The state of relevance of E3 has been in question for several years now. Their attempt at an "open-door" entrance policy failed and it seems that now they've abandoned it and have gone completely in the other direction with admittance as of late. Major developers and publishers have strayed from announcing market-changing products at the show, opting to announce them at conventions like GDC, Tokyo Game Show or even at their own, separate conferences. Now, aside from the Entertainment Software Association, the group in charge of putting on E3 every year, fighting illegal game distribution and maintaining their stance with Congress on the current game restriction laws that are in place, the actual gaming and entertainment expo doesn't seem to be as interesting to game studios and media outlets anymore.
The ESA seems to disagree.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.