Why are cheap startups so expensive?

By Kevin Kelleher
January 13, 2012

Starting up a Web company is never easy, but at least it’s not as expensive as it used to be. Instead of buying and maintaining an IT infrastructure, as they had to do in the dotcom boom, startups now turn to cloud server services like Amazon’s. Instead of costly proprietary software, OpenOffice and Google offer cheaper (or free) options. Instead of paying office rent, employees can work from home. And the viral power of social media can bring new customers with little marketing. Open-source projects and the durability of Moore’s Law promise to lower costs even further.

Tech wrap: Era of .yournamehere domains arrives

January 12, 2012

ICANN, the body that oversees the Internet’s naming system, gave the green light for organizations to begin applying to name and run their own domains instead of entrusting them to the operators of .com, .org, .gov and others. Up to 2,000 applications were expected for the so-called “top-level” international domains. At $185,000 per application, estimated start-up costs of $500,000 and annual running costs of about $100,000, a .yournamehere domain will be out of reach of the smallest companies and organizations. But applications were expected from cities or regions with strong identities, such as .london and .mumbai, from companies aiming to build a business based on new domains, and from community identifiers like .eco or .gay.

IBM scientists create smallest magnetic memory bit with 12 atoms

January 12, 2012

In IBM’s Almaden Research Center  in San Jose, California Andreas Heinrich gets to explore. His quest: Demonstrate that very few atoms are needed to store information. Why would anyone care? Because size matters.

16 year-old makes $6200 in Dec from her e-books on Amazon

January 12, 2012

Amazon.com said on Thursday that its new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library was off to a strong start, but the largest Internet retailer may have buried the lead.

Shadowing a fund manager at CES

January 11, 2012

More than 140,000 people descended (or will descend) on Las Vegas this week to kick the tires on a new wave of consumer electronics gadgets. Of those, a relatively small contingent (estimared? 3,500) are portfolio managers and other financial professionals earnestly seeking to place informed bets on the Next Big Thing.

Tech wrap: Microsoft presses pause on Web TV

January 11, 2012

Microsoft has put its talks with media companies about an online subscription service for TV shows and movies on hold, according to people familiar with the discussions. The company had been in intense talks with potential programming partners for over a year and was hoping to roll out the service in the next few months. But it pulled back after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model Microsoft envisaged, the sources said.  Microsoft is still working to distribute TV shows over the Web, focusing on delivering programming via its Xbox gaming system to existing cable subscribers.

Familiar script: Home entertainment spending slips

January 11, 2012

Spending on home viewing of movies and television, on a downward spiral in recent years, fell again in 2011 as sales of DVDs and rentals at video stores dropped.

Nokia’s Weber devises U.S. plan of attack

January 10, 2012

If Nokia’s big challenge this year is getting back in with US consumers and operators, it should be a busy 2012 for Chris Weber.

Tech wrap: Nokia throne in Samsung’s sights

January 10, 2012

Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Las Vegas the company overtook Nokia in handset revenue terms in its latest reported quarter and was confident of topping the Finnish group in shipments this year. Samsung’s bullish forecast is in line with some analysts, including Royal Bank of Scotland, but on average analysts have expected Nokia to keep its lead on the market. According to the latest polls by Reuters, Nokia was expected to sell 418 million phones in 2011, versus Samsung’s 320 million, the gap narrowing this year to 388 million versus 359 million.

Google customizes search results with a smattering of your own content

January 10, 2012

Google rolled out a big change to its search engine on Tuesday that will allow people to find private items, such as online family photos, in their search results.