion of course, they can do whatever the F they want to do.
So not too long ago, Gap unveiled its new logo and brand identity, only to recently just switch back in response to overwhelmingly negative public response.
Personally I think the new logo is horrible and like the old logo much better. They switched to plain Helvetica font and a little blue gradient box in the top right. Their reasoning was that this logo change reflected a more modern, updated brand image. Apparently no one likes it though, and the logo got a real bashing online, particularly in the design community.
WordPress is an open-source content management system for websites that I use very often for my personal projects and client work. In fact, it powers this site as well. Recently there was a very contentious and public spat between Matt Mullenweg (original co-developer and primary frontman for WordPress and CEO of Automattic) and Chris Pearson (developer of Thesis, a commercial WordPress theme). The argument was over whether Thesis should be at least be partially licensed under the GPL (the license WordPress uses). I’m not going to rehash all the stuff that was said but my opinion is that yes, WordPress themes and plugins are GPL.
I recently used Xoom.com to send money abroad and had a very frustrating experience. I used Xoom because it was cheaper and more convenient than doing an international wire transfer at my bank. I actually used a coupon code that waived the $9.99 credit card transaction fee as well. For convenience and my privacy, let’s just say I sent $20. Without the transaction fee, I should be charged $20, but instead a $49.98 charge showed up on my credit card. That’s an extra $19.98, which looks like they double-charged that transaction fee.
Twitter recently took a $100 million investment, valuing the company at $1 billion. Twitter makes no money and has yet to figure out any kind of business model. And even if it does, it’s definitely not going to have revenue worthy of a $1 billion valuation anytime soon. I’d argue Twitter is another online fad that’s going to come and go. Oh NO he didnt… yes, I just did.
I think the guys at 37signals feel the same way.
Bandwidth caps are bad for consumers, plain and simple. It’s simply a way to squeeze more money out of consumers while the cable company’s costs are largely fixed. Granted, they’re only expanding to a few select markets (including Rochester, NY), but they’ll be crazy to do this in any market where they actually have competition like Verizon FiOS. As for Verizon, they’re not doing bandwidth caps because they need to gain market share against the cable companies, not because they’re the good guy. Verizon is spending a lot of money building out fiber networks and are heavily dependent on subscriber growth. They need to be taking customers away from cable companies and see this is a competitive advantage. Trust me, if Verizon FiOS were very well established, they’d be considering bandwidth caps too.
So Yahoo officially announced that its talks with Microsoft have concluded they have once again failed to reach any kind of deal. There are reports that Yahoo may soon announce a search deal with Google. They’ll basically be outsourcing search to Google. Throwing away a core competency key to its long-term success for short-term gain. In my eyes I feel like Yahoo really botched this whole thing.
I find that often with mid-sized businesses on up, there’s a lot of wasted time and lost productivity, mainly due to multiple layers of management and departments. Things like status meetings and conference calls are held to update a bunch of people who add no value and can’t contribue to the process or task at hand. Those very same people don’t understand technical details but insist on being updated on them, even when said details won’t help them in decision-making. I often see excessive micro-management. Or maybe it’s just too much adherence to the status quo and traditional way of doing things in corporate environments. Or maybe it’s just incompetence.
New York recently enacted a new tax law that requires Internet-based retailers to collect sales tax from customers based in New York. The tax has been informally dubbed the “Amazon Tax”. If you do any kind of online shopping you know that most of the time you don’t get charged sales tax on your purchases. The times that you do, it’s because the retailer has a physical location in New York. While the retailers don’t charge you sales tax, we’re actually supposed to report purchases made online on our state tax returns and pay sales tax. But no one ever does this and it’s hard to enforce.
So TechCrunch recently reported that Digg is looking to be acquired. Note that this is not official and is an unconfirmed report. Among the parties bidding on Digg are Microsoft and Google. I think it’s about time and if Digg doesn’t sell soon, it’s going to have to lower its expectations more and more. Honestly, apart from their “algorithm” which can easily be reproduced or emulated, there’s nothing special about Digg other than its large user base. That in itself is not a unique advantage. Yahoo just released a similar site called Buzz and I think Yahoo can find ways to leverage its massive user base and channel traffic through Buzz.