29 February 2012

Mog Is Up For Sale, Just Not Officially Yet.

Mog Logo Icon

Greg Sandoval, ovar at CNET did a report on a scoop that Mog was up for sale. One that later on got non-refuted by Mog with the following statement:  “Not right now, we are always looking up at options” that reads backs more as: “Only for serious buyers and in private please”.

Struggling music service MOG for sale

The reality is not only the fact that Music Streaming as a business while being completely legit is a hard business to scale and be with. It is that there is a lot of competition and it only has got harder because the quality of the competitor is also increasing. 

Rhapsody acquiring Napster solidified them as the Top Music Streamijg Service in the U.S.A for the short and medium term future, no matter what. 

Spotify pairing heavily with Facebook assures them continuous growth for the medium term future.

Deezer is planning to go global in 2012 with a freemium + ads model that is like a mix of Spotify and Grooveshark models.

Rdio got solid backing from the Kazza/Skype/Joost guys. And from Microsoft in a indirect manner as they own a part of it now that they own Skype.

The examples above is not the complete picture but shows what a hard road MOG got ahead if they decided to continue to go alone. A road that ultimately is more likely to no get them anywhere. 

Right now i think they would do got a good chance of being acquired. And the purchaser could very well be one of the four names above. 

Spotify could buy MOG to accelerate their growth in the USA and try to overtake Rhapsody.

Rhapsody could acquire MOG to make sure Spotify has no chance is beating them in the U.S,A any time soon. 

Deezer could use it as a way to accelerate their own expansion.

Rdio could acquire MOG as a way to improve their catalog and service. And make the service more known.

In short, any of them have a good reason why would they benefit from such a purchase.

Even in this times were music streaming has got in tough times because of competition and controversy about low royalties getting to the actual artists. The market is not going to get any smaller, it will still continue to grow. But tough times like these do explain why some of the employees working in these startups do want Grooveshark to die out at the hands of the RIAA.

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28 February 2012

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia Logo

The fourth Nokia Lumia device sporting Windows Phone 7.5 was announced during Nokia's Keynote at MWC 2012. And it is the very first budget low-end Smartphone from Nokia with WP 7.5 Tango 2. 

Tango 2 allows for WP 7.5 to be available in low-end smartphones and brings a wider support for languages and localization. With the first one of its kind announced being the ZTE Tania. 

Nokia Lumia 600 will be able to access 95% of Apps currently available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. So fragmentation will be minimal. 

WP 7.5 Tango 2 restrictions come in removing the most intensive background built-in apps from the OS. Like Bing Local Scout and disabling other features by default for the user to activate and opt-in, like instant sharing or updating for all services. Meaning that the features are there, but the user will have to take a more active role in managing them. Apart from that it also got a even more proactive role in managing memory in the device. 

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia Lumia 600 is a WP 7.5 T2 device with a 3.7 inches SLCD screen that got a optimized 800mhz single-core CPU, 256mb of ram, 8gb of nand flash and a 5mp camera. set to be release in Q2 of 2012.

The reason why this Nokia Device is a big deal, is because it will be the device that will start the true transition away from Symbian for Nokia. It is a device targeted for emerging markets that got a target price of just 189 euros at full price unlocked. Or that will be given away for free and that can be pushed with the cheapest plans or as a locked-to-network pay as you go. And that is a big deal. Because it will still be a high quality budget WP 7.5 device with access to 95% of apps and 90% of features And that also comes with all of Nokia Exclusive Apps for free. Just at a very low price. 

189 euros may be around the same price the ZTE Tania ends up going for too. But the Lumia 610 got a better design, more storage, better build and counts with Nokia's backing of free Nokia Apps and promotions. 189 euros while they would translate to $250 dollars. Usually the price is always lower in dollars. So it could do be aiming for an equivalent of $199 dollars.

I think it is an awesome low-end smartphone for the markets it is targeted for and that it is also no doubt leagues ahead of a Symbian or Android device of the same price. Because it will offer a superior experience.


