The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit confirmed a lower court’s ruling that Dish Network’s Hopper, a DVR that automatically skips commercials when playing back recorded content, does not violate copyright law. Whether or not the decision is appealed, this case will produce a landmark ruling.
Archive for the 'Industry News' Category
It’s a common belief: if you raise prices then income will also increase. But this isn’t always true. Earlier this year, Netflix, the DVD and streaming movie provider known for it’s affordable prices, made some changes to its pricing structure. They lost 800,000 customers as a result. Their stock price plunged, and they may be in the red for most of the next year.
Heavy flooding in Thailand is going to cause a short-term drop in the supply of hard drives, so expect prices to increase as demand goes up.
Update: Slashdot has an article with more information.
I’ve read horror stories of elderly people who’ve paid thousands of dollars to rent their phones from the phone company (dating from the breakup of AT&T back in the 1980s). Well, it appears that AOL is making money from a similar situation. According to an article in The New Yorker (subscription required) by Ken Auletta, 75 percent of AOL subscribers are paying a $25/month dial-up fee despite the fact that they have DSL or cable internet. If correct, these overpayments add up to $1 billion each year. And as with the phone rentals mentioned above, these customers tend to be elderly.
Netflix is known for sending movies through the mail, but now more and more of its business is done via online streaming. From the linked article: “Three years ago we [Netflix] were a DVD-by-mail company that offered some streaming. We are very proud to announce that by every measure we are now a streaming company, which also offers DVD-by-mail.” To get a grasp on just how big this is, a recent study by Sandvine found that Netflix is responsible for 20% of downstream internet traffic during certain peak periods. And the folks at Netflix, being no dummies and seeing the future for what it is, have made it easier to access content from game consoles.
Several national governments are taking exception to the high level of security provided to Blackberry users. These governments want to be able to intercept and read messages from their citizens, but the Blackberry security protocols are just too good. And the manufacturer, Research In Motion (RIM), isn’t willing to degrade the security. As a result, the United Arab Emirates has decided to suspend several Blackberry services within its borders, and other countries are considering following suit, including India and Lebanon. An imminent shutoff in Saudi Arabia was averted only after RIM agreed to set up a local server in that country.
All I can say is that I’m grateful the founders of our country insisted on the First Amendment.
Update #1: Looks like everything’s going to be okay after all.
Update #2: RIM has come to an agreement with India, where they hand over the encryption keys and an infrastructure was created to intercept Blackberry messages.
Bill Snyder of InfoWorld has written a scathing article about Dell and its decline from once being the gold standard of customer service. Knowingly selling defective computers is not the best way to retain a loyal customer base, but that’s only a symptom of systematic changes in how the company does business.
I was concerned to learn that Oracle will be purchasing Sun Microsystems, especially since Sun owns MySQL, a direct competitor of Oracle’s database software. MySQL is very popular, and I’m not sure what would happen if Oracle should decide to discontinue it.
Update: The acquisition has been approved Sun’s stockholders, so now the purchase is waiting on regulatory approval.
For many years now, chip maker AMD has been the only real competitor to Intel, but more recently AMD has not been able to keep up. On Oct. 7th, AMD announced it will split into two companies, one to design chips and the other to fabricate them. Supposedly this will keep them competitive, but let’s take the move for what it really is—a desperate attempt to keep up with Intel. I hope it works.
Computer retailer CompUSA will be going out of business after the 2007 year-end holiday season. Be on the lookout for discounts and sale prices.
Advertisers are moving away from the tech print media and towards blogs—in large part because the blogs are more specialized, thus allowing ads to be better targeted.
On May 16th, Engadget posted a blog entry stating there would be significant delays for upcoming Apple products. Seven minutes later, massive sell-offs caused Apple’s stock to drop by over $4 a share, reducing its market capitalization by $4 billion. Here at Chad’s News, we monitor Engadget on a weekly basis for stories of interest, but I had no idea they were –that– influential. What’s worse, however, is that their source (an email from inside Apple) turned out to be a hoax. The email was from within Apple’s mail system, but the facts were incorrect.
Note that the two stories below differ in their facts by about a dollar of stock price drop, so you be the judge.