TechZone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo August 10, 2013

This has been a very interesting week for various reasons but none trump the news earlier in the week that Amazon founder, CEO and erstwhile billionaire Jeff Bezos (currently worth about $25.4 billion or so), has taken the bold step of acquiring The Washington Post for the bargain price of $250 million. We've provided the deal details, but we joke when we say "bargain price" for the simple reason that the paper is totally broken from a revenue perspective -- its vaunted owners, the "revered" Graham first family of print media, has totally mismanaged it into the ground more or less (much as The New York Times is also doing to itself) and opened the door for Bezos to step in and pick it up.

Bezos can afford it and what's more, it is great news that he has stepped in. Why? Well, our colleague Doug Barney believes that it's because Bezos is keen to take on Eric Schmidt and Google in a war that pits Google's model of packaging up everyone else's content and making billions off of it, vs. Bezos' belief in paid content. It's an interesting perspective to be sure, but we will go on record here as saying we believe Doug has it completely wrong.

We believe Bezos could care less about Google's business model! We believe that Bezos sees a huge, huge, huge opportunity to totally disrupt old media and print and finally kill it off and come out of it with an entirely new business that will thrive by selling extraordinarily targeted ads. It is a business model that will rely on Amazon's extraordinary ability to understand who it caters to and to personalize its offerings in highly targeted ways. It is a big date, business intelligence and cloud project as well, and Bezos' teams have all of this mastered. Finally, it all completely co-exists with Google -- no war necessary. In fact the model relies on Google to drive traffic to the Post! It will also rely on great content -- but being paid for its content IS NOT where the money is -- and Bezos knows this.

We also believe that Bezos clearly understands that it won't be Pulitzer Prize winners that draw the subscribers in -- rather it will be huge revenue and profits from advertising that will allow Bezos to create the ecosystem for future Pulitzer Prize winners to emerge from and thrive within -- which will be critical for sustainability of quality content That will be huge and we're looking forward to it. We believe Bezos is truly well-positioned to pull it off. Read our different perspectives and let us know what you think! While doing so also consider some insights into the whole notion of "predictive" searches.

Meanwhile, our colleague Peter Bernstein, who penned the predictive search article, is mad as hell with Google on a whole other issue. Google has announced this week that it is going to start delivering additional new search results that will include what it is calling the top three "in-depth" results (e.g. longer and more detailed articles) along with its usual mix. Peter believes this is tantamount to censorship! He details a variety of well-thought out reasons but we'd love to hear your views as well on this.

This week also brings us several developments on the video front. First, a new Cisco global survey and research report strongly underscores that aspiring enterprise executives strongly believe that video in the enterprise is going to be a huge thing. We don't disagree one bit with this perspective, and of course it certainly suits Cisco itself beautifully considering all of its own investments in delivering video into the enterprise - both from a landline and mobile perspective. In the meantime, the week also brought us news of AOL acquiring Adap.TV in order to better monetize its video offerings. It makes sense for AOL to do so, though it may be a case of too little, too late -- the usual AOL story these days. Also on the video front, though directly in the realm of broadcasting in this case, CBS and Time Warner Cable are going at it tooth and nail on negotiating the cost of content and the right of retransmission. It's certainly warfare at this point and we aren't sure who will win out.

We'll wrap up the week by noting two things. First, Michael Dell continues to believe he will be able to steal ("steal" is our word, not his!) the company away from its shareholders for a bargain price. We continue to hope this doesn't happen but Dell and his partner Silver Lake keep shifting the rules and voting date to give themselves the edge. It's hard to believe we have to rely on Carl Icahn to keep this from happening, but "them's the way the chips have fallen." We'll see.

Finally, it wouldn't be a complete week if we didn't have a little Apple news to share. A new patent for fusing glass edges to device cases has been awarded to Apple, and the company has also just filed a patent application in Europe that seeks to accomplish the same thing across the pond. While the capability has plenty of potential applications, which we highlight, our belief is that Apple will likely use the technology in building its long rumored iWatch. Check it out.

Have a great weekend!

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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