For more details also check this Nokia Press Release:

http://press.nokia.com/2012/02/27/nokia-expands-lumia-experience-to-new-price-points-and-geographies/ 

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27 February 2012

Boot To Gecko: Mozilla's Web Stack Based Mobile OS

Mozilla Logo

 

It has been a over a month since the rumblings about Boot To Gecko from Mozilla debuting in MWC 2012 were heard. They didn't disappointed and it was indeed presented officially.

Boot To Gecko is Mozilla's card in the Mobile OS wars. A Pure Web Stack based Mobile OS. Web Stack as in everything rendered by the Gecko Browser Engine being HTML5, CSS, JS, etc. 

"ChromeOS as a Smartphone OS" was my first impression of Boot To Gecko the very first time i read about it. And so it was for most of Tech Bloggers. But my second impression of the idea was"It does makes a lot of more sense for a low-end Smartphone OS proposition". With my third take being "Ok, i guess it could also be seen as the hard edge younger brother of WebOS or as the hard edge son of both ChromeOS and WebOS". 

Can it succeed?

It does can succeed and i think it could do have a modest success. The key to that is because of how cheap these smartphones can get to be. As cheap as $150 or simply free and in a cheap plan. BTG is like a new Symbian any OEM that wants to can use and push at low cost.

What is exactly competing with or against to?

Boot To Gecko is not competing for the top 3 slots of the Mobile OS ladder. That is something already clear of how it should turn out. They are in competition for the out of the podium places. Aspiring for a 4th, fighting to get into the 5th place. And in that area, they will do find plenty of competition. They got Nokia's Symbian phones as competition that are still delivering new interesting devices for developing markets. They got BadaOS 2.0 from Samsung that happens to be a like a copy of WebOS 2.0, making it somewhat related to what Boot To Gecko is no doubt going to do a lot better. And there is also Tizen. Intel third try to push out a Mobile OS. 

Boot To Gecko is on the go for the 1 billion device market in low-end that is transforming into Smartphones.Huge pie, that even if they only manage to bite a 1% off it in their 1st year. Would mean 10 million BTG mobile devices. All going for cheap.

What Is Mozilla Strategy Then?

Today, Telefonica announced that they would be interested in trying out pushing a BTG smartphone for their network. So it is clear that Carriers are the way they are going first.

Carriers can push free BTG mobiles for the cheap plans and as locked to network cheap BTG mobiles for Pay As You Go plans.

Boot To Gecko as a long term OS product

The only way it can work, no matter if it proves to be a viable and good mobile OS for low-end Smartphones. Something that the video in this post does prove as possible considering the thing is barely in beta. Is to have a platform. And as neat as "The Platform Is The Web" slogan from Mozilla sounds. That is not enough at all. Mozilla need to make sure that Web Stack geared App Development Platforms like Appcelerant and others like it support BTG. Regardless of them pushing Bespin and other Mozilla-made stuff as the way to develop for BTG. 

In the end, i don't even think BTG can aspire to a 4th place in the Smartphone OS Ladder. But the 5th is sure for the taking and that is at most what they can aspire to. Mozilla is free to prove me wrong though. 

Conclusion

Boot To Gecko is a cool,edgy and trendy new Mobile OS that sure will make Web Stack people excited and that could get to be a very good low-end Smartphone/Slate OS in the future, but that is more likely to only be a niche mobile OS, that the next big thing. If it does pans out .

One of the first Boot To Gecko Video Demos

via Mozilla Blog

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22 February 2012

Office For iPad: Office Starter Like, Bundled Into A Single App Made From Customized And Optimized Office Web Apps? [RUMOR]

Office 14 logo icon                 iOS logo

OK, I must admit that I never thought that there would be such a big deal about Office coming to the iPad. Or that a scoop from late last year by The Daily. Would revive in such a way. I had already forgot about it. Since I did a follow-up on their scoop.  That I measured with having a  75%  chance of being all true because of where I got the info.  Then yesterday, The Daily did an update on their scoop that included a photo of an Office Suite running on the iPad. And Boom it turned into Techmeme big story of the day as it became a controversy after Microsoft first denied this being Microsoft Software and even going the length of saying the images were FAKE! All this without denying they were building an Office Suite for the iPad.   Something that left most scratching their head. Even those that have been following Microsoft for decades like me or premier Microsoft Watcher Mary Jo Foley. Who I admit I am biased in favor of as she has always been my favorite Microsoft Watcher.

