This week is certainly ending with a bang of sorts - what with the news breaking this morning that Steve Ballmer is finally sort of kind of officially in a semi-official sort of way ready to vacate the CEO's office. Someday, once the right person to replace him shows up. So Ballmer is stepping down as Microsoft's CEO. Microsoft board member John Thompson has apparently suggested that the CEO search has in fact been under way for some time. And Ballmer has said in an interview today that he has been talking to potential CEO successors for 3 to 4 years, and he swears that Bill Gates had absolutely nothing to do with his move to leave. Hmm. In any case we have our own fairly detailed take on Steve and his exit, whenever it actually ends up taking place.
As exciting as it may be for some to hear that Ballmer is finally moving on, it did not excite us nearly as much as discovering early this week that Google and Waze have been moving much more quickly than we had anticipated to cross-integrate their services into Google Maps and Waze. This is welcome news and we very much look forward to taking advantage of the enhanced capabilities each provides the other.
Google also made new noise on the smart car front this week. Google Ventures has dropped $250 million into Uber, the on-demand car (and occasional helicopter) service. This by itself would be sufficiently noteworthy for anyone, but tack on the additional interest from other investors, as well as the total valuation of Uber, and the whole picture raises even more eyebrows. This is an interesting investment - imagine if you will the possibility of calling up a driverless (we mean self-driving) taxi. Imagine as well if Google were to design and build such taxis itself (well, through third party contracts). It is well worth keeping an eye on this!
Amazon won't be building any smart cars as far as we know, but we have heard that the company may look to participate in a fast highway of a different sort. Amazon looks to be testing out its own LTE network. Is it possible that Amazon may soon become an ISP? Perhaps an ISP that only has Amazon for a customer? BTW, some people noticed that Amazon itself went offline for a very short while earlier this week. Luckily, the entire world ended up surviving!
Tumblr also took a fall this week, though we don't use Tumblr ourselves these days and we confess we paid no attention to it. On the other hand, Twitter also had a small outage hiccup this week, but the good news is that we ourselves were not impacted by it. Apparently we were busy doing other things at the time. That said, the Twitterverse in general was not even remotely amused by it. There are a goodly number of outages to account for this week - as they say, the plot thickens.
As we get closer to the big day for Apple's next big set of announcements - which the entire world now knows will happen on September 10 - a few short weeks away, we've got some absolutely fantastic news to share. We won't swear yet that it will happen (others claim it is fully confirmed) but it looks like we'll have a new flagship iPhone color to choose from - gold! No, we don't mean the sort of gold James Bond's Goldfinger might want - we mean a sort of gold color option on the white iPhone for the aluminum back plate. Hey - we live for these things.
Of far greater real interest to us this week is the fact that Apple received a very cool new patent on Tuesday that covers a series of methods for generating 3 dimensional images on a display through utilizing 3D hand gestures completely off the touchscreen itself. Imagine moving your fingers over your iPad's touchscreen and creating three dimensional objects without ever touching the display. The patent was only filed in July 2012 so we are looking at potentially very new and very real technology that could find its way to real products as early as 2014 - this is very exciting stuff to consider.
The week also brought us several very interesting enterprise technology products. First, SAP has taken yet another step forward in putting its in-memory HANA database and analytics engine to good use. SAP has delivered a new platform for generating real time, on the fly customer insights that draw not only from in-house data but from the social media networks as well. This is a potentially huge capability for retailers.
And Avaya this week disclosed its views and plans for its new architectural framework for delivering Software-Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities. As part of a multi-phase approach to the ultimate goal of serving as the linchpin for the Software-Defined Enterprise, Avaya is focusing attention on the transformation of enterprise data centers, where SDN will begin to make its first inroads. For the enterprise this will prove to be a very critical next technology stage.
Finally, our editorial team will be at TMC's ITEXPO Las Vegas all of next week. If you happen to be attending come find us - say hello, participate in our panel sessions, and have a great time - it is, after all, Vegas we're talking about.
Have an awesome weekend!
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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