MediaFile

Verizon throws weight behind Motorola’s Droid Razr for the holidays

(Correction: The name “Droid” was originally misspelled in the headline.)

Verizon Wireless is bringing its considerable marketing and promotional resources to bear on the Droid Razr from Motorola Mobility, kicking off an advertising blitz this week for a gadget that the once-mighty cellphone maker hopes will make a splash this feastive season.

The campaign launched ironically just a few hours after Verizon’s executives were honored guests at a splashy event to launch ReZound, a rival phone from HTC (pictured on the left).  “Today we’re focused predominantly focused on Rezound“, Verizon Wireless spokesman Howard Waterman said.

But he went on to describe how Verizon Wireless will  kick off sci-fi style teaser television ads for the latest Motorola phone that same evening.  While Verizon is  offering several new phones for the holidays, it plans to promote Motorola’s ahead of rivals Apple Inc’s  iPhone, the Samsung  Galaxy Nexus – and HTC’s Rezound.

Razr “is clearly going to be the phone we’ll focus on and have tremendous adertising weight on in the fourth quarter,” said Waterman.

Tech wrap: U.S. spies Chinese and Russian cyber spies

China and Russia are using cyber espionage to steal U.S. trade and technology secrets to bolster their own economic development, which poses a threat to U.S. prosperity and security, a U.S. intelligence report titled “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace,” said. Intelligence services, private companies, academic institutions and citizens of dozens of countries target the United States, the report said. But it only named China and Russia. “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” the report said.

Online retailer Amazon.com added library to the  list of services it offers. Kindle tablet owners with the Prime membership can choose from thousands of books to borrow for free on a Kindle device, including more than 100 current and former New York Times bestsellers, as frequently as a book a month, the company said. Amazon will initially offer slightly more than 5,000 titles in the library, including more than 100 current and former national bestsellers, such as Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Eastman Kodak warned that it must raise $500 million in new debt or complete a multibillion dollar patent sale to survive the next 12 months. The photography company also posted dismal third-quarter results, with cash holdings down 10 percent from the second quarter, and it projected deeper losses this year as new printers and digital cameras failed to gain traction. Kodak hired investment bank Lazard in July to help it sell more than 1,100 digital imaging patents, which analysts have estimated could be worth as much as $2 billion to $3 billion.

Tech wrap: Sony suffers as TV picture dims

Sony warned of a fourth straight year of losses, with its television unit alone set to lose $2.2 billion on tumbling demand and a surging yen, sinking its U.S. shares and raising concerns about the viability of its high-profile TV business. Investors had expected Sony to reduce its profit forecast, but not flag a swing to massive losses.

The maker of Bravia TVs, Vaio computers and PlayStation game consoles cut its sales forecast for TVs, cameras and DVD players and said it may report a 90 billion yen ($1.1 billion) net loss for the current financial year, scrapping its earlier net profit estimate of 60 billion yen.Sony’s U.S. listed shares closed down nearly 6 percent.

A small Spanish tablet maker won a patent infringement battle with Apple in a rare victory against the tech giant in its global defense of markets for its iPads, a court document showed. Spain’s Nuevas Tecnologias y Energias Catala (NT-K) successfully appealed a 2010 injunction from a local court to ban the import of its tablet computer — manufactured in China — to Spain. NT-K, from the Valencia region of Spain, is demanding compensation from Apple for losses during the ban of its product and is suing the U.S. giant for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

Tech wrap: New Nook Color on the way?

Barnes & Noble sent out invites on Monday to a Nook-related event coming up on November 7. Most tech watchers expect the company to use the occasion to unveil a new version of its Android-powered Nook Color tablet e-reader, which could sport a better screen and upgraded hardware.

As CNet points out, the most anticipated question will be how much Barnes & Noble decides to charge for the new device. “With the Kindle Fire on sale at $199 (it ships November 15), there’s some pressure on B&N to come close to matching that price, though Amazon is allegedly losing money on each Fire it sells (our sources suggest the Fire currently costs around $220 to build). With that being the case, Barnes & Noble is more likely to come out with a faster, more powerful Nook Color that costs $249, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see it at $299,” writes David Carnoy.

Netflix has added a slew of new TV show episodes to its streaming video catalogue through an expanded licensing deal with ABC Television Group, a division of Disney. In addition to extending licensing for popular ABC shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” that it already offers, Netflix added ABC’s “Switched at Birth,” “Alias” and episodes from past season of Disney Channel’s animated series “Kick Buttowski” to its streaming selection. Amazon.com also unveiled a content agreement with Disney on Monday that will let Amazon Prime subscribers stream shows from ABC studios, Disney Channel, ABC Family and Marvel.

In the Larry Page era, wither the splashy Google product launch?

Remember the days when Google had big splashy product launches?

It almost seems like a bygone era, with the Web search giant now appearing to favor a more muted approach to product unveilings.

