Netbook name game

June 4, 2009

Netbook is a remarkably clear and memorable terrm as far as most computer industry jargon goes. Which is why, as with any hot product category, it’s hard for the computer industry to agree on exactly what it means.

Obama’s Googler draws fire

June 3, 2009

Forget about the Supreme Court nomination battle. President Barack Obama’s reported pick for the seemingly uncontroversial job of deputy chief technology officer is drawing fire.******A pair of consumer advocacy groups sent the White House a letter on Wednesday urging the administration not to appoint Google’s Andrew McLaughlin to the post, a move reported to be in works by several media outlets.******McLaughlin is Google’s director of global public policy. That means he has been “responsible for Google’s worldwide lobbying efforts,” said the letter from Consumer Watchdog and Center for Digital Democracy.******Obama has issued an executive order barring anyone who has worked as a lobbyist in the past two years from serving in a federal agency that they lobbied.******McLaughlin was last registered as a lobbyist in 2007, the groups said — that might soon avoid the two year ban on technical grounds, but it violates the intent of the ban. And the groups note that the statement of organization for Google’s political action committee from March 2009 lists McLaughlin as its assistant treasurer and its designated agent.******A Google spokesman said that McLaughlin was mistakenly listed as a lobbyist in 2007 and that Google filed an amended disclosure form in 2008 correcting the filing when the company realized that he did not meet the threshold for lobbyist, which includes spending 20 percent of an individual’s time in direct contact with members of Congress.******Google has proven to be a bit of a feeder to the Obama White House. Katie Stanton, the White House director of citizen participation, is a former Google project manager. Sonal Shah, the erstwhile head of global development at Google.org, now heads White House Office of Social Innovation.******And of course, Google CEO Eric Schmidt serves on Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.******Meanwhile, Google is the subject of various federal inquiries and investigations. The latest involves hiring practices among various Silicon Valley firms. ******There have been reports that some of the noise about Google’s ties to the White House bears the fingerprints of Google competitors, like Microsoft.******Consumer Watchdog and Center for Digital Democracy officials both said they have no affiliation or financing from Microsoft, or any other corporation.******CDD Executive Director Jeffrey Chester said he first learned of the potential McLaughlin appointment after receiving an unsolicited e-mail with a news article on the subject from a Microsoft “political person.” He said he would have seen the article anyway and has had no subsequent communication with the person.******The consumer groups say their beef with McLaughlin has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Googler.******”The problem is that he has been a lobbyist for the biggest digital marketing company in the world, and we believe no special-interest connected person should assume a position of vital important to the country’s future,” reads the letter.******”It would be just as inappropriate for a lobbyist from Microsoft, Yahoo or any other similar technology company to be appointed Deputy Chief Technology Officer.”******(Photo: Reuters)

First Bing ad airs tonight

June 3, 2009

Microsoft launches the first wave of the publicity campaign for its new search engine Bing tonight, with a prime time ad linking the recent financial chaos with small animals tapping on keyboards. At least that’s what it looks like:

Bad-a-bing! Microsoft unveils new search engine

May 28, 2009

The worst-kept secret in tech was finally made public as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer lifted the wraps off the company’s new search engine: Bing.

Twitter vs. Facebook — you make the call

May 27, 2009

The top brass from Twitter and Facebook have been all over the place in recent days, starting with the Reuters Global Technology Summit. No matter the venue or the executive, the questions are pretty much the same: Are you going to put the company up for sale? If not, when are you going public? And how on earth are you going to make money? And when?

Steve Ballmer’s “awesome” new Ford hybrid

May 26, 2009

Times are tough for car makers, so Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally is going the extra mile by delivering cars to customers himself.

Microsoft’s big man on campus

May 7, 2009

Steve Ballmer knows how to pack a house.

Stanford University’s Memorial Hall was filled to its almost 2,000 capacity on Wednesday, as the voluble Microsoft CEO took the stage.

Microsoft glams up MSN home page

April 22, 2009

Microsoft is trying out a series of new home pages for its MSN web portal in an effort to drum up some new — and likely younger — readers to attract advertisers.

What does Wall Street think of Yahoo the morning after?

April 22, 2009

The reaction to Yahoo’s earnings in the stock market this morning was relatively positive. Shares rose 2 percent right off the bat, but we’ll see what happens as the day rolls on. Meanwhile, here are what some Wall Streeters had to say about the quarter in various research reports.

Google still king of search, Microsoft grows faster

April 15, 2009

Google remains the undisputed leader in U.S. Internet searches, but Microsoft can claim it is the fastest-growing, according to the latest figures from digital tally-keeper comScore.