Posts tagged give
Dear Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata,
I write to you not as a know-it-all tech analysis pontificator or even a hardcore gamer. I’m just a guy who spent his childhood Saturday afternoons hunting for 8-bit Warp Whistles and Tanooki Suits in Super Mario Bros 3 for Nintendo. And I have a simple idea.
As you know, Nintendo hasn’t been doing so well lately. Your recently-revealed plans to bring smartphone-style apps to the Wii U represent a step in the right direction. If you want Nintendo to truly thrive in age of mobile computing, however, I’d suggest a willingness to go even further: bring Super Mario to my iPhone.
That is to say, Nintendo should let casual gamers like me have the option of downloading old NES and Super Nintendo games to our iOS and Android devices. Mario. Zelda. Kirby. Metroid. Charge us a few bucks for them. We’ll pay. And you’ll have our undivided attention on the devices to which we’re already glued. Those of us who are semi-serious enough to consider buying stand-alone gaming consoles would be even more likely to do so. Just delight us. You see, competition for our collective attention span has never been more fierce. Now’s your chance to grab a chunk of it.
The Wii Is 7, And Nintendo Is Struggling
One year ago, your company posted its first-ever operating loss, shedding $458 million due to lackluster hardware and game sales. Nintendo was fortunate enough to return to profitability this year, but sales of the new Wii U and 3DS consoles haven’t been nearly as high as anticipated.
It’s a sharp contrast from 2006 when the first Wii launched. Much to my delight, my brother gave me one for Christmas only after hunting one down for weeks by going from store to store. Demand was huge and business was booming, you’ll recall. These days, finding a Wii U is easy. The problem is that fewer of us want them.
Over time, sales of the original Wii naturally declined, as they will for the Wii U. Seemingly, the best conventional hope you have of driving those numbers north lies in slashing the price (which won’t help profits) and releasing must-have games for the console and hoping that they’re good — and well-publicized — enough to pique the interest of everyday consumers, whose attention is now firmly fixated elsewhere.
Shortly after the original Wii’s hugely successful launch, another sought-after piece of hardware was unveiled. When Steve Jobs first held up the iPhone on stage in 2007, it marked the beginning of a revolution in personal computing and a shift in how casual gamers discover and play video games. Many of the very same people enthralled by the mainstream appeal of the Wii were now unboxing iPhones and downloading Angry Birds. Apple has since sold more than 500 million iOS devices, a number that only continues to grow alongside similarly impressive figures from Android.
Bring Mario And Luigi Into The Smartphone Age
As the the mobile age has unfolded, Mario and Luigi have been nowhere to be found, remaining stubbornly locked up in your company’s proprietary hardware. Unless one jailbreaks the device and downloads an emulator, playing classic NES and Super Nintendo games on iOS is out the question. It’s unfortunate for consumers and it seems like a huge missed opportunity for Nintendo.
Since I bought my first iPhone in 2008, I’ve had this discussion with more people than I can count. If only you could buy the original Mario games, the Legend of Zelda and other NES classics on iOS, it would be so awesome. Yes, the other person and I always agree, we would pay for that. The more games, the more money we’d plunk down. It’s not just gamers and geeks, either. People who have absolutely no discernible interest in video games generally still harbor a nostalgic attachment to the side scrolling adventures they grew up playing.
Take Super Mario Brothers 3, which was released in the U.S. in 1990. Like most kids I knew at the time, I was positively addicted to that game. To this day, it remains the highest-grossing non-bundled video game in history. The only way to buy it now is by downloading it to the Wii or Wii U via Nintendo’s online marketplace. That’s great if you have a Wii, but not everyone is going to buy a gaming console, even one as mainstream-friendly as the Wii or Wii U.
Indeed, the original Wii has sold just shy of 100 million units since its launch. That’s less than one-fifth of the number of iOS devices in the world. Meanwhile, Android is on track to hit 1 billion activations later this year. That’s a lot of potential customers, and Nintendo is ignoring them.
Make It A Hardware Play
I know what you’re going to say, Mr. Iwata. We’re Nintendo. That’s just not how we do things. If people want to play our games, they have to use our hardware. End of story.
I’m not proposing that Nintendo abandon its gaming hardware business or even open up its new games to alternative platforms. But the mobile ecosystems of today are too massive to sanely ignore. A company like Nintendo could find a healthy new revenue stream by making already-popular titles available in these enormous marketplaces, where millions — and before long, billions — of potential customers are waiting.
