Business and Tech Links and Notes #7

January 13, 2010

1-13-10

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a4tjrm_Hz8xI&pos=1

“Google’s China Exit Would Put Baidu in Charge of Biggest Market”

Google really has little to lose by leaving China, and Baidu has plenty to gain. Although China is a large country, Google never really made that much money from the Chinese. I think a (if not the) major reason why Google is leaving China is because the cyber attacks prove how little incentive Google has to stay in China. Why market to an audience that gives little in the way of income and plenty in the way of headaches? Google has tried over the years to appease the Chinese government, but China’s censorship policies really put a damper on Google’s business model. I think Google’s desire to leave has little to do with principles and everything to do with money.

2. http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/01/13/jackpot-how-much-contestants-really-take-home-in-game-show-winn/

“Jackpot? How much contestants really take home in game show winnings”

The only thing that really annoyed me about this article was the mention about annuities and how they are worth less if contestants take lump sums instead. The author never mentioned anything about the net present value of money or inflation. In reality, the lump sum may very well be worth more than the annuity, depending on the strength of the currency of the annuity. Moreover, lump sums can be invested earlier than annuities, creating more opportunities to make even more money.

3. http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/lg-bets-android-despite-windows-mobile-deal-829

“LG bets on Android despite Windows Mobile deal”

LG excels in selling basic, inexpensive phones to people who have little need for advanced mobile features. Although mobile computing is gaining popularity, there are still many people who simply desire to have a mobile phone without too many bells and whistles. Although LG should build up its smartphone division, I think LG should milk the low-end market for all that it can. I think LG would be best served to hold up on getting too aggressive with smartphones and wait for a clear winner in the mobile software competition before committing too many resources.

4. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10434237-36.html?tag=newsLeadStoriesArea.1

“In urgent times, avoiding online charity scams”

I think the big thing to take out of this article is to give to someone reputable and not let emotions get in the way of good common sense. In the social networking age, anyone and everyone is suddenly a charity, and it is sometimes very difficult to tell who is for real and who is not. Like the article says, giving a basic donation to the Red Cross, UNICEF, and so forth is the best way to make sure the money is actually going to help disaster victims.

5. http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/antivirus/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222300863

“Facebook Partners With McAfee For Security”

This is a wonderful idea. Although I have a personal preference toward other antivirus companies, I think in an age where every John and Jane has a Facebook, malware protection needs to be a top priority. In particular, a number of people on social networking sites have limited knowledge or interest in computers beyond the use of those sites. For those people, Facebook’s blatant show on Internet security may prompt them to be more careful about viruses and such. Malware is not only a danger to one person’s computer, but it can endanger the computers of anyone that person associates with.

6. http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Wii-Completes-Netflixs-Video-Game-Trifecta-69097.html

“Wii Completes Netflix’s Video Game Trifecta”

This is another example of integrated entertainment. The video game console becomes a means of getting movies on demand. Personally, I am just waiting for all of entertainment to become part of the cloud, and then a person’s media console (TV + computing device) will allow users to watch all live and recorded audio and video media, as well as play video games. Like all consolidation concepts though, the biggest flaw is when something goes wrong with the unit. If the unit can do more things, if that unit breaks, a person is left without being able to do more things that were left for that unit to do. Regardless, this comment had only secondary specific relevance to the article, but it is the first thing that comes to mind whenever I read about these kinds of things.

7. http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=29392&tag=content;col1

“IT spending in U.S. to jump 6.6 percent in 2010; Will the optimism stick?”

I think IT spending will go up this year, due to the fact that the U.S. has to innovate to keep ahead of the world market in tech. We have outsourced so many of our less glamorous IT jobs that the only way we can remain competitive is to continue building new technologies. In particular, not only cloud computing and Windows 7, like the article mentions, but mobile technology as well, will be at the forefront of software developers’ minds in the coming year. In other words, I believe the optimism will stick, kind of like a forced march.


