(Less Than) A Month In The Life of Tech

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So by now you know, I was off for a few weeks, getting some much needed R&R in addition to try to get my health back into shape. I got back last night from my stay in Miami … and well, let’s just say the jet lag wasn’t kind to my sleep pattern. I ended up reading up on what I had missed in the last three weeks.

Sure there were individual stories I saw featured on CNN – Steve Jobs taking medical leave and Facebook’s Goldman Sachs bounty (and fiasco), but apart from those very mainstream headlines, I stayed away from the techland.

No CES for me, so to speak. Anyway, the time off gave me an excellent opportunity to take a step back and take a look at the technology industry with a longer perspective – one removed from the day-to-day blog posts and tweets.

So while I was away, this happened:

  1. Steve Jobs is on medical hiatus and Eric Schmidt decided to pull a Andy Pettite. Damn! Those two companies – Apple and Google — sure are competitive. Two of the best performing companies are making management changes at the very top.
  2. The WinTel hegemony finally breathed its last gasp. Microsoft will develop Windows for ARM. CES was all about tablets and not PCs or netbooks. AndAndroid “Honeycomb” won the CES hype award, a marked shift from previous years when Microsoft almost always won the FUD-derby.
  3. Facebook slowly but surely is leaving Google behind. It raised an ungodly amount of money at what now seems reasonable $50 billion valuation. This news had my non-techie, old school, brick-and-mortar oriented co-vacationers gasping! MySpace continued its march to NoSpace, and cut half of its staff. The Social Network won major kudos at Golden Globes Awards, even though I think the film is marginal at best and Hollywood hyperbole at its worst. Also, Facebook was the top search term in 2010 in the U.S. It is also the most visited website in the U.S. according to Experian Hitwise, though Google’s collective properties make it bigger. Not for long, it seems!
  4. Qualcomm is the new Intel. The San Diego chipmaker snapped up Atheros, which makes Wi-Fi chips for everything from mobiles to personal computers. Qualcomm’s chips, are apparently finding their way into iPhones. It pretty much already owns the Android-focused mobile chip business.
  5. Google went ahead and broke the browser (or so some say.) Actually it is more like the video web is becoming a battleground for corporate egos and that is getting confusing. Me, I am just happy to have Hulu Plus and Netflix.
  6. Apple had a monster year and a ginormous holiday quarter; in the process selling millions of iPads and iPhones. Oh, by the way it launched the CDMA iPhone. Sure it is a big deal for Verizon, but it is a bigger deal for CDMA carriers in South Korea, China and India – which are much larger markets.
  7. Social Commerce is The New Black. Groupon rejected Google’s offer to buy them and instead went ahead and raised almost a billion dollars and are getting ready to go public. Google launched Google Offers. And Amazon, the stalwart of e-commerce used LivingSocial to hawk a lot of Amazon gift cards. Now tell me that is not a sign that e-commerce (and direct response advertising) are changing.
  8. One thing, which didn’t change – the phone companies, especially the mobile carriers continue to lie. Their blatant white lies – especially around the 4G are just getting bolder and bolder. Shame on FCC and FTC for not doing anything about the confusion being spread by T-Mobile USA and according to Consumer Reports, the worst 3G mobile carrier in the US, AT&T.

When you take all these bits and string them together (okay, let’s leave out No. 8), you can picture a month where technology went through a gear change. Much like me. I am back and will be at full steam next week.

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