One of the few things Apple lovers and haters agree on is the value of Steve Jobs. Whether he’s the man who singlehandedly turned a troubled IT company into a cult that surpassed Microsoft in market capitalisation or a snake worshipper, no one doubts his skill as a marketeer. The latest hot product on the market is the man himself. Unlike that of David Ogilvy, the biography of the man “whose health affects the stock market” is not written by its protagonist. Unsurprisingly, that trifle doesn’t get in the way of its success- 9 months before hitting the bookshelves, the book is already a bestseller. For those who cannot wait until next March, the savvy people of Bluewater Productions have crafted a comic version, out this August.
Tattoos, Facebook and Viral Disasters
It started like any other act of madness of late- a woman has tattooed the pictures of 152 of her closest Facebook friends on her arm. Seems to be a logical step up- naming one’s child “Facebook” is so last season, the world moves on. Once the tattoo turned out to merely be a viral marketing stunt, I sighed in relief. Despite causing quite a stir, the campaign didn’t do Facebook many favours. If it was meant to fix May’s PR disaster, the company should take a closer look at its marketing department.
New Retail Concept by Cheil
Marketeers aspire to generate new ideas- develop brands, change perceptions, break stereotypes and so on and so forth. The most obvious embodiment of our work is advertising. Whether it’s the 30 second clips you see on TV, the print ads that subsidise glamourous glossy magazines, the web banners or radio jingles. The general perception is that marketeers make people want to buy stuff. Usually stuff no-one needs, but that’s beside the point. The work the South Korean office of Cheil Worldwide did for Tesco is unique. The ultimate criterion of success in advertising is sale figures and in the case of Tesco Homeplus online sales went up 130%. However the real achievement is far greater. Cheil has developed a shopping concept that may be the future for purchasing goods, groceries or otherwise.
Apple Breaks up with Samsung
It was good while it lasted: the consequence of a series of legal disputes over intellectual rights appears to be the end of an era of collaboration between Samsung and Apple. This month the Californians not only filed another suit against the Korean maker, this time in their native Seoul no less; rumour has it that Apple is “most likely” to source the next generation of their processors from a new supplier.
Apple loses patent suit
June 14th will go down in history. After almost two years of fierce legal battles, Apple has lost the war. According to the settlement the company will award Nokia a one-off payment as well as royalties. The exact sums are kept confidential but considering the Finnish maker was demanding royalties on all iPhones sold worldwide, it is safe to say that Nokia’s shareholders will be having a good year.
iPhone4 off the chain
Lots of iPhone news. First and foremost, the new model will not see the light of day this summer. Breaking with several years of tradition, Apple now looks set to deliver the gadget in the last quarter of 2011. For any other company, a delay like this would be seen as a blow but the Californian wizards are capable of making money even from setbacks. On June 14th the unlocked iPhone4 hit American stores. In one fell swoop, Apple boosted falling sales, pleased international travellers (now able to use local SIM cards) and sweetened the relationship between AT&T and The Federal Communications Commission ahead of the T-Mobile merger. All that without losing any future sales- a purchase of the unlocked iPhone4 will not necessary get in the way of obtaining the new version on contract.
Clouds over iCloud
Just two days after Apple unveiled iCloud, a student from Birmingham claimed the service is based on an app he created and the IT giant rejected from their official App Store a year ago. The story of the world’s largest IT company infamous for reprimanding competitors to “create their own original technology, not steal ours” made surprisingly few headlines, and was shortly followed by a predictable suit filed by a company named iCloud Communications, over the use of the iCloud name. Avoiding feeding the media fire, Apple is calmly migrating clients of the unsuccessful MobileMe platform to iCloud. And they called Bill Gates evil…
Facebook Losing Cool
June was a month of revelations. In an interview given to CNBC, David Dietze, the President and Chief Investment Strategist at Point View Financial Service, discouraged investors from following Facebook’s listings plans valuing the company at $100 billion. Considering Facebook’s slump in users already has its own name, a valuation of 25 times its advertising revenue that would make the social network one of the largest companies in the world, would indeed seem somewhat ambitious.