Another obvious (and totally fair) objection is that these old school games aren’t made for touch screens. And it’s true. Playing Zelda on an iPhone could be a potentially annoying experience. Here’s where another opportunity exists for Nintendo: Design a sleek, fold-out smartphone case that doubles as a vintage NES gamepad that works with Nintendo-developed apps. For tablets, sell us something similar that fits the form factor and makes gameplay a pleasure. Make it an attachable accessory or a wireless Nintendo-branded controller. Either way, we’ll happily give you our money for it.
Rake In New Cash — Maybe Even Console Buyers
Will mobile games and smartphone-compatible hardware rake in as much as $300 consoles and $50 games? Probably not. But such a strategy could add a potentially healthy revenue stream that could help supplement what Nintendo brings in from its own hardware sales without cannibalizing them.
In fact, by tapping into these ecosystems and making a play for our attention spans, Nintendo could reel in new customers, giving them a taste for its characters and gameplay (or reigniting their love of the Mushroom Kingdom).
Such a move would represent a bold departure from Nintendo’s well-established strategy of tying games exclusively to its own hardware, but it only has to be as radical as Nintendo wants. Start with a few NES titles for iOS and if the results are strong, expand to other titles and platforms. If not, let these iOS games bring in a few extra bucks while you focus on recapturing the living room.
Bold, yes. But as plenty of other industries have learned, the proliferation of mobile devices has upended the way things used to be. Thriving sometimes requires rethinking old paradigms. Besides, if Super Mario Brothers 3 wouldn’t skyrocket to the top of the App Store charts over night, I’d be totally shocked.
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For the first time, Microsoft has released information on its level of cooperation with law enforcement requests for information about users of its online services. And, as the company oh-so-delicately puts it, “18% of law enforcement requests to Microsoft resulted in the disclosure of no customer data.”
Which, of course, means that Microsoft did hand out customer data 82% of the time. Feeling relieved yet?
According to information released by Microsoft today, the company received a total of 75,378 requests for information from law enforcement in 2012. 70,665 were for user accounts associated with services such as Hotmail, Outlook.com, SkyDrive and Xbox Live, with the remaining 4,713 requests about Skype user accounts.
Microsoft broke out the Skype data, it said, because Skype is a Luxembourg-based division and therefore subject to separate privacy laws in that nation and the European Union.
By The Numbers
Combined, the requests for information affected 137,424 accounts, most of it for information about an account holder’s name, email, gender, or address information. 137,424 revealed accounts sounds like a lot, but according to Microsoft that’s a mere fraction of the total accounts it manages.
“To give you a sense of proportion, we estimate that less than two one-hundredths of one percent (or 0.02 percent, to put it another way) were potentially affected by law enforcement requests,” wrote Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith.
In only 2.2% of the cases did Microsoft provide content data to law enforcement – and none of that was Skype content, since Microsoft does not archive Skype data. “Content data,” Microsoft explains, is “what our customers create, communicate and store” using Microsoft services – i.e., documents, photos and email.
On the other hand, Microsoft supplied “non-content data” in a full 80% of cases. Such data can include the email address, name, and IP address associated with a particular Microsoft account.
A vast majority of the 1,558 instances where Microsoft did supply user content happened in the United States, where Microsoft supplied content data 1,544 times in 2012. Brazil received data seven times, Ireland five times, and New Zealand and Canada each getting user data once.
You might expect that the U.S. would be the top requester of all the nations in Microsoft’s report for customer information, but in actuality, counting requests for account information and content, it was Turkey that took the top spot for most law enforcement requests complied with in 2012.
The top five nations that Microsoft complied with law enforcement requests were:
- Turkey (8,997)
- United States (8,740)
- France (7,377)
- Germany (7,088)
- United Kingdom (7,057)
Microsoft’s report also broke down when requests for data were rejected, either because there was no customer information to be found or the requests did not meet legal requirements.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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LeadingSEO.com Has Proven to Give the Best Results in High SEO Rankings
SBWire (press release)
The main goal is to have a high SEO rank so more and more people will learn more about the business. And this is one main goal of business owners, to have their own website ranked on top. LeadingSEO.com is capable of doing different tasks to improve …
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You may find the subject of this column a bit self-serving, since I am a conversion optimizer. Well, it is. But, I hope to provide some basic math that will support my claims. If you’re spending money on a pay-per-click campaign or spending someone else’s money on a pay-per-click campaign,…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Even as IT departments in enterprises work to keep up with the demands of cloud computing and bring your own device, Federal IT shops are struggling to meet these same demands – while laboring under sometimes Byzantine rules and regulations.
