So I’m going to start a rumor here: I think, before the year is out, that Google is going to try to buy Sprint.
There’s a provocative column by Joe Nocera in today’s NYTimes about LinkedIn’s IPO last week. Nocera thinks that the investment banks Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch — which LinkedIn hired to take it public — essentially stole hundreds of millions of dollars that should have gone to LinkedIn’s treasury.
Here’s how it works. [Read more…]
My first article for public consumption in quite a while, and a return to old stomping grounds: A review of the upcoming Droid X mobile phone.
Overall a nice piece of hardware. I suspect I’ll like Android more as I get used to it.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine will be rolling out UI changes starting in the next few days. Since its launch about a year ago, Bing has been innovating mostly on its interface, and these changes continue that mission. The emphasis for the update will be on providing more context — including real-time feeds — and visual information.
What’s worrisome about Bing, from a content provider’s perspective… [Read more…]
I’ve been around the Macintosh world since about 1985, so I’m real familiar with Guy Kawasaki. Guy was the software evangelist for the Mac — the guy who went around persuading software developers to write for this unusual and innovative computer. In the intervening years, he wrote a couple of books about what became known as guerrilla marketing; those books are still on my shelves. In certain circles, he was (and is) quite famous. In certain circles, he became sort of yesterday’s news. Now, he runs a venture company and a news aggregator Alltop.com.
You’ve probably heard by now that eBay unloaded Skype today to a consortium led by Silver Lake Partners and a bunch of other people including Marc Andreesen for mumblety-billion dollars.
Dan Hoffman, CEO of hosted VoIP provider M5 Networks, very intelligently points out that Silver Lake is also invested in Avaya (telecom equipment), and IPC (trading systems). Think those could be strategic partners for Skype? Me too.
I’d add to that roster NXP (chips for set-top boxes and mobile phones), Avago (chips for wired infrastructure and computer peripherals), NetScout network management, and Sabre Holdings (Travelocity). I can think of one or two pieces of synergy there, too.
I suspect Silver Lake’s board meetings are going to be very interesting places for the next five years.
In April 2007, I bought an upgrade to the formidable contact manager Now Up-to-Date and Contact. I’d used it off and on for some years and was looking for something a bit more powerful than Apple’s Address Book and iCal. It had gotten old, and wasn’t really happy with OS X. What Now was promising with “Nighthawk” sounded interesting enough for me to pony up $40 for an upgrade sight unseen. Besides, the software was supposed to ship that June. Two months wasn’t so long to wait.
I’m certain that I forgot to ask “June of what year?”
Bing has now been around long enough for people to start looking for referrers in their server logs. Most people aren’t seeing a ton of traffic from Bing so they think it’s not a big deal.
It’s a dangerous and possibly self-deluding conclusion for any content provider. Remember: you — the content provider — are not the search engines’ market. You are, in fact, the product that they’re selling.
Bing is not innovating in search, as far as anyone can tell. It gives some very different results than Google; in many cases, it presents much deeper results than Google’s while missing other stuff.
Where Bing (and Yahoo) are innovating are in user experience. The goal of all these search engines is to give their users as much information as possible without their leaving the SERP. You want them to click on your URL to see your content and ads. But the search engines would just as soon that their page be the final word. That’s why Google is relying less on Description tags and more on page scrapes and microformats for its snippets. It’s why Bing has page excerpts pop up next to the URLs on the SERPs.
Bing has looked at the heat maps of what people look at in SERPs and is innovating around that upper left quadrant of the window. Google is making more options more easily available to searchers. But what kind of business model would your site have if it only existed to send people away? Right: none. The search engines are ever more in the business of helping people stick around, showing your information on their pages, and building environments where they let people leave only if they really want to — but would rather have them stick around, thanks.