Internet Access has Become a Fundamental Right
The United Nations has declared Internet access a human right, and disconnecting people from it to be against international law. Considering the developments of the last few months, the news falls into the realm of politics rather than technology. Unlikely to be taken seriously by those who enforce internet blockades to silence opposition, the report will surely cause cheering in the post-Napster community: it “considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
A Billion Client Company
According to ComScore, over one billion people worldwide visited Google in May. In times of economic instability I am so used to reading about billions owed and spent that it took me a while to comprehend the magnitude of the event. A billion people is roughly a half of the world population with internet access. In other words, every second person with internet access googled something in May. A monument to man’s intellect, the company that didn’t even exist 15 years ago has come a long way. Naturally, it’s hard to make an omelette without breaking some eggs; Jay Greene of CNET has counted Google’s enemies.
The Hackers of Might and Magic
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. At the beginning of the month the White House formulated a new cybersecurity strategy, allowing them to “respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as to any other threat to the country”, and thus reserving the right to use all means including military force. The waterfall of hacks by LulzSecurity that followed the event is pretty hilarious for a bystander but probably not so much for the gentlemen in charge of victims’ internet security. Sony appears to be the first prominent casualty. Losing over a million of its entertainment website’s, SonyPictures.com, user passwords amongst other private information was just a warm up. A week later the hackers published 54 megabytes of the company’s software source code.
What followed next will not be easily forgotten: the hacks of the FBI affiliate and the CIA resources, culminating in a breach of the intranet of the US Senate, leaving a timely message: “Is this an act of war, gentlemen?” Having made enough serious people seriously annoyed, Lulz Security have announced their dispansion. Considering the group’s behaviour so far, the number of people they have upset and the initial reaction of the IT community- no one took the declaration too seriously. Jerry Brito of TIME looks at the curious case of digital jesters.
Centenarian with a Bite
IBM was founded a hundred years ago – the year the world first celebrated International Women’s Day, Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole and the Mona Lisa went missing from the Louvre. To put things in perspective, Nino Rota was born and Gustav Mahler died in 1911. It was time before time; the epoch before the World Wars, the discovery of penicillin and the invention of Band-Aid. Commemorating the centenarian, The New Yorker has put together a slide show on the history of the company.
In times when Microsoft is forced to lead the life of a senile patriarch in the shadow of a charismatic turtlenecked leader, Windows 8 seems to be the long awaited panacea. It could become the fountain of youth, protecting company’s future for years to come. Ever since the presentation of Windows 7, enthusiasts have been fantasising about the next generation of the operating system. The leaked Build 7989 has revealed a number of interesting new features and aesthetic additions, bringing the discussion to the boiling point.
To what extent are our decisions truly ours? According to various studies, the things we eat, drink, touch, hold and even sit on at the time of decision-making substantially influence our opinion. The new study by Professor Tuk of the University of Twente (The Netherlands) challenges the established theory of ego depletion, according to which the resources of self-control are finite and in denying ourselves a burger for lunch we run the risk of snapping at our boss or shooting a neighbour.
Eliminate Biases in Team Decision Making
For those who find the prose of More Intelligent Life too populist, Harvard Business Review has published an extensive article on cognitive biases in decision making. Written by Daniel Kahneman (with Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony), a senior scholar at Princeton University and a Nobel Prize laureate, it features a 12-question checklist, intended to spot the biases of teams making recommendations.
From England with Love
I came to London seven years ago, having studied in several European schools and universities, lived in Denmark and Germany and consider myself to be quite open-minded. Amongst the many things I love about the United Kingdom, there are several that, mildly put, I just don’t understand. National cuisine is certainly one of them. When I stumbled upon this recipe for the perfect English breakfast I realised that despite the passion of its author, I am a lost cause and should stick to my sashimi. For those amongst you who appreciate heavy meals at 9:30 a.m., Simon Hopkinson provides six steps to create the ultimate full English.