It’s Time To Admit That Hulu Is A Failure (DIS, NWS)


Jason Kilar

This morning, a Wall Street Journal story by

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Friday, December 21st, 2012 news No Comments

The Six Biggest Patent Deals Of 2012


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Tech patents have become a huge commodity in America.

Why buy a patent? Well, you’ll be able to sue anybody who infringes it.

You could also license it, and use the technology it covers all you want.

With these lucrative possibilities in mind, tech companies typically buy patents in big bundles.

And these patent bundles can go for jaw-drawing amounts.

Patent brokerage firm IPOfferings has now provided a glimpse into exactly how much a company will buy for the right to somebody else’s invention.

7. Adaptix’s $100 million sale to Acacia Research

In January, Adaptix sold Acacia Research 230 patents covering 4G technology, according to IPOfferings.

The deal was Acacia’s first major move to buy its own patent rights, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Previously, Acacia partnered with universities and other organizations to help them enforce patents.

Acacia has been criticized as a “patent troll,” or a company that makes most of its money from licensing patents or filing patent lawsuits.

However, Acacia CEO Paul Ryan previously told BI that people who use that term are just “name calling.”

6. Fujifilm Corp.’s $105 million sale to Universal Display Corp.

Fujifilm sold 1,200 patents covering OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology to Universal Display Corp. in July, according to IPOfferings.

The deal doubled the patent portfolio of Universal Display, a lighting and display company based in New Jersey, according to Fujifilm.

OLEDs are used to make increasingly popular high-contrast, low-energy screens, Science Daily has reported.

5. Real Network’s $120 million sale to Intel

In January, Real Network sold 190 patents to Intel covering technology for media players, according to IPOfferings.

The deal also included 170 patent applications (patents that haven’t been approved) and some video streaming software, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

The patent acquisition built Intel’s portfolio for technology that allows streaming on smartphones and laptops, according to the Journal.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, December 10th, 2012 news No Comments

RIM Just Lost Another BlackBerry Customer


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How did Zynga get so far behind in mobile?

Here’s one clue, from the Wall Street Journal’s report on CEO Mark Pincus’s troubled turnaround effort.

Until earlier this year, Pincus used a BlackBerry as his primary phone. He switched to the iPhone because that’s the primary phone that Zynga’s mobile users play its games on. (Zynga doesn’t make BlackBerry games.)

When Marissa Mayer took over as CEO of Yahoo, one of the first things she did was nix BlackBerrys as corporate devices. She got employees their choice of iPhones, Android phones, or Windows phones instead.

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Thursday, November 15th, 2012 news No Comments

Google Is Selling Almost 1 Million Nexus 7 Tablets Per Month (GOOG)


google nexus 7 back

Google is selling almost one million Nexus 7 tablets per month, according to Asustek CFO David Chang.

Chang tells the Wall Street Journal, “At the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million.”

The Nexus 7 is a $199 seven-inch tablet, Google designed in conjunction with Asustek. It is Google’s attempt to slow sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and challenge Apple’s iPad dominance.

It is also Google’s best effort at creating a true tablet computing experience with Android. While Android is the leading smartphone operating system, Apple’s iOS is leading in tablets.

Apple sold 14 million iPads last quarter, which is roughly 1 million per week. So, Google is still far behind. But this increasing growth is encouraging, and perhaps one of the reasons Apple decided to release a cheaper iPad mini.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 news No Comments


Best Buy to Price-Match the InternetThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Best Buy plans to match the price of internet retailers like Amazon over the holidays this year, as well as offering free home delivery when stores are out of stock.

According to a good ol’ “person familiar with the matter”, the electronics chain is assuming the strategy over the holiday season to draw customers away from shopping purely online. That’s something that will appeal to many consumers—especially those who prefer a traditional shopping experience.

It does, however, seem to contradict comments made by Best Buy’s new CEO Hubert Joly. He recently claimed that the prevalence of “showrooming”—where consumers head into shops to check out goods before ultimately buying online—has been blown out of proportion.

Maybe that contradiction is just reflective of the conundrum all big-box retailers face: they need to keep up with online retailers, but they don’t want to lose sight of what once made them successful. That’s a tough call.

Either way, price matching would inevitably draw in more custom. Would you buy something at Best Buy instead of ordering online, all prices being equal? [WSJ]

Image by Lynn Watson /

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Friday, October 12th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

An Enormous Chinese Price War Backfired For Everybody Involved


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Some of China’s largest retailers are facing an official investigation for deceptive sales practices after a recent price war spiraled out of control.  

