The UpStream (Page 286)

Skype Coming to Xbox - Maybe Next Generation

posted Saturday May 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Skype Coming to Xbox - Maybe Next Generation

I tend to not focus on rumor, but since it's almost time for E3 2012, let's do it. Microsoft recently posted a job opening on their website, looking for a "Skype for Xbox Program Manager Lead." If ever there was proof that Microsoft's acquisition of Skype last year was going to start paying off, this might be it.

According to the job post, it would appear that the goal is to incorporate Skype into the next generation Xbox, expected to be announced at next year's E3.

Skype is working on powering real-time voice and video communications on the Xbox. Xbox is a fundamental lynchpin of Skype's living-room strategy, and we are focused on enabling amazing new in-game and in-console voice and video experiences for the next generation of Xbox. This is a crucial initiative for Xbox, and it is time-critical given the hardware lead times involved.

The Skype for Xbox Program Manager Lead will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Skype experience on Xbox, and will be directly accountable for its market performance. She or he will be responsible to see this new product from concept through launch, monitor its performance and recommend enhancements as necessary.

So, for now, this is all we know, and it will probably stay that way until this time next year. Microsoft is certainly ramping up for a major platform when the new hardware is announced. It is also nice to see that Microsoft will be integrating its other properties to continue their "Xbox is entertainment" initiative.

Verizon to Divest Spectrum in Cable Deal

posted Saturday May 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Verizon to Divest Spectrum in Cable Deal

Over the past few months, Verizon has made some deals with cable companies to enhance their reseller agreements and pick up some new spectrum. However, like the Alltel acquisition, Verizon will not be allowed to keep everything they own to make this happen.

Currently, Verizon is in talks with 36 different firms who are interested in purchasing some of their 700MHz spectrum, assuming their acquisition is approved. Currently, Verizon's LTE network is built in the 700MHz C spectrum, while A and B are what are up for sale, pending approval. They claim that the new spectrum is more compatible with their existing LTE network that some of what they already own.

Not everyone is happy about this deal. Hit the break to read what the Senate has to say about it.

Facebook's Next Acquisition - Opera Browser?

posted Saturday May 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook's Next Acquisition - Opera Browser?

It would appear that Facebook doesn't know when to stop. First they purchase Instagram, then they bought patents from Microsoft, then, of course, the disaster that was their IPO. With a pending lawsuit for misrepresenting growth rates and revenue, now would probably be the worst time to make a large purchase.

On the other hand, Facebook is seemingly run by a bunch of chimps, so logic doesn't factor into their decisions. Their current area of interest is in picking up a web browser. Considering the pending lawsuits include accusations about a rise in mobile browser and app-based users, neither of which Facebook is able to capitalize on, it does make some sense that they would be interested in teaming with or purchasing a browser company. Internet Explorer is out, for obvious reasons, and Chrome and Safari are both owned by companies they consider competition, so the only option left is Opera Software.

While Opera might not be a leader in the industry, or even a name more people know, it has markets in which it is strong.

DISH Network Sued Over New DVR

posted Saturday May 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

DISH Network Sued Over New DVR

Let's be honest with ourselves - no matter how cute or amusing they are, we all hate television commercials. They don't add value to the program, they are just in the way, right? There have been some creative ways to get around them. Many people use a DVR to record the program ahead of time and then skip trough the ads. The natural progression of any repetitive act is automation, and DISH network decided to drive the automation of removing commercials with their highly advertised Hopper DVRs.

While certainly a hit with consumers, this new DVR offering is not showing up as a positive for the networks. In fact, three of the major broadcast networks, Fox, CBS and NBCUniversal, have filed suit against DISH Network for this new product. As of right this moment, ABC Disney is the only broadcaster that has not filed suit, but based on Disney's litigious streak, my guess is it is only a matter of time.

While all of this is totally expected, DISH Network's reaction is not as much. Hit the break to find out what they have done in reaction.

Cisco's Cius not Meant for Large Screens

posted Saturday May 26, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Cisco's Cius not Meant for Large Screens

The tablet market is really starting to get unforgiving, and as the competition heats up, some of the big players are getting out. The most notable and quickest exit from the market, of course, was HP, when they canceled their much anticipated TouchPad weeks after its launch. While it was not a full departure from tablets, it was an end to a new market they purchased.

Another company that seemed to end up in the tablet market almost accidentally is Cisco. A little less than a year ago, Cisco launched the Cius line of tablets, a line of Android-powered, 7-inch devices designed for enterprise. While Cisco thought they had a fix to low sales in December with a larger version, but it seems they have changed their minds. It looks like decreasing, not increasing, sales will end the Cius tablet in the same museum as the Flip video.

Why has Cisco, the biggest name in networking, had trouble gaining traction in the most networkable device ever? Hit the break for some possibilities.

California Approves Legislation for Self-Driving Automated Vehicles, Florida Follows Suit

posted Friday May 25, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

California Approves Legislation for Self-Driving Automated Vehicles, Florida Follows Suit

Ever since seeing the GM En-V concept car at CES last year, we were wondering when we would finally see automated cars driving across the nation. We knew Google was testing out some of their own vehicles in Nevada and now we've learned the possibility of automated driving is going to happen sooner than we previously thought.

The crazy lovely state of California is known to do some strange, confusing and downright unconstitutional things, so this is pretty close to their wheelhouse. California has passed a bill that sets the guidelines and rules for automated vehicles that are driven and tested on the hill-laden roadways of the great state. Florida has also joined the ranks of states who want to see this technology developed even further.

The bill easily passed without hesitation and now heads to the California State Assembly. We have the details after the break.

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