Reuters blog archive
Google has agreed to pay $500 million to settle a probe into ads it accepted for online Canadian pharmacies selling drugs in the United States, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. The forfeiture is one of the largest ever in the United States, according to the DOJ. It represents Google's revenue from Canadian pharmacy advertisements to U.S. customers through Google's AdWords program and Canadian pharmacies' revenue from U.S. sales.
Apple won another battle in the mobile tech patent wars on Wednesday when a Dutch court ruled that Samsung Electronics must stop marketing three of its smartphone models in some European countries. Apple, which has conquered the high end of the phone market with its iPhone, argued that Samsung had infringed on three of its patents. The court ruled that Samsung smartphones Galaxy S, S II and Ace breached just one of Apple's patents.
BlackBerry users tired of the narrow selection of apps available to them should welcome news that models expected next year will be able to run apps designed for Google's Android mobile platform. According to a Bloomberg report, which cites three unnamed sources, Research in Motion plans to make its forthcoming BlackBerry models Android-compatible in an attempt to boost sales of its smartphone models and win back consumers. The Android Market currently offers more than 250,000 apps, nearly six times as many as RIM's own app store, the article notes.
Reversing its view from a year ago, a federal appeals court said Verizon Wireless customers must resolve disputes over alleged fraudulent cellphone charges individually through arbitration rather than as a class. Some consumer advocates say arbitration favors companies by making it too costly for consumers to bring small claims.
RIM showed off a new version of its BlackBerry Bold phone with upgraded software, aiming to regain its stride after last week's profit warning and other recent stumbles. RIM also said it will manage corporate and government communications sent using Apple's iPhone and iPad, and devices running Google's Android software, through its secure BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
The BlackBerry Bold Touch, the model most geared toward the business market, has a 2.8-inch screen and retains the company's trademark physical qwerty keyboard with a 1.2 GHz processor. It will ship with a near-field communication (NFC) chip, allowing the phone to be used as a mobile wallet, executives said at the annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. The Bold Touch running on Blackberry OS 7 will be released sometime this summer. The new OS won't be supported on older devices, the company said.
Ahhh, Super Bowl Monday. The hangovers. The salsa stains on the sofa. The dreams of winning your office betting pool crushed. And the ad reviews. Yes, today is the day when everyone -- many with little or no connection to advertising, football or tastemaking -- puts out a list of the top Super Bowl commercials. Some are better than others. USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter is probably the best known (and this morning had Bud Light's Dog Sitter ad ranked tops). But two others that are very good gauges of the winners/losers of the Ad Bowl are TiVo and the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review.
They take very different approaches to rankings. TiVo ranks the most engaging moments "using aggregated, anonymous, second-by-second audience measurement data" while Kellogg goes with the panel approach that asks viewers to grade ads based on "Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net equity."
Sure it does other things, rents video games, sells gadgets and point-of-sale popcorn, but most of us hear the name Blockbuster and do a quick mental check -- "did I return that rental copy of "To Sleep With Anger"? (Ok, maybe that's just me.)
TiVo, the small company with the big brand name and tiny marketing budget, has long used CES as a primary showcase for its new products and initiatives.
This year we caught up with CEO Tom Rogers, where he talked about the pace of business discussions at CES, and how the video industry needs to learn from the mistakes of the music industry regarding "responding to strategic challenges."
Blockbuster got into the set-top box game right in time for the holiday season with a new digital media player that brings fewer but newer titles from the Web to TV six months after arch rival Netflix launched its $99 Roku set-top box. Netflix followed that launch with similar partnerships with Tivo, Samsung, LG Electronics and Microsoft.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. While the number of people who watch movies or TV via the Web is still small, media and technology executives believe a host of new technologies will make Web to TV a mainstream staple. Vudu already sells a $299 set-top box that lets users download TV shows, while Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 game consoles can also be used to download programming from the Web for TV viewing.
Jerry Seinfeld, a huge marketing budget, and well-respected agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky would seem a recipe for success. Unfortunately for Microsoft, which kicked off a $300 million advertising campaign last night, the first commercial debuted to lukewarm reviews.
Microsoft is hoping to improve the image of its Windows Vista operating system and take some of the sting out of those popular "Mac vs. PC" advertisements run by Apple. It hired Seinfeld to help, and the first commercial featured the comedian and Bill Gates at a shoe store.
A couple of years ago, if you had suggested TiVo and DirecTV would ever kiss and make up -- after DirecTV dumped TiVo in favor of DVRs by NDS (then a cousin in the News Corp Family) -- you might have said it was as likely as "90210" coming back to TV.
Well one day after the new "90210" premiered on the WB network, TiVo and DirecTV said they are working on a new HD TV set-top box. The agreement puts TiVo in a position to turn a bigger portion of DirecTV's 16+ million customers into TiVo subscribers, in a deal that TiVo says will reap more in fees than previous agreements.
Once again, record companies are questioning the wisdom of selling music on iTunes. This time, the griping shows up the Wall Street Journal.
Basically, the argument is that music companies are starting to believe that selling single songs through Apple's iTunes is bad for the industry (an industry, by the way, that is badly depressed and counts heavily on iTunes for sales and promotion).
Good news for fans of guilty pleasure shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Felicity" or "Dawson's Creek" - TheWB.com is about to be up and running. With those shows and others, the website hopes to bring in those 18-34 year-olds so loved by advertisers.
Thing is, the website exists even though the television network doesn't. Recall the WB was folded into UPN a couple of years ago to create the CW. (Warner Brothers, however, is still one of the major TV studios).