(Less Than) A Month In The Life of Tech


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 (s AAPL) and Google (s GOOG) — 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 (s MSFT) 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 (s QCOM) 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 (s VZ), 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 (s AMZN), 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 (s 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.


Usman Gul

While its definitely not a highlight, I think you also missed the entertaining Quora-hype over at TechCrunch. Apparently TechCrunch has been hyping Quora, portraying it as the ‘next big thing’, while critics have recently pointed out that this is really not the case (given the tough challenges it currently faces).

I’m have no idea how interested you are, but I think the tech world deserves some Malik analysis of Quora (although everyone is sick of reading about Quora).

Welcome back!


Om, dont know why some of the campaigns on 4g vs 3g should be of importance for FCC. What end users should see is what is the bandwidth they get, what technology is used is immaterial from the end user’s pov. There are so many deceptions happen in the name of technology, I feel that this one is the smallest one. All they need to clamp on is if a carrier says they are the fastest and there is nothing to back it up in terms of numbers that is what they should go after.


Glad you are back and feeling mellow. Three weeks of relaxation is about all any thinking human being can stand. :)


Hey welcome back, hope everything is ok.
Now back to:
Is Google to fix their search problem. Is it just me or is there no definition of what web spam is. Nor Information …
In other words “Combined with our own scientific evaluations” they are always right and it’s us, since we have no clue what web spam is. Same goes for content farm content.

Om Malik

Thanks Ron. Everything is dandy. I am enjoying myself and feeling rested. Look forward to getting up to full steam next week.


“Facebook slowly but surely is leaving Google behind.”

This is a recurring theme I hear, but always without anything to back it up, kind of like Obama is a socialist dictator. Facebook allegedly has a similar number of users as Google, but about 5-6% of the revenue and none of the profit. In fact, Google’s profit (in $$, not %) has been increasing more than the revenues Facebook generates. I know, Facebook generates a lot of pageviews, especially with like buttons on almost every web page (or, at least on the pages of people who want everyone to like them), but those page views don’t seem to be attracting a lot of advertising revenue. What, people don’t want to advertise on pages with no relevance to anyone with discretionary income?

OK, I have been defending Google a lot against this massive Facebook PR campaign, but I am not employed by them and don’t own any of their stock. I guess all this AOL/MySpace-ian hype is just bugging me. But if I’m wrong, maybe somebody can show me where all that profit to justify a $50B+ valuation will come from.


I couldn’t agree more. This non stop hype around Facebook is nauseating. Kinda makes you question the motivation sometimes…

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