The change in style may reflect the change at the top, with Larry Page, Google’s famously laconic co-founder, taking the CEO reins in April.

Consider Friday’s unveiling of the revamped Google TV service. All the key media outlets were pre-briefed on the news ahead of time, resulting in the usual blanket of press coverage. But there was none of the fanfare that accompanied the rollout of the first version of Google TV, during which CEOs from partners such as Intel, Sony and other companies took the stage at Google’s developer conference last year.

How to generate media value: Fire your CEO

Some outfit called General Sentiment has set about the task of evaluating the media value of top global brands and then ranking those companies accordingly. Some brands made their way up the list because they ousted their head honcho.

To compile the rankings General Sentiment monitors the news, blogs, tweets and other social media for a brand’s “buzz” — negative or positive — to calculate the estimated cost to generate the same media exposure through traditional advertising.

For the latest list, Google claims the spot as the “top brand” with $917 million worth of media value during the third quarter ahead of Apple

Do tech giants really need a tax holiday?

By Kevin Kelleher
The views expressed are his own.

I want a new MacBook Pro. And I’d really love to buy one. But Apple won’t let me.

It’s not that I can’t afford it – the cash is just sitting there in my account. And it’s not that I don’t want Apple to have the money. I’d love to do my share to create jobs at One Infinite Loop or to reward Apple shareholders for their faith in the company’s impressive profit growth. No, Apple won’t let me buy a Macbook Pro because it expects me to pay $2,500. And I simply don’t want to pay that much, so I’m asking Apple to lower the price. And they should accept that; after all, $500 is better than $0.

I even went into an Apple store and asked the blue-shirted genius who greeted me if Apple would part with a 17-inch Macbook Pro for $500. He looked at me like I was crazy. Which is pretty much what I expected, but I figured I had a shot. Because I was simply following the example set by Apple and other big-cap, cash-rich tech giants who have done an end-run around tax laws. If Apple can ask for a tax holiday to bring its overseas profits home, why can’t I ask for a Macbook holiday so I can bring a new laptop home?

Tech wrap: Samsung, Google scream for Ice Cream Sandwich

Samsung and Google unveiled the first smartphone running on Google’s latest version of the Android operating system, dubbed “Ice Cream Sandwich”, which combines software used in tablets and smartphones, as they step up competition against Apple. The high-end model Galaxy Nexus was unveiled at an event in Hong Kong, after being delayed last week as a tribute to the late Steve Jobs.  “This will be our strategic product for year-end holiday season, as (Apple’s) iPhone 4S just came into the market,” Samsung’s JK Shin said.

The Galaxy Nexus features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, super AMOLED HD 4.65-inch display, face recognition to unlock its screen,the ability to share content by tapping another phones equipped with a Near Field Communication chip, a camera boasting no shutter lag, and even a barometer. The global launch kicks off in November.

Twitter is looking for a director to bolster its board’s business credentials and diversity, and candidates include a former Google executive, a person familiar with the matter said. The search is in its early stages. But some names that have come up include Mariam Naficy, chief executive officer of paper goods company Minted.com, and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, chief executive officer at fashion retail site Joyus and the former president of Google’s Asia-Pacific and Latin American operations, the person told Reuters.

The Apple doesn’t fall far from the threes

What goes up must come down. Right?

Well, maybe. But for those of you who think Apple is going the way of Netflix, or even Google for that matter — the former got severely punished over cavalierly raising prices and for Qwikster, the latter lost its steroidal stock mojo a few years ago — I’d think twice before I follow the herd to the exits.

You want to get wallow in some really bad tech news? Check out Yahoo’s dismal quarter. There’s an Exedrin headache for ya.

Apple has dipped back into the three hundreds and off historical highs. But with a mundane price to earnings ratio of 16:07 the Cupertino company hardly seems a candidate for bursting bubble syndrome. Compare that to Amazon, whose P/E is is a whopping 105.3, and even Google, which also prints money but tips the scales at 20.72.

What’s in store for Dropbox after receiving a big pile of cash

Dropbox, one of the most watched companies in Silicon Valley, officially announced on Monday that it raised an astounding $250 million in a Series B round led by Index Ventures, reportedly valuing the virtual file cabinet company at a whopping $4 billion.  This massive round stands in contrast to the first bit of money raised — about  $7 million –  from early investors including Sequoia Partners, Accel Partners, and Hadi and Ali Partovi.*

Founded in 2007, Dropbox is virtual storage that allows consumers to access documents, photos and videos from several devices.  So if you happen to snap a picture on your Android operated phone and store it to your Dropbox, you can pull that same photo on your iPad or laptop, for example. It eliminates the need for thumb drives or even email as long as you download a storage box on each device.

The company has about 45 million users. Dropbox provides a certain amount of storage for free before charging people for extra capacity. People can also get more storage by referring friends. Dropbox won’t reveal revenue or profit figures.