At the Wall Street Journal, Laurie Burkitt reports that one company’s promotion drove a race to the bottom. From the piece:     

Beijing Jingdong sparked the latest price war last month after Chief Executive Liu Qiangdong said on his microblogging site that he would dispatch 5,000 agents to check prices at rival outlets and would undercut their prices at least 10%. Suning and Gome responded by agreeing to offer consumers lower prices on the companies’ e-commerce sites.

It worked at first; Beijing Jingdong’s sold upwards of 250 million yuan worth of goods in three hours.

But then the competing offers spread to Chinese social media and snowballed to the point where companies were apparently unable to offer stated discounts and ran out of items, sparking widespread anger. 

China has many consumers, but not much in the way of consumer protection. Pressure on these retailers from slumping demand and rising inflation mean they occasionally resort to dubious pricing practices.

It’s a sign what’s at times still an awkward hybrid economy, even as China moves towards surpassing the United States as the world’s largest economy. 

Rapidly changing prices are becoming an inevitable part of online retail. Combining that with brick and mortar outlets and the sheer size of China’s burgeoning consumer class created a complete disaster.

See also: Here’s What Led To Explosive Growth For Chinese And Indian Entrepreneurs

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Thursday, September 6th, 2012 news No Comments

More Evidence That The iPhone 5 Is Going To Have A Very Thin Screen (AAPL)


artist render of iphone 5 white

For months, there have been rumors that the next iPhone would have a thinner screen. Several reports have said that Apple’s supply partners were developing a new process called in-cell technology, which integrates touch screen sensors directly into the LCD screen, thereby eliminating a layer from the screen.

Now, we have the biggest proof yet that this is in fact happening.

LG confirmed during a press event on Wednesday that the company is now mass producing new display panels that use this in-cell technology, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We had some hard times (in developing the new in-cell technology) at first…but it seems those hard times have finally ended,” said Han Sang-beom, LG Display’s CEO, according to The Journal. “The in-cell technology is the industry’s latest development. (But) we will be able to supply the panels without any fail.”

LG has supplied display panels for Apple products in the past, and previous reports claimed that LG would be one of several companies producing the new thinner screens for the next iPhone. Given that LG’s announcement comes just a couple weeks before Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone, it seems a pret! ty safe bet that the screens are for that.

So, what will a thinner iPhone screen actually mean for users? Two things, probably:

  • A thinner phone, overall.
  • A more expensive repair, if the screen breaks. That’s because the touch sensors will be built into the glass. If you crack an iPhone 4 screen, you can keep using your phone. That probably won’t be the case with the iPhone 5.

A thinner screen may also make more room for a bigger battery.

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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

How Apple Can Upend Mobile Payments With The iPhone 5… (AAPL)


smartphone use in storesThe biggest new feature on the iPhone 5 may be a relatively under-reported one: the installation of a Near-Field Communications (NFC) chip that would allow the iPhone 5 to process mobile payments.

The Wall Street Journal recently detailed the high-level debate Apple executives are currently having over whether and how to do just that. 

In a recent report, BI Intelligence explores the state of mobile payments, explaining how NFC differs from other solutions in the market, and analyzing how Apple has a unique opportunity to own NFC and upend the mobile payments market. 

Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today>>

Here’ s why Apple — and only Apple — could make NFC work: 

  • But, NFC suffers from the chicken-and-egg problem: Retailers will not add NFC receivers to their point-of-sale systems until they see an economic rationale to do so — that is, until enough consumers are paying with NFC or want to pay with NFC. Meanwhile, consumers will not see the point of using NFC until there are enough receivers for it. This is a very large network effect to overcome.
  • Apple is therefore uniquely able turn NFC into a viable payments solution: Hundreds of millions of consumers have accounts with Apple and already use them to purchase goods. That consumer power, combined with strong iPhone 5 sales, would give Apple a great shot at bringing big retailers along with their move to NFC. NFC would then have a chance to suddenly reach critical mass all at once, and Apple would be in an incredibly strong position in the sizable and growing mobile payments space.

In full, the report:

For full access to the report sign up for a free trial subscription today.

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 news No Comments

How Chobani Founder Hamdi Ulukaya Unleashed The Greek Yogurt Craze Upon America


Hamdi Ulukaya chobani greek yogurt

The Chobani brand is widely credited with starting the Greek yogurt craze in the U.S.

Consumers have gone nuts for it since the product hit shelves in 2007, and Chobani has grown into a massive force.

