Techzone 360 Week in Review


We are going to do something out of the ordinary today - we are going to connect the beginning of our week's review with last week's review. Back then we reported on IBM's earnings, and the sad truth is that IBM missed its numbers. We made a note last week that IBM CEO Virginia Rometty has some mighty big shoes to fill - and she must have heard us. This week she recorded a video that speaks to a number of IBM issues, and furthermore, took IBM to task for its poor performance - enough that a hugely senior IBMer was very publically demoted. Rometty also called out its sales staff, noting that they failed to close critical deals and that they were all now under the microscope. It's quite interesting but we need to note that those two CEOs, whose shoes Rometty has to fill, never needed to shoot such a video.

Microsoft would probably love to shoot a little video of the fun sort to perhaps gloat a bit over the fact that it just came off a rather sweet win against Google and Motorola Mobility in a patent lawsuit. Google and Motorola had brought the suit and they were seeking upward of $4 billion to right the terrible wrongs Microsoft had foisted on them. Well, no such luck - a court in Seattle saw through the whole thing and handed down a ruling whereupon the decision has been made that the fees Microsoft will need to pay ut will total about $1.8 million a year. Alas, that is hardly going to cover the dollars Google shelled out to buy Motorola - which it bought on the supposed mighty strength of its patent portfolio. Yeah, Microsoft can shoot a little video - we'll watch it.

This week Microsoft also pulled off some interesting technology with its Skype offering. Apparently the company has figured out how to create holographic three-dimensional images of whoever is actually using Skype to communicate. While it may take some time to get to market, new reports have emerged, suggesting that Microsoft is on the hunt for new software development engineers to put new life into a 3D tele-presence technology that may eventually yield a meeting system that allows for holographic display.

It's no secret that Microsoft has been keeping a lid on how many Surface tablets it shipped since the release of the Surface RT back in October, which has led many to write off the company's foray into the tablet space as a failure. However, there are other manufacturers - Samsung, Asus, Dell and a number of other Microsoft partners - making Windows 8 and/or Windows RT tablets of their own, and it appears that all of these devices together have managed to make a non-trivial dent in the coveted tablet market. How does 7.5 percent strike you? We'd say, not bad!

Do you worry much about your online privacy? Of course you do, if you happen to be old enough to fall outside of the age group we refer to as millennials. A new survey by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, Inc. shows significant differences in the way millennials think (compared to older users of the Internet) when it comes to online privacy, access to personal data and how they share information with businesses online. Apparently millennials aren't terribly concerned about their privacy.

This probably makes Google feel good. Though it probably doesn't make Google feel as good as it feels over the astounding fine it received for violating all sorts of privacy issues in Germany through its efforts to record Wi-Fi networks in connection with the Street View service - which has been globally condemned and in some cases declared illegal. Such as it has in Germany. The astounding fine was…

Something that is bound to be far less charitable for Google is the fine it may be liable for due to the European Commission (EC) antitrust issues and findings that surrounded its perceived abuse of search to unfairly favor its own services over those of competitors. Until now, the concessions Google were willing to make were a secret. Well, they are now public, and competitors have been given a month to provide comments about whether they feel Google should be allowed to get off the hook based on its proposals to the EC. Over the coming days, Google's rivals will be reviewing its draft proposal of how it can make its search practices more competitive in Europe, after numerous complaints. The move may allow both sides to reach a settlement in the antitrust case.

Back when T-Mobile first announced its "Uncarrier" plans and announced it was doing away with contracts and subsidized phones, it put out all sorts of marketing suggesting that this was great for the consumer and would lead to great deals for them. We warned at every turn to make sure that before heading to a T-Mobile store that you do the comparison-pricing homework carefully and only visit the un-carrier once you were well-prepared to do so and had a crystal clear idea of the pricing tradeoffs. We hope you did - this week the Washington Attorney General decided that T-Mobile's ads are deceptive. Who knew? Were you prepared?

We hope so - you were warned.

Have a great weekend, and if you are planning to go to T-Mobile, well…remember that any deal that looks too good to be true probably is.

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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