It’s a big problem: in 2012, the United States spent approximately $79.2 billion for government information technology services.
And Federal IT programs impact all of us, with systems like my SocialSecurity accounts, which has personally given me trouble when trying to create an account. I suspect others have many examples of government systems that do not work when we need them.
Still, with all this at stake, the government spends an unbelievable amount of money to contractors who sometimes deliver software many IT professionals would have hard time accepting.
Vivek Kundra, a former Federal CIO, speaking at Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit, summed up the problem well last summer.
“My first day at work I was told there were $27 billion in projects years behind schedule and we were hundreds of millions of dollars over budget,” Kundra told his audience.
The problems of IT at the Federal level are compounded by budgetary restrictions that are daunting at best. For instance, most business CIOs would be surprised to learn, there is only one Federal department-level CIO, the Veterans Administration CIO who actually has budgetary authority.
It’s Not All Bad
Some things have gotten better. It has been years since I heard of a government site requiring Internet Explorer. That’s significant because getting a government website fixed is not an easy task; just getting the initial meetings started often took a couple of months.
Internet Explorer’s former lock on web sites highlights what still may be the biggest challenge for government technology: the decades-long dominance of Microsoft.
When I picked up the remnants of Apple’s Federal team in 1995, one of the first things I had to deal with was the planned elimination of Macintoshes in favor of Windows 95 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Fortunately for Apple (and NASA), pressure from NASA Macintosh users and the efforts of our team working with the government resulted in a 1996 Office of the Inspector General report condemning the decision to eliminate Macs for the space agency.
But Microsoft and Windows still had a strong hold – eight years later I got an invitation to visit the Johnson Space Center with one of our Apple account executives, who was still trying to revive Mac sales there.
Federal computing, I have learned, is not easy to change or even examine. Transparency is a myth.
There are a few technologies with the potential to change the federal IT market.
- Cloud Computing. Federal agencies are currently operating under a mandate to create a “Cloud First” policy.
- Virtualization. Here the Federal government appears to be running behind commercial enterprises.
- Open Source Software. There have been a few Federal open source successes, most notably the VistA project within the Veterans’ Administration and the White House using Linux and Apache to run its Web site.
- “BYOD” or bring your own device. There is already a Bring Your Own Device policy page. iPads and tablets can play a big role but also create a huge security challenge. The USDA has a very successful iPad implementation that seems to have managed security issues.
These are four key technologies that could give government IT managers room to innovate and expand their services.
Heading For The Future
The recent announcement of a $617M joint enterprise licensing agreement between Microsoft and the Department of Defense gives the strong impression that not much has changed. Will the agreement offer real flexibility that will change the complaint that are Federal users are over a Microsoft barrel when it comes time to renew licensing? Time will tell.
One operating system vendor owning my desktop makes me uncomfortable. So how could one company’s hold on the United States government’s desktops possibly be a good thing?
It’s not just the desktop. Server architecture, email services and directory services have all been tied together in one neat bundle by Microsoft. And once you subscribe to that bundle, it is hard to get free.
Despite the media hype, I find little evidence that the government has embraced Linux servers as enthusiastically as the world in general. While the White House Web site is running on Linux servers and the Navy has subs using Linux servers for sonar, those are pretty minor in the big picture.
A few Federal agencies are moving to a Gmail-based email architecture, which is a sign of cracks in Microsoft’s monopoly. GSA’s mail architecture is a notable win for Google, for instance.
The fact is, the world of Federal computing is different than the world of commercial computing, where the Microsoft monopoly is gone. Government technology has been derisively called trailing edge in recent years, and this is one of the reasons why.
Yet the government has a history of being a force that moves information technology forward. Though some would have us believe differently, the United States government did have a big role in developing the Internet.
I personally witnessed the government’s role in developing HDTV. On calls to the Naval Research Lab, I got to see some of the first HDTV broadcasts long before the technology was commercially available.