Mary Jo Foley then decided to take a hard look at this story in two posts that are a must read to understand this whole ordeal in the fastest and clearest way:

Microsoft Office for iPad: Separating fact from fiction

How to parse a Microsoft denial

And after those post I was ready to leave it a that and forget about it. After all I really don’t care about the iPad.  But then I care about Office and Microsoft issues this enigmatic tweet that was worded in a way that drove me crazy all of yesterday afternoon.

Capture Credit to Mary Jo Foley

The way it is worded is very calculated. And it don’t uses Microsoft usual Parlance Style.  That bothered me enough to go chasing for something that could tell me what that fucking meant.  It basically pissed me off.  So I went and scourged for hours for bits of information. And found two from two sources as rumors should be run. Unfortunately the info is not first hand or second hand, but third hand as it comes from two ex-microsofties.  Making it a flip of a coin thing. But it is so juicy and so good that I had to run it. And here is what the rumor mill poured:

  • Office For iPad is not a normal app.
  • It is a suite app very much in the style of Office Starter.  Meant to be a Office Companion and not Office Replacement. But enough for casual or light use.
  • It don’t has Ads. Just that it will be used to promote other Microsoft  iOS apps.
  • It is a Office Suite App. With Word, Excel and Powerpoint in it bundled into it.
  • It is still unclear if it will cost money or not. Or if it goes in a freemium plan like the iOS OneNote app. In any way if it cost money it or got a freemium model. it could go for only $9.99!
  • There is a good reason why it don’t includes the OneNote app.
  • Office for iPad apparently is made from the Office Web Apps. Just made offline capable and optimized and customized for iPad. Something I have read was needed because the regular Office Web Apps just don’t work well in the iPad. I would not know about that, but it is an issue apparently.

 

How about that? Again it is a rumor, but man, given how many specifics it got and how juicy it was. How could I resist? specially after Microsoft way of handling this leak they had months to contain was handled so poorly. I deemed it fair game to spill this one out there. Anyway, that is that.  Now,  I do think that if they said coming weeks, in Microsoft time framing that is usually about a month.  Meaning I think it will be delivered post MWC and post iPad 3 reveal.

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02 February 2012

Hulu CEO On Fighting The Rock While Keeping Distance From A Hard Place

Hulu Logo

At the Dive Into Media conference, Hulu Ceo, Jason Kilar gave and interview were the most echoed soundbyte was he saying that focusing only on the end user is a cop out.

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar: focusing only on the end user is a 'cop out'  via The Verge

 

It is important to know that many times when you read an interview from a Executive or CEO. What it is not been said or the way something is said are the real answers and insight that should be taken from the interviewee. This interview to Hulu CEO Jason Kilar on the Dive Into Media conference is a great example. As what he pretty much really said was: 

"We cannot serve the user the way other streaming video startups would or how some people think we should, because we can only live and act as we go. Hulu is not fully geared as New Media because it is tied to the big players in Old Media. But my job is to try to balance out that conflict and i am trying. I like to think i am doing very good"

That is what Jason Kilar would have loved to be able to say but cannot say openly. Yet it is what the interview message really is. 

And i believe in Kilar because 2011 was incredible for being a Hulu User. The amount of content that was added on Hulu Free alone was great and on Hulu Plus, it could be said it was excellent. People just don't gives out Jason or Hulu the credit both deserves. One as a CEO and one as a company. Not for nothing Yahoo tried to poach him for the CEO role.

Unfortunately for him, he stumbled and provided a soundbite and quote too juciy for blogs to resist. One that makes him to be perceived wrong when reported based on just that bit of the interview. His media training just failed him there.

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