Where’s the Shareholder Outrage at Hewlett-Packard? How have Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shareholders largely remained so silent while board infighting, botched multi-billion-dollar acquisitions, multiple strategic false starts, and high C-Suite turnover have combined to lop off more than $90 billion of market valuation—the venerable tech company is now worth just $28 billion—since the end of 2009? Read more here.
Do you remember when Sony was Apple? Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago. There was a time when Sony was the first name in consumer electronics. More recently, Sony backed Blu-ray and quickly dispatched the only other HD video challenger, HD DVD. What gives? Read more here.
New new world
Facebook: The Making of 1 Billion Users: The team in charge of tracking Facebook’s (FB) growth works on the second floor of Building 17. Most days, the offices are like anywhere else at Facebook: whiteboards, toys on desks, shorts and flip-flops, pretty low-key. Around noon on Sept. 14, the second floor was packed. In one of the common areas, a giant screen showed the number of active Facebook users worldwide. About 100 people, including Mark Zuckerberg and his top lieutenants, watched the numbers run up by about a thousand users per minute: 999,980,000 … 999,990,000 … 1,000,000,000. The counter paused for a moment when it rounded 10 digits, as if to emphasize the point: 1 billion users. Read more here.
Asia’s virtual masters eye Zynga’s real lunch: A decade ago, a developer from Korean gamemaker Nexon threw a few lines of code together to create an image of a flower to present to his girlfriend, buying himself more videogame time as she sat impatiently by his side at an Internet cafe. And, so the industry legend goes, the “virtual good” was born. Now, companies such as Nexon that pioneered the model across Asia are muscling onto Zynga’s turf, hoping to cash in on fast-growing U.S. spending by bringing their distinct Asian brand of fast-paced “freemium” games – free with optional in-game purchases, Read more here.
Airbnb: To Tax or Not Tax a Rented Bed: New York may be the city that never sleeps, but overnight visitors are still advised to check in somewhere. Staying in hotels is not for the frugal, however, especially when you add taxes, which come to more than 15 percent of the bill. No wonder so many now shop on the website Airbnb.com, where $20 a night secures a bed in a shared Queens apartment, and $285 an entire loft in SoHo. The four-year-old site, an aggregator of private vacation rentals, has increased its listings in New York City from 900 three years ago to close to 15,000 today. Read more here.
Samsung Expected to Reach End of Record Run: Samsung Electronics reported a record quarterly profit of 8.1 trillion South Korean won, nearly double the figure of last year, as strong sales of high-end televisions and Galaxy smartphones more than offset reduced orders for chips and screens from Apple, its main rival and leading customer. Read more here.
“Steve was always such a big thinker,” John Lasseter says. “He would always look at things from the point of view that you never anticipated. And he was such a forward thinker; he didn’t think three moves ahead, he thought 20 moves ahead. For us, he was that fresh set of eyes — you didn’t know what he would see when we were developing a film, but you knew he would see something. He would always have one or two comments, but they were always so deep that you’d just scratch your head and say, Oh, yeah… Read more.
Startup that raised $ 0 from VCs: Judging by a spate of investments in Europe this year, venture firms are making sure that the Continent stays well fed by backing online-delivery platforms from Germany to Russia.But here in the U.S. at least one food-delivery start-up says it isn’t hungry for venture firms to sit down at the table. Read more about how an online food delivery platform caught the attention of The Wall Street Journal using tongue in cheek reverse psychology.
The $210,000 Cow-Milking Robot: Let’s presume for a moment that you aren’t someone who thinks a great deal about dairy farming. Like me, for example. You (or I) may think you have this idea about what it means to milk a cow. For me, it was always something akin to what Harrison Ford did in Witness—wake up at o-dark-thirty, sit on a stool, and work a cow’s teat until you filled a bucket with milk. Of course, Witness came out 27 years ago. More important, those guys in the movie were Amish. Not really the early-adopter type. Things are a little more high-tech out there among them English. Read more here.
The Next Generation of Rescue Robots: Next month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—the sci-fi research wing of the U.S. military—will pit companies and universities against each other in a competition to design the best disaster-relief robot, and odds are the winner will look somewhat like you and me. The robots in DARPA’s obstacle course will not only have to climb ladders; they’ll have to drive vehicles and fix leaking pipes. That means they’ll probably be humanoid, even though DARPA doesn’t require them to be. Read more here.
Solar Cell Consisting of a Single Molecule: Individual Protein Complex Generates Electric Current: A team of scientists have developed a method to measure photocurrents of a single functionalized photosynthetic protein system. The scientists could demonstrate that such a system can be integrated and selectively addressed in artificial photovoltaic device architectures while retaining their biomolecular functional properties. Read more here.
Even in 1985, we knew Facebook was possible : The fact that 1 billion people around the world are now on Facebook, and using it so habitually, is… incredible. For those of us who were using picks and shovels to build the Internet three decades ago, it’s validation of what we believed would someday happen. Take a walk with me down memory lane, and I’ll explain why. Steve Case, the former CEO and co-founder of America Online (AOL) writes.
Did You Know the First Computer Mouse Was Wooden? The computer mouse: undeniably the cutest of the gadget world. The small, clickable tool is the reason we can browse social networks, search Google, play games and send email. And more importantly, where would we all be without the right-click and the cursor? Read more about its humble origins here.
The compact disc turned 30 on Oct. 1: Back on Oct. 1, 1982, Sony began selling the world’s first commercially available CD player. Let’s not forget the overall importance of the CD. What most people liked about the CD was its convenience—here was a small, reasonably durable piece of plastic that allowed you to skip from track to track, and no need to flip vinyl. Read more here.
Who Made That Escape Key? “It’s the ‘Hey, you! Listen to me’ key,” says Jack Dennerlein of the Harvard School of Public Health. According to Dennerlein, an expert on how humans interact with computers, the escape key helped drive the computer revolution of the 1970s and ’80s. “It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’ Read more here.
Is India losing the way? Track this interesting debate with Shashi Tharoor against the motion and Arvind Subramanian defending it on The Economist. There is a race between rot and regeneration in the underlying institutions of the state and politics. And it is far from obvious that the forces of regeneration are winning. Says Mr Subramanian.
Says Mr Tharoor: Services exports are rising, remittances remain strong and the domestic sector continues to expand apace. These are not the signs of an economy that is losing its way. More here.
India needs to get better prepared for a boom in urban living. Still two-thirds rural, Indians are set to move to town at an increasing rate. So it’s a shame that the country is so bad at managing its huge cities. Watch here.