We must be aware of our government’s use of technology and be prepared to work with administrators and legislators to get Federal IT moving in the right direction again. Not just for their sake, but for all our sakes.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt suggests in his upcoming book that search engines will give priority and higher rank to content created by those with verified accounts. “The true cost of remaining anonymous,” he writes, “might be irrelevance.”
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest
MIT Technology Review spots a wild story on Genome Web about George Church, a molecular geneticist at Harvard, who is developing technology that can create Neandertal cells. Once he gets the cells, Church hopes to find an “adventurous female human” who will volunteer to be a surrogate mom for the first new Neandertal baby. Church says this could bring about “kind of Neandertal culture” that could even achieve “political significance.”
The original (paywalled) article ran in Der Spiegel. Apparently the Germans are appalled by Church’s nonchalance about doing things like mixing DNA from different species. Somewhere, eccentric futurist Ray Kurzweil is freaking out as he realizes that even if he becomes a cyborg, he’ll have to share the planet with cavemen. This is not the future that Kurzweil and his fellow Singularitarians have been hoping for. Not at all! Somewhere in Hollywood someone is already writing the screenplay: Cyborgs Versus Cavemen: The Battle for Planet Earth.
God I love science.
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A year after Hewlett-Packard’s head-scratching acquisition of semantic-search company Autonomy for $10.3 billion, the move seems to have blown up in HP’s face. HP is admitting today “serious accounting improprieties” by Autonomy.
Serious indeed. HP’s fourth-quarter earnings will reflect an $8.8 billion write-down related to the improprieties. Overall, HP is reporting a 4Q loss of $6.9 billion, a bad skid for a company that seems more out of control every day.
When the deal was initially brokered by HP’s then-CEO Léo Apotheker in August 2011, there were a lot of “what the hell?” comments flying around. HP had just bought a UK business that did not seem to fit HP’s business model.
Recall the context of the announcement, too: HP had just shut down TouchPad and webOS development and its printer supply chain was reeling from the Japan tsunami. Having put so much effort into webOS and then dumping it when it failed to rocket out of the gate, HP seemed to be throwing away its mobile strategy only to buy a data company, for an amount equivalent to 11 times Autonomy’s revenue levels (which, if HP’s accusations are true, were greatly overestimated).
Bluefin Solutions Ltd.’s head of Business Analytics & Technology John Appleby called the decision “bizarre” at the time. ”It’s a stand-alone software company that does niche database-search products and sells to some big customers. Great, it will diversify HP’s software business, but I don’t see the attraction of such a niche,” Appleby wrote.
Our own Scott Fulton was a bit more sanguine about the acquisition.
“This is what Hewlett-Packard announced yesterday that it intends to do: acquire a software firm whose core product aims to supplant everything we know about databases, both the SQL kind and the Google kind. In its place would come a clustered approach whose goal is no less than to be the central repository for meaning in the world,” Fulton penned.
What Fulton, and several other analysts came around to, was the position that HP’s acquisition was a shift to get into search and possibly content management, trying to capture a piece of the already-exploding data marketplace. Apotheker and later CEO Meg Whitman were trying to dive in outcompete SAP and Radian6, among others.
To be fair, no one then suspected the company might have cooked its books.
Now we may never know what will come from HP’s Autonomy gamble, because HP is now leveling charges that the dice were rigged to lose the whole time.
“HP is extremely disappointed to find that some former members of Autonomy’s management team used accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company, prior to Autonomy’s acquisition by HP,” the company said in a statement. HP execs say the firm is consulting with U.S. and U.K. government officials and plans civil actions as well.
At deadline, HP shares were down 11.8% to $11.73. HP’s opening price on the New York Stock Exchange was 12.5% lower than its Monday closing price.
The ramifications will go beyond HP share prices. Since the tenure of Apotheker, the company’s direction and mission seems clouded in a haze of missteps and false starts. There’s only so far that a legacy will get you, and HP seems to have overspent its venerable status.
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Why free content can give you excellent SEO but poor subscriber growth
Practical Ecommerce (blog)
And with the customer expectation and SEO reward of (constant) free content, I launched (on a separate WordPress website in March 2009), my daily gift news blog. My online retail niche is within the gift market, I love selecting gifts for others and …
View full post on SEO – Google News
According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal today and a parallel Bloomberg report Google faces an increasingly likely antitrust complaint unless the company steps up and offers some concessions (or additional concessions) in settlement discussions with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)….
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.