The Great Debate UK

from Breakingviews:

Apple needs more formal delegation of Jobs’ power

By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

NEW YORK -- Apple needs a more formal delegation of Steve Jobs' power. The tech giant's chief executive is handing day-to-day control to chief operating officer Tim Cook due to health issues. Yet he retains his CEO title. This is the third such move, and this time the handover is indefinite. However painful, a more formal transfer to an acting CEO would have been better.

Both the company and its shareholders can take comfort from the fact that the last two transfers -- also to Cook -- took place smoothly. Apple's operations showed no signs whatsoever of impairment under caretaker management. Cook has worked at Apple for more than a decade and has been COO for several years. He's clearly a safe pair of hands. Moreover, Jobs has promised to retain control over big strategic choices.

But Jobs' fitness is, sadly, an increasing concern. The company hasn't said exactly what the matter is, but this latest setback follows previous treatment for liver pancreatic cancer and an organ transplant. Furthermore, the open-ended nature of Jobs' current respite will add to the worry for employees and investors alike.

CES 2011 – Consumer Geek or Future Enterprise Insight

CES/

-Danny Wootton is director of innovation at Logica. The opinions expressed are his own.-

As ever with the Consumer Electronics Show, there has been a flurry of announcements of new technology and the latest must have gadgets.  However, depending on how you look at what comes out of this show and what your view is on the consumerisation of enterprise IT, then you can either think of the show a geek heaven or an insight to the technologies and tools we’ll all be using in our organisations in years to come.

from Breakingviews:

Apple still looks a bargain after $100 bln run

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

NEW YORK -- Large companies rarely grow fast due to their sheer size. Yet Apple increased sales by more than 50 percent in 2010. That sent the company's value up by an astonishing $100 billion to nearly $300 billion. The odds of the tech firm led by Steve Jobs repeating this wondrous performance are low. The shares still look a good bet, though. Apple's valuation looks oddly subdued once adjusted for its hulking cash pile.

from MediaFile:

Berners-Lee: Apple, Facebook are enemies of the web

2010 is a great time for the web. Innovation is thriving as new services and content flourish on smartphones and laptops, thanks in good part to industry leaders like Apple and Facebook.

But according to Tim Berners-Lee, - often called “ the father of the web” - the open and democratic structure of the web is threatened by sinister forces trying to redesign the web in ways that make it more closed for their own personal gain. These enemies of the web don't just include totalitarian governments. They include industry leaders like Apple and Facebook.

from Reuters Investigates:

Sleepy in Seattle — the future of Microsoft

Photo

MICROSOFT/SPECIAL-REPORTThe world's biggest software maker once inspired fear in tech land. Today it's mostly yawns. Is Microsoft no longer a growth company? Should Google be nervous, too? And are Steve Ballmer's days at the helm numbered?

Seattle correspondent Bill Rigby's special report has some answers.

from Breakingviews:

iPad’s destructive reach extends further faster

The iPad's destructive reach seems to be extending further and faster. Apple's tablet is taking off at a breakneck rate. Analysts now predict up to 40 million will be sold in 2011. With personal incomes and spending stagnant, it's looking like a zero-sum game in consumer electronics. Forget PCs and netbooks. The iPad will eat into camera and GPS device sales too.

How well the touch-screen gadget is really doing will become clear later this month when Apple reports its next set of quarterly results. But there are growing signs the company is selling way more of them than anyone outside Apple, or maybe even among Steve Jobs' inner circle, had been anticipating. It's clear the mini notebook computer market is being throttled. Netbook unit sales had been growing at more than 30 percent annually before the iPad was unleashed. Sales are now shrinking, according to market research firm NPD Group.

from Breakingviews:

At Apple the gadget, not content, is still king

At Apple the gadget, not content, is still king. Nearly every day brings a new contestant in the emerging battle for the attention of the American couch potato. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube all want to serve up content. While Apple also rents out video, its new TV device allows users to stream rival services. Unlike the other players in the fast-moving video web arena, Apple's still all about the hardware.

Apple used to call its TV efforts a hobby. That's no longer the case. It latest gadget, which allows Internet video to stream on television screens, is smaller and appears easier to control than Apple's first entry to the field. And the increased content available -- ranging from Netflix's film library to Hulu's collection of television shows -- makes it far more useful. By chopping the price to $99 the device is also far more affordable.

from Breakingviews:

E-book market will be hot, flat and crowded

The electronic book market is looking increasingly hot, flat and crowded. A vicious price war has broken out among producers of digital readers thanks to Apple's success with the iPad. Companies such as Amazon hope that selling tomes across multiple devices will fill the profit gap. But competition in e-book distribution is heating up and could pressure margins there, too.

Apple has sold more than 3 million iPads in about two-and-a-half months. While Amazon doesn't give figures, analysts think it has sold a similar number of its Kindle e-readers in two-and-a-half years.

from Breakingviews:

Apple takes another bite out of Nokia

Apple has taken another bite out of Nokia. As customers stampeded for the new iPhone, the Finnish cellphone giant warned of disappointing sales and operating margins. It lost another 9.7 percent, or about $3.5 billion, of its market capitalization on Wednesday. Nokia is increasingly at risk of becoming just a commoditized, low-margin manufacturer.

Nokia pinned the blame for its lower expectations on several causes: competition in high-end phones; the weak euro increasing the cost of goods sold; and a shift in product mix to low-margin devices. But it is smartphone competition that is really vexing the Finns.

“Stuff” deconstructs the year in gadgets

-Fraser Macdonald is the editor of Stuff. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Deciding on the Cool List turns the Stuff office into a maelstrom. Our Gadget Awards, held later in the year, involves a straightforward categorised decision process.

Phone of the Year, for example, is one of the phones launched in the past year that meets all of the awards criteria. Easy.

  •