It has been a hard road for Palm's webOS. Since its unveiling in 2009, the first handset became Sprint's top-selling phone ever, until the HTC Evo 4G was released. After entering Verizon and AT&T's line-ups, it looked like webOS might be a big competitor in the smartphone war. After financial problems, Palm joined the HP family, for $1.2 billion, giving hope that HP could help get webOS back on track.
HP intended to install webOS on printers, as well as new handsets and tablets. Shortly after this announcement, rumors started that HP was interested in licensing webOS to other manufacturers. Then, HP CEO Leo Apotheker closed up webOS hardware, and threatened to do the same to all hardware.
After replacing the CEO, the decision was made to open source webOS, but to continue on as a hardware manufacturer. This week, however, the story gets ever weirder. HP Senior Vice President Martin Risau wrote,
We are no longer a consumer hardware brand, we are a different company with a focus on software, user experience, cloud, engineering and partnering.
Along with this conflicting statement comes the announcement about webOS's newest future. Hit the break to find out where webOS is headed next.
Back in February, Microsoft reinvented 1985 and redesigned their Windows logo to pay homage to their beginning days. The new Windows 8 logo looks modern and stunning without losing a feeling of nostalgia. This week, Microsoft completely redesigned the company logo to bring it to the year 2012 and, thankfully, got rid of the weird strike-through that they apparently thought was cool for 25 years.
With new products, new operating systems and a new vibe surrounding both Internet Explorer and the company as a whole, the re-branding makes sense. Microsoft said,
This wave of new releases is not only a re-imagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.
For more on the details of the logo, follow after the break.
For a while now we've been covering OnLive, the cloud gaming service. From their laggy beginnings to more recent mobile successes, things seemed to be heading on a steady upward path for the company. However, this week, it appears things have plummeted faster than anyone could have predicted. Rumors were circling early in the week that OnLive had actually fired somewhere between 150-200 of their employees out of the blue. Staff were sending in emails to reporters and posting all over the social media outlets about what was happening inside the company. Brian Jaquet, a company spokesperson, even released a few statements saying that the company "is not going out of business" and we shouldn't have anything to worry about. Perhaps the mass firing was a mistake by some crazy computer bug that was mad about the ending in Mass Effect 3 and just had to take it out on gaming developers.
What happened later in the week? Well, OnLive has gone on record to say that not only did they fire 200 employees, but the company has filed bankruptcy protection and been acquired by a newly-formed company, but told us to be assured that all systems are still go. Usually, all of those things lead to signs of disaster and people should be running for the exits. OnLive seems to think all of this could be a good thing. They said,
We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive's apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.'s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.
We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed, and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive's businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement.
So what's going on now? Where does this actually leave OnLive? We've been keeping tabs on the happenings and things have been developing all week long. Fortunately for you, our loyal reader, we have the completely updated story, all in one place, after the break.
For those of you with children who have a Netflix account and have been keeping up with how well the company's been doing lately, if you own an Xbox 360, you're going to be enjoying this piece of news from Major Nelson this week. All of my Xbox Live Gold subscribers with active Netflix subscriptions should have received an update if you've accessed the app sometime during the week. The update contains a recent update to the streaming service called "Just for Kids."
Children 12 and under now have a menu option just for them. This helps parents to choose kid-friendly programming with ease as the entire interface is done up specifically for children, complete with pictures of their favorite characters from the various kid networks. On his blog, Major Nelson said,
"Just for Kids" consists of titles organized by easy-to-understand genres such as superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and girl power, featuring clear and simple descriptions of the plot of each title. And with Kinect for Xbox 360, all of your favorite entertainment on Netflix can be found by simply using your voice.
If you haven't updated your Netflix yet and want to see how this new channel will work, click after the break and check out the video.
News Corp has had some trouble as of late. In fact, it took $2.8 billion in charges in its quarterly earnings report. The company described their write-downs,
The charge consisted of a write-down of $1.5 billion of goodwill and a $1.3 billion write-down of the Company's indefinite-lived intangibles, principally related to the Company's publishing businesses, most significantly the Australian operations.
The important part of this announcement is the publishing businesses. One of the most notable publishing businesses that News Corp owns is The New York Times. The NYT owns a well-known but struggling website, About.com. One way NYT and News Corp plan on helping fix their costs is to sell-off About to Answers.com, the Q&A website for $270 million. While this isn't quite $2.8 billion, it could represent a change in business model, which is something NYT needs.
The problem here is that About is incredibly inexpensive to produce content for and has a lot of traffic. It would seem that the change that needs to happen is figuring out how to monetize the site, not sell it off. This isn't the first time News Corp has failed to monetize a popular website, however. Most notably, Myspace cost News Corp millions after failing to figure out how to compete with Facebook. A turnaround plan has been in place to get About back on track, but maybe News Corp just isn't cut out for the new media world. The company said about profitability,
While About is gaining momentum in its turnaround efforts, and we expect to build on that progress in the second half of the year, we have reduced our long-term display growth and profitability assumptions for the group.
It is a little close to home for us to see About have problems. The host of The Piltch Point on F5 Live, Avram Piltch, spent time at About in his editorial past, and it is always hard to see a company you put time into in trouble. Hopefully, under Answers.com's guidance, the site can regain its former glory.
When you source a project on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or one of 450 other international crowdsourcing websites, how do you know that anything the person is saying is possible? Sure, most of these sites provide certain securities to protect the funders from being tricked, but it doesn't protect against everything. For example, take a man who knows no practical skills about what might work on Kickstarter and have him offer to write a book about what might work on Kickstarter and launch a project to fund it on Kickstarter. That seems to be exactly what happened.
Glenn Fleishman, a freelance tech writer, decided he had covered crowdsourcing enough in his articles to write a book, so he launched Crowdfunding: a Guide to What Works and Why, a project for him to write a book about the topic he thought he knew. He produced his sales pitch video where he came across like he had just enough information to make the video and not quite write a book and put the project up on July 6th. On July 23rd, he canceled the project with no warning. He wrote on his blog,
I've opted today to suspend my book's crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter. The project is only a bit over 10% funded and unlikely to succeed. But I'm happy about it. Why? Have I gone crazy? No. I learned an enormous amount through this effort.
You certainly read that right. There's a lot more to read after the break, and I'm not asking for $25 to continue.