Turkish native Hamdi Ulukaya is the man behind Chobani. The 40-year-old ran a modest cheese company in New York state before getting into the yogurt business.

Now, the company is the No. 3 maker of non-frozen yogurt in the U.S., raking in about $750 million in sales, according to Symphony IRI. The only ones ahead of it are industry titans Yoplait (owned by General Mills) and Dannon (owned by Danone).

And it all started with one snap decision.

Ulukaya didn’t come to the U.S. from Turkey in 1995 to make yogurt — he had a very different plan.

“I came from a family of farmers who made cheese and yogurt, but that was the furthest thing from my mind at that time,” he told Forbes. “I came here for education, to learn English, to learn business.”

That changed once he saw the opportunity. Ulukaya had always thought that American yogurt brands were “horrible,” and thought if he made something better, people would flock to it.

In 2005, Ulukaya received a direct mail ad that said, “Fully equipped yogurt factory for sale.”

Ulukaya initially threw away the ad, but decided the next day that he wanted to buy the former Kraft Foods plant in Columbus, N.Y. It took him five months to come up with the funds to do it.

He bought it using less than $1 million in loans, including one from the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Everybody around me thought I was nuts,” he told the WSJ. “Here was this huge company, Kraft, getting out of this plant. If there was value in it, why would they close it? But you just have a gut feeling you can do something.”

It took 18 months to come up with the Chobani recipe.

“I wanted to make sure the product was perfect because I only had one shot and it had to work,” Ulukaya told the Wall Street Journal

He worked with his sixth employee — a “master yogurt maker” and family friend from Turkey — to create it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 news No Comments

This GM Ad Cancellation Is Big, Bad News (FB)


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In what should come as a shock to potential investors, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, GM, has announced that it is pulling a $10 million campaign from Facebook…because the ads don’t work.

The effectiveness of Facebook ads has always been a big question-mark, with some data suggesting that the ads just don’t perform well.

According to Sharon Terlep, Shayndi Rice, and Suzanne Vranica of the Wall Street Journal, GM decided to pull the ads after meeting with Facebook executives and coming away unconvinced that they were effective.

GM currently spends $40 million a year on its Facebook presence.

Importantly, however, only $10 million of that spending goes went to Facebook.

The other $30 million goes to pay ad agencies and others to create content for Facebook and maintain GM’s pages and presence on Facebook.

In other words, GM has just killed the only part of its Facebook advertising presence that it was paying Facebook for.

Here’s the key section of the WSJ article:

Asked about the move, GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick said the auto maker, “is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook, although the content is effective and important.” Content refers to the unpaid Facebook pages many companies use to promote their products.

GM, started to re-evaluate its Facebook strategy earlier this year after its marketing team began to question the effectiveness of the ads. GM marketing executives, including Mr. Ewanick, met with Facebook managers to address concerns about the site’s effectiveness and left unconvinced advertising on the website made sense, according to people familiar with GM’s thinking.

Importantly, GM’s skepticism about Facebook is not due to a skepticism about digital advertising overall. GM spends about $300 million a year on digital brand advertising–just not on Facebook.

The growth of Facebook’s advertising business has slowed sharply in recent quarters, and the business achieved growth of only 37% year over year in Q1.

Advertiser skepticism may be one reason for this.

facebook google yahoo revenueAlthough some people are convinced that Facebook will eventually be a bigger company than Google, there is very little evidence to support this contention. At the same time, there is much to suggest that this conclusion is simply unwarranted:

  • Facebook is growing significantly more slowly than Google was at this stage of its development
  • Advertising on Facebook, however well-targeted, is like advertising on walls at a party (people are there to socialize, not buy stuff). Advertising on Google, meanwhile, is advertising to people who have explicitly expressed interest in your product (See: “Like Hell Facebook Is Killing Google“)

Facebook just rolled out a suite of new impressive-looking ad products, which will include large ads in users’ news feeds. These new units seemed to be well-received by advertisers, at least to the extent that they were excited about hearing more about them.

But GM appears to have gone to the trouble to hear a lot about them–and still came away unimpressed.

The loss of a $10 million deal obviously won’t dent the ~$5 billion of revenue Facebook is expected to generate this year. But the loss of lots of clients like GM will begin to dent it. And for a company whose growth rate is already decelerating, there’s no way this can be construed as good news.

SEE ALSO: Sorry, Facebook Fans, These Numbers Just Aren’t That Impressive

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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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