Description: Every year, the internet gets a little less fair. The corporations that run it get a little bigger, their power grows more concentrated, and a bit of their idealism gives way to ruthless pragmatism.
Date:May 3. 2017
This column is nominally about network neutrality, the often sleep-inducing debate about the rules that broadband companies like Comcast and AT&T must follow when managing their networks. But really, this is a story about ballooning corporate power.
At the moment, the internet isn’t in a good place. The Frightful Five — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — control nearly everything of value in the digital world, including operating systems, app stores, browsers, cloud storage infrastructure, and oceans of data from which to spin new products. A handful of others — Comcast, AT&T, Verizon — control the wired and wireless connections through which all your data flows. People used to talk about the internet as a wonderland for innovative upstarts, but lately the upstarts keep getting clobbered. Today the internet is gigantic corporations, all the way down.read rest of story
1. What is Network Neutrality?
2. What are the pros and cons of network neutrality?
Description: Apple, Amazon, and Google say their virtual helpers—Siri, Alexa, and the less snappily named Google Assistant—can make our lives easier by acting on our commands to book cabs, order pizza, or check the weather.
Date: May 31, 2016
But like all the other free-to-use goodies that tech giants offer up, these new personal assistants must also earn their keep. The companies aren’t saying much about exactly how their automated personas can boost their bottom lines, but they have clear potential to open up new lines of revenue. Perhaps most important, they could significantly increase the data that companies have on our preferences and everyday lives.
“A deeper profile of the customer is possible,” says Sridhar Narayanan, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford. “Already Google and these others have a lot of information about us—this is one new source that is different.”read rest of story
1. What is the revenue model to earn a revenue stream with these virtual assistants?
2. Which one do you anticipate being the most successful? Why?
We will get to the results in a minute, after a quick primer on the ethical debate surrounding ad blocking. While such technology has existed for years — it has long been available on PC browsers — ad blockers are new for iPhones and iPads. Using the blockers is easy: You download one of the programs from the App Store and then set your Safari web browser to enable the blocking. Ads are choked off inside the browser when you load mobile websites, but the blockers do not stop ads from appearing in apps. READ REST OF STORY
Questions for discussion:
1. Are ad blockers a technology you would adopt? Why or why not?
2. What are the ethical and commercial impacts of this technology?
Siri is one of the new Apple TV’s most important features. It can stumble over proper names (“Keanu” took multiple tries but it nailed “Fassbender”), and Apple has saddled it with some key limitations. But ultimately, Siri is a neat way to surf TV.
In addition to the Siri upgrade, the new gadget includes a fancy touchpad remote control, beautiful interface and an all new app store. Apple (AAPL, Tech30) calls it the “future” of television.
The product upgrade, the first in three years, is a huge leap forward for Apple. And after spending a few days watching TV (for journalism), I think it’s very much the TV of our time. Read Rest of Story
Questions for discussion:
1. Are you an Apple TV user? Why or why not?
2. Does this product look like something you would adopt? Why or Why not?
3. What do you think the chances are for success with this product? Dexribe
Description: Android Pay is essentially a digital payments system that consumers can use to buy things online or in stores from retailers and others who also use the service.
Date: May 28, 2015
To use Android Pay, smartphone users with up-to-date versions of the Android operating system will be able to load Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover cards onto their phones. From there, they will be able to wave the phone over the terminals in more than 700,000 stores around the United States to pay for items. Android Pay will also work inside mobile apps from participating developers.
Google will use a technology called tokenization to provide merchants with a customer’s payment information without having to hand over their actual credit card number.
As with Apple Pay, Google will let customers verify their identity using their fingerprint, a technique which will be built into the next version of Android. Read Rest of Story
Questions for discussion:
1. Will this new payment system succeed “ANDROID PAY” Why or Why Not?
2. What is the business model of both Android Pay, Google Wallet or Apple Pay? Is it sustainable?
Description: When Microsoft stock was at a record high in 1999, and its market capitalization was nearly $620 billion, the notion that Apple Computer would ever be bigger — let alone twice as big — was laughable.
Date: Jan 29, 2015
Mr. Gates “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.” “He knows he can’t win,” Mr. Gates said then of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. But less than two decades later, Apple has won. How this happened contains some important lessons — including for Apple itself, if it wants to avoid Microsoft’s fate. Apple, after all, is now as dependent on the success of one product line — the iPhone accounted for 69 percent of its revenue — as Microsoft once was with Windows. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, a radical idea when IBM mainframes took up entire rooms. But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. That computer also just happened to be a phone, the most ubiquitous consumer device in the world. Apple ended up disrupting two huge markets. Read the rest of the Story
Questions for discussion: 1. How did Apple overtake Microsoft in becoming more valuable? 2. How would you describe Apples strategy using one of Porter’s generic competitive strategies?