Business and Tech Links and Notes #3

January 6, 2010

1-6-10

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aRLrsdwRkcB4&pos=1

“ADP Says U.S. Companies Cut Estimated 84,000 Jobs (Update2)”

This is not encouraging news. I know some news agencies may try to spin this as positive news, considering fewer jobs were lost lately than in previous months of the recession. But this shows economic upturn only to corporations, if anyone at all. Consumer spending will still fall, because more people are going to be out of work and be unable to afford as many goods. 10.1% is a horrible unemployment rate for the United States; until it drops to about 7-8%, enough that noticeable change is happening to the average person, I do not think people on Main Street will have increasing confidence in our economy.

2. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWj75b2VIbn8&pos=5

“Intel Vulnerable as Consumers Shift to Phones to Browse the Web”

I really do not think Intel has a lot to worry about here. It is true that handheld devices are skyrocketing in popularity, but these devices have not the same, exact capabilities of PCs yet. For example, I have yet to see a handheld device where you could reliably use MS Office or something similar. If such a handheld device exists that has any functionality with such programs at all, one certainly cannot efficiently type papers and spreadsheets with it. Moreover, I have yet to see handheld devices that can play high-end video games (e.g. World of Warcraft) or use high-end applications (e.g. Photoshop). Even if handheld devices get browsing dominance and even if there are major advances in cloud computing, I still think handheld devices have a long way to go to be able to have dominance over all computing tasks.

3. http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/04/china-consumer-marketing-leadership-managing-rein.html

“How To Sell To The Chinese in 2010”

I kind of agree with the idea that the Chinese will pay for safe, quality products, but only to an extent. Like someone in the comments section of the article said, it all depends on if the consumers can afford higher quality goods. There is a high percentage of impoverished Chinese who can barely afford the basic necessities of life, and when they buy anything at all, they have to buy whatever they can afford. I do believe the more Americanized, affluent Chinese buy premium foreign goods when they can, but that does not help those who cannot afford those goods.

4. http://www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/franchisingyourbusinesscolumnistmarksiebert/article204188.html

“The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Franchising”

This article just seemed like common sense to me. The moral of the story is simply that an entrepreneur should not attempt tasks that he or she is not qualified to undertake. Furthermore, failing these tasks could have grave circumstances. Are many entrepreneurs really that short-sighted? It just seems obvious to me that someone should leave some parts of expanding a business to professionals who have experience in averting financial and legal disasters. There are some tasks that cannot be done on a “learn as you go” basis, because a single mistake can be way too costly.

5. http://www.entrepreneur.com/money/financing/venturecapital/article204198.html

“4 Common Venture Capital Myths”

I do not know much at all about the ins and outs of raising venture capital, so this was a good article for me to read. I know that it is very difficult to get venture capital and that companies will try many other ways to raise capital before resorting to that, simply due to how difficult it is to get. It makes sense to me that venture capitalists will want significant control over the company, since their money is just as much on the line as that of the founders and investors. It also just makes sense that any venture capital is good venture capital, regardless of how much and from whom, since money is the most important thing to a business.

6. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10426368-17.html?tag=newsLatestHeadlinesArea.0

“Nielsen: You sure have a lot of TVs”

I was not surprised in the least to hear that so many people have four or more TVs in their households. We live in a society where people nearly worship television. What I found to be a far more interesting part of the article was the mention of how the newest technology is infiltrating the mainstream, while people still watch the overwhelming majority of their video media on television. My belief is that video media technology will further consolidate to the point that one day, not in the too distant future, the average person will tune into their integrated media set, and be able to watch online videos as well as television media in a smooth, seamless fashion. Obviously, one who is technologically savvy can already watch YouTube with the help of a PlayStation3, but I am thinking about something much simpler.

7. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10425553-17.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0

“First dedicated 3D networks coming to TV”

This is the worst idea I have heard in a long time. Seriously, why would anyone actually pay money for this? There may be a few people who think this is an interesting idea and would like to maybe watch a few shows with 3D glasses, but I cannot see people willing to shell out significant amounts of money to pay for such a gimmick. Once 3D technology gets to the hologram stage, people may be more inclined to spend money on that, but even then, I have my doubts.