Google Fights for Net Neutrality with MLab

If you want to know if your ISP blocks or throttles applications you are running, you can now use a new open source Google tool called Measurement Labs that is designed to tell you if your connection is throttled by your ISP via various diagnostic measurements. ISPs have been accused of blocking connections to various applications including BitTorrent and giving very slow connection speeds in hopes users will back off from the increased download usage, bringing ethical questions concerning net neutrality. ISPs maintain they are in no way capping or restricting any part of the internet or any application. See other Google Internet Tools here.

Sony Developing Touch-Screen Printer Similar to Microsoft Surface


A new patent application (20090022510) from Sony reveals the company has plans to develop a touch-screen based printer much like Microsoft Surface. With Microsoft Surface, you simply place your digital camera on the touch-screen surface, and then it is able to automatically download the photos and display them on the touch-screen. Sony essentially wants to do just this for its own printer where you can put your camera on the display surface where the photos are then automatically downloaded to the Sony printer, which then lets you browse the photos on the touch-screen and simply choose which photos to print. Very interesting feature, it will be fun to see if their product infringes on any Microsoft patents here.

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Verizon Sells 1M Blackberry Storms, Q4 Profits Up

Verizon has just released Q4 results. The Blackberry Storm contributed to higher profits, with an impressive 1 million Blackberry Storm units sold. Analysts were expecting about 500,000 units sold. Verizon also reported 1.4 million new subscribers added during Q4. Verizon CEO and Chairman Ivan Seidenberg said “Verizon has shown that it is able to compete effectively in this economic environment,” Verizon posted $24.65 billion in total revenue and $1.24 billion in net profit in 2008. The Blackberry definitely Continue Reading

Honda Cuts Another 50,000 Cars, Jobs

Japanese carmaker Honda has literally just announced it will reduce total output worldwide by 50,000 new cars, 29,000 of which from North American plants. By the end of the fiscal year, Honda total output is expected to be down 12% year over year to 1.26 million vehicles worldwide. Honda already announced it would cut production by 119,000 cars on Dec. 12, 2008, on top of the 71,000 decrease announced in Nov 2008. Honda cites the newest output cut can be attributed to the economic downturn resulting in further falling demand in its cars. The company has also announced about 4,300 job cuts in Japan that will take place by the end of April 2009. More recently, Honda has made other cost cutting moves, including pulling out of F1 racing sponsorships as the company tries to focus on its core competency, making and selling consumer oriented vehicles. In related news, Hyundai is now letting consumers who purchase 2009 models return the car within one year if the buyer loses his or her job full-time job. In other auto industry news, GM has also announced it will cut an additional 2,000 jobs.

McDonalds Profits Up, To Open 1,000 New Stores

mcdonalds-restaurantAs North America dips into a further recession, consumers are seeking lower prices. That seems to be the case, as McDonald’s has experienced a surge in profits and has announced it would invest $2.1 billion to open 1,000 new stores worldwide.

Same-store sales were also up an impressive 7.2% Q1 09, but net income was down 23% to $985.5 million ($0.87 per share), from $1.27 billion ($1.06 per share) year over year in the same period, missing Wall Street expectations. McDonalds also attributed the surge in sales from higher demand as consumers seek lower food prices.

McDonald’s reported net income of $979.50 million for the three months ended March 30, 2009, down from $985 million in the same period year over year. McDonald’s Financial Statements Attacked by Hackers Again

The online job site has been attacked by hackers resulting in lost user data on the site. Monster said “we recently learned our database was illegally accessed and certain contact and account data were taken, including Monster user IDs and passwords, email addresses, names, phone numbers, and some basic demographic data.” The company is recommending you Continue Reading

Pfizer to Acquire Wyeth as Lipitor Patent Ends?

Reports indicate that the world’s largest drug-maker, Pfizer, is in direct acquisition talks with competing drug-maker Wyeth. The buy-out could cost as much as $62 billion. Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor, has also been hit hard by the global financial crisis. The company recently announced 15,000 job cuts in a cost cutting move. The company CEO, Jeffrey Kindler, is facing mounting pressure to ensure the company remains competitive as the patent to Lipitor is set to expire in 2011. The cholesterol drug Lipitor has become the world’s best selling drug, earning Pfizer $12 billion in 2007. Many more drug-related patents are set to expire in the coming years, paving the way for competitors to cash in on some of the top medicine in the world. It is believed Pfizer could limit falling profits to about 11% as opposed to about a 23% projected decline in 2011 with the buy-out. If this acquisition occurs, we can expect job cuts simply given how big the acquisition is.

Microsoft Zune Revenue Down, Pays New Tax Debt After IRS Audit

microsoftMicrosoft has just announced today the company will merge its Office Live and Windows Live products under one brand and product. Essentially, Office Live products are productivity extensions that include programs such as Office Live Workspace, Office Live Groove, and Office Live Small Business. Windows Live products are more geared towards consumers and include services such as Windows Live Messenger. The merged software packages will be available by the end of the year and should coincide with the release of Windows 7. Microsoft says the move comes to simplify the user experience.

In other news, Microsoft has just announced the closure of its ACES Studios division, which is the same team that develops one of Microsoft’s oldest offerings, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, which firstly debuted in 1982. Microsoft declined to provide details regarding the future of the product, but affirmed Microsoft is committed to the Flight Simulator franchise despite the closing of ACES Studios. The closure comes as a broader plan by Microsoft to cut costs, including the announced layoffs of up to 5,000 Microsoft employees.

In other news, Microsoft also reported revenue for its Zune portable media player is significantly down. Microsoft said Zune revenue was down $100 million (54% down) from Continue Reading

RIM Ends Certicom Takeover Bid

rimBlackberry maker, RIM, has announced it has withdrawn its $66 million hostile takeover bid of Certicom, after an Ontario Court ruled on Monday RIM used confidential information in its bid. Certicom wanted the injunction, as it believed RIM used confidential information and the price simply undervalued the company’s fair value. RIM initially offered $1.50 per share on all outstanding common stock. RIM initially announced it would challenge the court ruling, but that does not seem to be the case today. RIM can still make friendly bids to acquire Certicom should it be for sale in the future.

Microsoft to Launch MobileMe/App Store Competitors: SkyBox, SkyMarket

windows-mobile-7Microsoft has already confirmed it is developing SkyMarket, which is essentially a direct competitor to the Apple App Store, where people can purchase third party software for their Windows Mobile powered devices. Microsoft is also expected to launch its SkyBox service, which is essentially a direct competitor to Apple’s MobileMe. SkyBox will essentially sync and allow you to access your contacts, e-mail, calendar, SMS, pictures, and your files from a centralized system. Importantly, it is believed Microsoft will not limit SkyBox to only Windows Mobile device, instead allowing almost any newer handset to take advantage of the service, including Symbian and iPhone handsets, which would be a big competitive edge over Apple’s MobileMe. Microsoft is also expected to launch an enterprise version of SkyBox called SkyLine. It is unclear how the two will differentiate. Microsoft should launch these products in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In related news, Blackberry maker, RIM, has just announced it is accepting submissions for its own Application Storefront for developers who want to sell their Blackberry made applications. Note: Windows Mobile 7 Pictured Above

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